Lodestar American Whiskey Review & Tasting Notes


Not too long ago, whiskey was almost exclusively a male-oriented product. There’s been a big push, and women have made tremendous inroads as customers and distillers.


In the last two years, Diageo has been influential in fostering change. It created the Distill Ventures program to help provide capital investment dollars to underrepresented communities, including women, LGBTQ+, blacks, Asians, and others in the adult beverage industries. It offers up to $500,000 and between 9 and 12 months of mentorship to successful applicants.


Why is this important? Aside from the obvious, it was critical in today’s whiskey review of Lodestar American Whiskey. You see, Lodestar Spirits, Inc. is the first whiskey to be backed by Diageo’s program.


Lodestar was founded in California by cousins Anna Axster and Wendelin von Schroder. Both were entertainment industry professionals who were significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. One of their dreams was to create an “inclusive and approachable” whiskey.  


“Our expertise is in knowing what tastes good. We follow the flavor, not the rules. This led us to doing something unusual for the field but totally sensible to us – blending Straight High Rye Bourbon and American Single Malt Whiskey to create a deliciously smooth spirit that can satisfy the palates of many.” – Lodestar Spirits, Inc.


Lodestar is so brand new that it was only bottled in the middle of January! Although it is sourced from Ross & Squibb (MGP), it is also not your typical “me-too” sourced whiskey. Instead, they blended a four-year, high-rye Bourbon and a three-year, unpeated American Single Malt Whiskey. The Bourbon comes from MGPs 60% corn/36% rye/4% malted barley mashbill. The American Single Malt is naturally 100% malted barley. It is packaged at 45% ABV (90°) and has a suggested price of $45.00.


As someone on an American Single Malt Whiskey kick lately, I’m excited to #DrinkCurious and discover what it is all about. But first, I must thank Lodestar Spirits for providing me with a sample of its whiskey in exchange for my no-strings-attached, honest review.


Appearance: I poured this whiskey into my Glencairn glass to sip neat. The liquid presented as a golden amber with a bold rim and a wavy curtain of tears.


Nose: I smelled orange peel, coffee, cocoa, and a slight rye spice. I found a blend of vanilla and barley when I pulled the air through my lips.


Palate: The mouthfeel was incredibly thin, oily, and slightly warming. I encountered cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove on the front of my palate. As the whiskey moved to the middle, it changed to vanilla, lemon curd, and orange zest. The back offered lightly charred oak, freshly shredded tobacco leaf, and chocolate.


Finish: Chocolate and tobacco leaf were the dominating flavors, yet the barrel char, clove, and cinnamon were unwilling to simply walk away. Citrus notes barely held their own. The finish was long and sucked any moisture from the inside of my mouth.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust: I was taken aback slightly by how warm this whiskey was at its first and second sips. A double-palate shock is unusual; flavor notes were easily identified once I got beyond it. At 90°, Lodestar will hold its own in most whiskey-centric cocktails and not get lost. When sipped neat, this blend was fascinatingly unusual; it beckoned me for another sip and a second pour. I found Lodestar to be correctly proofed. Three years for an American Single Malt is beyond the average; a four-year Bourbon is pretty standard nowadays.


I’m curious as hell what Anna and Wendelin have up their sleeves. Will Lodestar be a one-trick pony or diversify into other blends (or straight whiskeys)? Time will tell. Meanwhile, its inaugural whiskey is tasty and affordable, and it hits the right buttons to score my Bottle rating. Cheers!


My Simple, Easy-to-Understand Rating System

  • Bottle = Buy It
  • Bar = Try It
  • Bust = Leave It


Whiskeyfellow encourages you to enjoy your whiskey as you see fit but begs you to do so responsibly.