Showing posts with label Lost Lantern. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Lost Lantern. Show all posts

Monday, December 13, 2021

Lost Lantern Fall 2021 Single Cask #4 (Spirit Works Distillery) Rye Review & Tasting Notes

 


Spirit Works Distillery of Sonoma County, California, is a grain-to-glass operation founded in 2012 by the husband-and-wife team of Timo and Ashby Marshall. Ashby is the original Head Distiller, and Krystal Goulart, who trained under Ashby, is also a distiller. Interestingly, Spirit Works earned the 2020 ADI Distiller of the Year award. All of the grain they work with is organic.

 

I’ve reviewed Spirit Works before, and to be completely blunt, I was not pleased. However, one of the fun things about a #DrinkCurious lifestyle is you get to revisit distilleries that missed the mark.

 

It certainly helps that Lost Lantern, an independent bottler that has impressed me with its ability to pick impressive barrels, chose a Rye from Spirit Works. This one is called Fall 2021 Single Cask #4. It starts with a mash of 70% organic rye, 10% malted rye, and 20% malted barley. Once distilled, it rested five years in 53-gallon new American oak barrels from Independent Stave Company. Fall 2021 Release 3 is non-chill filtered, naturally colored, and weighs in at a hefty 122°. A 750ml bottle sells for $80.00, and there are 195 available for purchase.

 

I want to thank Lost Lantern for setting up this second-chance opportunity for Spirit Works in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review. Let’s get to it!

 

Appearance:  Served neat in my Glencairn glass, this whiskey was the color of burnt umber. For only five years old, that was nice to see. The rim was almost invisible, and thick, fast tears returned to the pool.

 

Nose:  Oak was the first thing my nose picked out. Plum, floral rye, brown sugar, and a whiff of cinnamon followed. As I drew the vapor into my open mouth, clove woke my palate.

 

Palate:  An oily texture greeted my tongue. Dark chocolate was the only note on the front. Nutmeg and rye bread were next, with spiced oak, cinnamon, clove, and oak on the back.

 

Finish:  The cinnamon note kept building into Red Hots. The oak became dry, and dark chocolate outlasted everything. Overall, it was a long finish that seemed well-balanced.

 

Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  I found the nose enticing, especially with the clove. The palate was deep and spicy. The finish would satisfy anyone looking for something warm. Is Fall 2021 Single Cask #4 a bad pour? Not at all. Is it an $80.00 pour? I’m not convinced. I would say, however, that I’m interested in trying more things from Spirit Works, as this was much better than what I tasted earlier this year. This Rye takes a Bar 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 do so responsibly.

 


Friday, December 3, 2021

Lost Lantern Fall 2021 Single Cask #2 (Watershed Distillery) Review & Tasting Notes


 

In Columbus, Ohio, there exists a micro-distillery called Watershed Distillery. Initially thought up by partners Greg Lehman and Dave Rigo, they translated that plan into a working distillery in 2015. They started with a small still, then joined by a larger one from Headframe Spirits in Montana.

 

Watershed was the second post-Prohibition legal distillery in the state, and it maintains a restaurant on-premises. The distillery utilizes locally-grown ingredients, and some are unusual.

 

“We founded Watershed Distillery on the principles of community in 2010. We wanted to live in, work in and contribute to the community in which we grew up. We aimed to create spirits that stood apart in quality and character. Along the way, we set out to form a community of our own. One that could gather together to savor, celebrate and enjoy good spirits and company.” – Watershed Distillery 

 

That brings us to Lost Lantern, an independent bottler of American whiskeys. I’ve reviewed a handful of its releases, most of which earned Bottle ratings. Lost Lantern just released its Fall 2021 Cask program, and one of those casks is from Watershed.

 

Named Fall 2001: Single Cask #2, it is a five-grain Bourbon distilled from a mash of corn, rye, spelt, malted barley, and wheat. I’ve had whiskeys made from unusual grains, but I can say with confidence spelt isn’t one of them. Spelt is an ancient grain related to wheat, rye, and barley. The newmake aged five years in 53-gallon new, charred oak barrels coopered at Independent Stave Company. Non-chill filtered and naturally colored, Lost Lantern packaged it at barrel proof of 118.8°.  Only 160 bottles exist, and a 750ml will set you back $100.00.

 

Before I #DrinkCurious, I’d like to take a moment and thank Lost Lantern for providing a sample on Single Cask #2 in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review.

 

Appearance:  Served neat in my Glencairn glass, this cask strength Bourbon appeared as the color of dark chestnut. It formed a thinner rim that created thick, slow legs that fell back to the pool.

 

Nose:  Aromas of corn, nutmeg, caramel, toasted oak, and leather filled the air. As I drew that into my mouth, menthol caressed my tongue.

 

Palate:  I discovered an oily mouthfeel with a medium body. The front of my palate found caramel, corn, and candied orange slices. The middle featured vanilla, baked apple, walnut, and leather. Then, on the back, I tasted tobacco leaf, black pepper, and toasted oak.

 

Finish:  Medium to long in duration, caramel, candied orange slices, old leather, walnut, oak, and black pepper held out for a sweet and spicy finish.

 

Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  Watershed Distillery’s Bourbon drank far beneath its stated proof. There is no way in the world you would convince me it was 118.8°, as it was such an easy sipper! While I wasn’t a fan of the menthol note from the nosing, that’s such a small part of the experience it is easily dismissed. Everything meshed as you’d want, and I’m not sure if that’s due to the unusual ingredient of spelt. Whatever it is, it works, and I’m happy to convey my Bottle rating for it. 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 do so responsibly.

 

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Lost Lantern 2001 Fall Release #1 (Cedar Ridge) American Single Malt Review & Tasting Notes


Back in June, I had an opportunity to try The QuintEssential American Single Malt from Cedar Ridge Winery & Distillery in Swisher, Iowa. It is one of my favorite things I’ve tasted in 2021. When Lost Lantern announced its Fall 2021 Single Cask collection and I found out Cedar Ridge’s American Single Malt was one of the whiskeys, I wanted one – badly.  

 

"The best whiskey reflects its origins, its craftsmanship, its ingredients, and its distillers. Inspired by the long tradition of independent bottlers in Scotland, Lost Lantern is a new, independent bottler of American whiskey. The company seeks out the most unique and exciting whiskeys being made all across the country and releases them as single casks and blends, always with a deep commitment to transparency." - Lost Lantern

 

Founded in 2018 by Nora Ganley-Roper of Astor Wine & Spirits and Adam Polonski of Whisky Advocate, the duo is committed to releasing whiskeys from distilleries they've personally visited. Nora handles production and operations, and Adam takes care of marketing, sales, and sourcing. Currently, Lost Lantern's whiskeys can be purchased from LostLanternWhiskey.com or Seelbachs.com

 

Cask 1 is the Cedar Ridge American Single Malt aged two years in 53-gallon, new, American oak coopered at Independent Stave Company, and then finished another two years in 500-liter Jerez Sherry casks. The total yield was 555 bottles and packaged at 115.3°. Retail is approximately $110.00.

 

How does the sherry cask finish affect the standard single malt?  The only way to find out is to #DrinkCurious. But, before I do, I’d like to thank Lost Lantern for providing me a sample in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review.

 

Appearance: Poured neat in my Glencairn glass, this American Single Malt presented as the color of caramel. It formed a thin rim that yielded husky, lightning-fast legs that crashed back to the pool of liquid sunshine.

 

Nose: The bouquet from the glass was sweet and overflowing with caramel, raisin, apricot, pear, and chocolate. When I drew the air into my mouth, it was as if I took a bite from a prune.

 

Palate:  The mouthfeel was thin, slick, and oily, and led to my front palate picking out raisin, fig, apricot, and honey. It moved to the middle as prune and cocoa. The back became warm and spicy with black pepper, oak, chocolate, and the slightest appearance of date.

 

Finish:  The finish was long-lasting and made it abundantly clear it was a high-proof whiskey. My palate, which is used to things with a much higher ABV content, numbed quickly. Black pepper, raisin, fig, dark chocolate, and bone-dry oak rounded it out.

 

Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  Cedar Ridge makes an incredibly delicious American Single Malt. When you add a sherry cask finish to the mix, well, that just opened up a whole new dimension. Yes, it was a bit hot, but that didn’t take away from the experience. Is it worth $110.00 for a 750ml bottle? I’m not completely convinced. It blurs somewhere between a Bottle and Bar, and when that happens, I always opt for some wiggle room. Bar it is. 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 do so responsibly.

 


 

Friday, October 29, 2021

Lost Lantern 2021 Fall Release #3 (Boulder Spirits) Bourbon Review & Tasting Notes

 


One of the more interesting US-based independent bottlers is Lost Lantern. It finds unique barrels, bottles them at cask strength, and when what is packaged is gone, it is gone forever.

 

One of the more interesting American distilleries is Boulder Spirits out of Boulder, Colorado. I’ve reviewed several of its whiskeys before. They’re made in a Scottish tradition with their American Single Malts and what isn’t ASM still relies heavily on Scottish malt in the mash.

 

Lost Lantern just released its Fall Single Casks, and one of those is Single Cask #3, which comes from (you guessed it) Boulder Spirits. In this case, it is a Bourbon. It starts with a mash of 51% corn, 44% Scottish malted barley, and 5% rye. It aged five years in 53-gallon new, charred oak barrels from Kelvin Cooperage. It is non-chill filtered and came out of the barrel at a whopping 138.1°. The yield was only 181 750ml bottles, which Lost Lantern priced at $100.00 each.

 

“We are proud to have this unique straight Bourbon whiskey as our first selection from Colorado, one of the hotbeds of the whiskey renaissance taking shape all over the country. And this whiskey captures just why we’re so excited about Boulder Spirits, and about Colorado whiskey in general:  it does something new.” – Lost Lantern

 

Before I #DrinkCurious, I’d like to thank Lost Lantern for providing me a sample of Single Cask #3 in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review. Let’s get to it, shall we?

 

Appearance:  Poured neat in my Glencairn glass, this Bourbon presented as the color of mahogany. It formed a very thin rim that made fat, slow, sticky legs.

 

Nose:  Single Cask #3 had a bouquet that wouldn’t quit. I expected and prepared myself for the big ethanol blast. Instead, it started with plum, then chocolate-covered cherry, light oak, and orange peel. When I drew the air in my mouth, the cherry became more pronounced.

 

Palate:  An almost weightless mouthfeel became oily as it traveled down my throat. The front of the palate featured deep, dark chocolate, almond, and maple syrup. Cherry, nutmeg, and English toffee took over the middle. The back offered flavors of coconut macaroon, oak, and dry leather.

 

Finish:  The tastes of nutmeg, dry leather, oak, cherry, coconut macaroon all morphed into dark chocolate and maple syrup in a medium-long finish.

 

Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  This was a very interesting pour. As close as it is to Haz-Mat, it was shockingly easy to drink after getting past the first sip. It needs no water added. Single Cask #3 was just lovely from the nosing to the finish. The lack of the ethanol punch on either the nose or mouth was surprising. I’ve had many expressions from Boulder Spirits and this is up near the top. Would I spend $100.00 on it? Without a second thought! This is a Bottle rating that you won’t regret. 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 do so responsibly.

 

Friday, June 11, 2021

Lost Lantern American Vatted Malt, Cedar Ridge Bourbon, and Balcones Bourbon Reviews & Tasting Notes

 


Independent bottling is not something overly common with American whiskey. Oh, it is obtusely, but you don't really hear about it in the same terms as you do with, say, Scotch. In theory, folks who source whiskey from others and put their own label on it might be considered independent bottlers. But, few actually try to claim their niche as an independent bottler.


Then, there's Lost Lantern. You've never heard of them? Well, until very recently, neither had I. In its own words:


"The best whiskey reflects its origins, its craftsmanship, its ingredients, and its distillers. Inspired by the long tradition of independent bottlers in Scotland, Lost Lantern is a new, independent bottler of American whiskey. The company seeks out the most unique and exciting whiskeys being made all across the country and releases them as single casks and blends, always with a deep commitment to transparency." - Lost Lantern


Founded in 2018 by Nora Ganley-Roper of Astor Wine & Spirits and Adam Polonski of Whisky Advocate, the duo is committed to releasing whiskeys from distilleries they've personally visited. Nora handles production and operations, and Adam takes care of marketing, sales, and sourcing. Currently, Lost Lantern's whiskeys can be purchased from LostLanternWhiskey.com or Seelbachs.com


One thing that I'm passionate about is transparency. I respect that some things have to be held close to the vest. However, when distilleries lay most or all of their cards on the table, that gets exciting. The fact that Lost Lantern is also big on transparency is much appreciated.


Today I have an opportunity to explore three of Lost Lantern's whiskeys:  American Vatted Malt Edition No. 1, Single Cask #2 Cedar Ridge Iowa Straight Bourbon, and Single Cask #8 Balcones Straight Bourbon. This opportunity is due to Lost Lantern's kindness in providing me samples of each in exchange for no-strings-attached, honest reviews. 


This will be a three-part review process. Up first is the American Vatted Malt.


Lost Lantern American Vatted Malt Edition No. 1




I've come to appreciate the American Single Malt category. Back in its infancy, I can say I was pretty pessimistic about its future. They seemed hard, rough, and lacking as compared to single malts from around the world. However, the category has matured, and distillers have figured out the magic behind distilling malted barley.


"[It] is one of the first blends of single malts ever made in the United States ... We brought together the founders and distillers behind some of the country's most distinctive single malts, all of whom hand-selected the barrels for this unique blend. Over the course of a single marathon day, we worked, tasted, and blended together. The result was this unique and special blend." - Lost Lantern


In the end, Lost Lantern wound up blending twelve barrels from Balcones (Texas), Copperworks (Washington), Santa Fe Spirits (New Mexico), Triple Eight (Massachusetts), Westward (Oregon), and Virginia Distillery Co. (Virginia).  When I saw the list of participants, my curiosity was piqued. I've tried whiskeys from several of those distilleries, they're unique in their own rights, and couldn't imagine what I was about to try. 


Aged for two years and packaged at 105°, naturally colored, and non-chill-filtered, American Vatted Malt Edition No. 1 has a suggested retail price of $120.00.  There were 3000 bottles produced. 


Appearance: Poured neat in my Glencairn glass, this malt presented as the color of a deep copper. It produced a thick rim with heavy, fat legs that fell back into the pool of liquid sunshine.


Nose:  Fruity aromas of plum, raisin and orange peel married caramel. I could imagine sherry casks being used. When I took the vapor into my mouth, I picked out citrus and milk chocolate.


Palate:  A medium-bodied, quite oily mouthfeel greeted the tasting experience. On the front, I found milk chocolate, malt, and brown sugar. The middle consisted of salted caramel and apple pie filling. Orange, charred oak, molasses, and nutmeg created the back.


Finish:  Long-lasting and continually building, flavors of barbeque smoke and barrel char yielded to nutmeg and salted caramel. Black pepper refused to give up for several minutes.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  This is one unique whiskey and also a bit of a curiosity. At one end, there is a two-year age statement, and at the other, the $120 price. This isn't unheard of: one of the more famous brands, Compass Box, works this formula of young blends with impressive price tags regularly and has been successful. I found American Vatted Malt Edition No. 1 flavorful, drinks way under its stated proof, unusual in a good way, and while I still think this is pricy, I believe this one is worth picking up and crown it with my Bottle rating. 


Single Cask 2:  Cedar Ridge Iowa Straight Bourbon




Next up is Single Cask #2: Cedar Ridge Iowa Straight Bourbon. This is the first Bourbon cask for Lost Lantern. I've reviewed the 86° standard release and found it enjoyable. This one is different - it is a single barrel Bourbon and bottled at its cask strength of 120.5°. Similar to the standard version, it started with a mash of 74% corn, 14% malted rye, and 12% two-row malted barley, then rested three years through the harsh summers and winters of Iowa, where it experienced, on average, 18% angel's share loss. Lost Lantern's release produced 213 bottles and carries an $87.00 price. It is non-chill-filtered and naturally colored.


Appearance:  Tasted neat in my Glencairn glass, this Cedar Ridge cask was the color of dark amber. A thin rim gave way to slow, husky legs that fell back to the pool. 


Nose:  Corn-forward, it was joined by candy corn, toasted oak, and cinnamon. When I breathed in through my mouth, bubble gum shot across my tongue.


Palate:  I found the mouthfeel to be thin and oily, and the front was strictly corn. That bubble gum quality showed up at mid-palate and was joined by caramel for a very different affair. The back quickly warmed with toasted oak, rye spice, and black pepper.


Finish:  The Cedar Ridge cask had a freight-train finish, meaning it just wouldn't quit. It rode on (again) bubble gum and black pepper, and introduced cinnamon Red Hots. I'd estimate I got almost ten minutes out of the finish before either it fell off or my palate just said, "I give up."


Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  This one drank at least at its stated proof, it not hotter. Bubble gum is not something I come across regularly, so when I do, it is an attention-getter. When caramel was tossed into the equation, it strangely made sense, although I'd never think of mixing the two. I've seen other Cedar Ridge single barrels run at about $60.00 or so, and the Cedar Ridge Single Barrel  Collection cask-strength bottles retail at $69.00. This is where my hang-up happens because while this was definitely worth drinking, I don't see an additional $20.00 in value, and as such earns a Bar rating. 



Single Cask 8:  Balcones Straight Bourbon




Finally, I'm sampling Single Cask #8: Balcones Straight Bourbon.  Texas whiskey can be polarizing. There are folks who love and swear by it, and there are others who won't take a second sip of anything out of The Lone Star State. I can count on one hand and have fingers left over for Texas whiskeys I'd recommend. But that #DrinkCurious lifestyle encourages me to try them all, just like anything else.


Founded in 2009, Balcones Distilling hails from Waco. It is a grain-to-glass distillery that creates atypical whiskeys. In this case, the Bourbon comes from a mash of 100% Texas-grown roasted blue corn, then aged in 60-gallon new American oak barrels for two years in the formidable Texas heat. Non-chill-filtered and naturally colored, it was bottled at 126.8° with a suggested retail price of $90.00. Only 199 bottles came from the barrel. 


Appearance:  Experienced neat in my Glencairn glass, this Balcones cask was the color of dark caramel. A medium ring led to big, heavy legs that crawled back to the pool.


Nose:  I could smell this whiskey from across the room. It wasn't bad, rather, it was luxurious. Thick, rich caramel made me smile. That was joined by plum. It delivered a Wow! factor that you don't come across too often in whiskeys. As I drew the aroma into my mouth, it was like biting into a Heath bar. 


Palate:  The mouthfeel was Texas sweet crude. It may be the oiliest feel I've experienced. There was also something meaty about the palate. The front featured cumin, brown sugar, and liquid smoke. Coffee and dark cacao were on the middle, while the back consisted of paprika, oak, and tobacco leaf. 


Finish: A medium finish offered coffee, cinnamon, barrel char, and black pepper. It grew spicier and smokier as I waited and then it just vanished. 


Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  The Balcones single barrel was unusual. It started off drinking under its stated proof. But, as the finish came along, that turned around and I had no doubt it was at least 126°. The latter is what I usually experience with Texas whiskey. The nose, despite the few notes, was stupendous. The palate was warming and a good blend of sweet and spicy notes. The liquid smoke threw me for a bit of a loop. The finish was hot but not overwhelming. Lost Lantern's selection was a good one, and I'm giving this Texas whiskey 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 that you do so responsibly.