Well folks, it’s that time of year once again! The time when you start to worry about what you should be getting for everyone on your lengthy list. Good news! We’re here to help you find the perfect whiskey gift for your favorite whiskey-loving person (or for yourself!). For our 2022 whiskey gift guide, we’ve put together a fun decision tree that will help you discover the perfect Lost Lantern release for that whiskey-loving friend (or whiskey-loving self) in your life.
Even beyond that, we also think this decision-tree holiday whiskey gift guide is a great way to wrap your head around all the whiskies we currently have available. After all, there are a lot of them, and they come from all over the United States. Even within the same type of whiskey—rye, for instance—our releases have many different flavor profiles and unique characteristics. So we hope this flowchart will make it a little easier to get a sense of everything!
Traditional Whiskey: New Twists on Familiar Flavors
It took a while, even for us, to decide the best way to begin categorizing Lost Lantern’s recent releases for our holiday whiskey gift guide. Ultimately, we settled on a top-level divide between what we think of as “traditional whiskies” and “innovative whiskies.” There’s a little bit of overlap between these categories, but we think it’s the best way to determine what kind of whiskey lover would like which kind of whiskey.
The whiskies on the traditional side of the whiskey gift guide all offer flavors that will be familiar in some way to people who already know their whiskey. The single malts share major touchpoints in flavor with Scotch whiskey; the bourbons and ryes have a lot of flavors in common with traditional Kentucky bourbon and rye. They all have their own unique twists and attributes, but they are at least in the same wheelhouse.
To put it more simply: if you or a friend loves Scotch, Kentucky bourbon, and Kentucky rye, it’s safe to say you’ll like the whiskies on the left half of the whiskey gift guide. Lovers of smoked whiskies like Laphroaig and Lagavulin will particularly appreciate our two McCarthy’s single casks. Fans of sherried whiskies like Glenfarclas, Macallan, and GlenDronach will be intrigued by our award-winning Cedar Ridge Iowa Single Malt—and they’ll probably get a kick out of a whiskey with that kind of flavor profile coming from Iowa. Lovers of Compass Box, Douglas Laing, or other blended malts will really enjoy our American Vatted Malt, an American take on the long tradition of blended malt.
On the bourbon and rye side, our Dad’s Hat straight rye single cask has drawn comparisons to Stagg Jr., while our Starlight Bourbon has the softness of a Weller or Maker’s Mark and our Starlight rye has the pepperiness of something like Knob Creek.
Innovative Whiskey: A New World of New Flavors
The other side of our whiskey gift guide is a little different. If the whiskies on the left will be familiar to traditional whiskey lovers, the ones on the right are great for the person who wants to explore. These are the whiskies that truly push boundaries and do things that are quite different than anything we’ve seen in whiskey before.
The single malts in this section, for instance, actually do not have a ton in common with single malt Scotch—at least not from a flavor perspective. Our Copperworks and Westward single malts both owe at least as much to the craft brewing tradition of the Pacific Northwest as to world single malt traditions. While being made from the same ingredient as single malts all over the world (always 100% malted barley!), they go in very different directions. These whiskies are perfect for beer lovers as much as for Scotch lovers.
Other whiskies on the innovative side of the equation are made in styles that are not very common or familiar, even to the serious whiskey palate. We’ve been whiskey professionals for many years, and even we basically never encountered malted wheat whiskey before we discovered our Breuckelen Malted Wheat single cask. It’s just not the kind of thing most people are familiar with—and people familiar with the soft and light flavors of (regular) wheat whiskey have been blown away by this single cask’s sheer depth of flavor.
The same is true for our Cedar Ridge malted rye, another uncommon style. Similarly, our Boulder Peated Single Malt was aged in new oak at very high elevation and has a face-meltingly high proof, very different from the more staid smoke and light oak flavors usually seen in single malt.
Other whiskies, like our Spirit Works Rye Finished In A Sloe Gin Cask or our Dad’s Hat Straight Rye Finished In A Vermouth Cask, use unusual types of finishing casks to bring in flavors that are normally never seen in whiskey. Both taste almost like cask strength cocktails: the Spirit Works reminds us of a Negroni and the Dad’s Hat of a Manhattan. We love these unusual explorations of flavor, and this spirit of experimentation.
We put out a lot of whiskies, and that’s on purpose. We think our lineup offers something for just about everyone, and we hope our Whiskey Gift Guide helps you find the perfect whiskey for the whiskey lover in your life—whatever they happen to like!