Lost Lantern’s Fall Collection, launching on September 27th, includes five single cask, cask strength whiskies, four of them from existing partners and one of them from a newcomer. Today’s blog post is about that newcomer, which has been on our radar for many years and has more recently become the distillery people most often ask us about working with: Andalusia Whiskey Co., in Blanco, Texas. Our first Lost Lantern Andalusia single cask, a triple-distilled Texas single malt, is coming out as part of the Fall Collection.
Andalusia Whiskey Co. Distillery Overview
Andalusia Whiskey Co. is located near the eastern edge of Texas Hill Country, a sprawling rural region that arguably marks the beginning of the Southwest. At the least, the areas east of Texas Hill Country are vastly more urban than Hill Country itself or anything west of it. To the East is the Texas Triangle, one of the most populous megacities in the United States. To the West is live oak forest, scrubland, and eventually desert.
Andalusia itself is about an hour west of Austin, Texas’s fast-growing capital city. The area around Andalusia is certainly rural, but it doesn’t feel remote. In fact, there’s a lot to do: the area has plenty of restaurants, breweries, other distilleries, and natural and historical attractions like the LBJ Ranch.
As for the distillery: Andalusia opened in 2016, founded by Tommy Erwin and Ty Phelps. Both are brewing industry veterans, and both had been working at nearby Real Ale Brewing Co., working respectively as lab microbiologist and head brewer. They decided to start a brewery together, focusing on Texas single malt. The area where it’s located was once called the “Andalusia Ranches,” a nod to the Spanish region of Andalucia, which has similar terrain to Texas Hill Country. And thus the distillery was born!
We first visited Andalusia in spring 2019 during our “Great Whiskey Road Trip” (and by the way–they have a stunning and expansive tasting room that is well worth a visit!). At that point, they were only three years in, but it was already clear that Ty and Tommy were onto something. We’ve stayed in touch with them ever since, and kept a close eye on what they’re up to. Now, a few years later, we are thrilled to officially announce them as a Lost Lantern partner with our first single cask release from them.
Andalusia Whiskey: What They Make
Andalusia makes Texas single malt. That makes sense, especially for a distillery whose founders are both from the brewing industry. The distillery has a single handmade copper pot still and the team essentially does everything by hand.
Andalusia broadly releases three main styles of whiskey. One is its Triple-Distilled release. As the name very clearly suggests, this is a Texas single malt that is distilled three times. Most single malts around the world, and almost all single malts in Scotland, are distilled twice. There’s one country, though, where that’s not true: Ireland. In Ireland, most single malts are distilled three times. The third distillation results in a cleaner, lighter-bodied whiskey, still full of flavor yet very approachable. Andalusia saw that triple-distilled single malts, although somewhat well-known worldwide, weren’t really being made in the United States. Theirs is one of the first, and it has a beautiful, refreshing, and elegant character.
Andalusia’s two other main whiskies are both double-distilled smoked single malts. One, Revenant Oak, is a peated single malt aged in used oak barrels. The other, Stryker, is a uniquely Texan smoked whiskey: it’s made from malted barley that was smoked not with peat, but with oak, mesquite, and apple wood. It’s a nod to Texas barbecue tradition. Stryker in particular has won a ton of awards, and was one of Whisky Advocate’s Top 20 Whiskies of 2021.
Lost Lantern Andalusia Single Cask Details
For our first release from Andalusia, we decided to focus on their triple-distilled Texas single malt. That’s because we think it’s a truly unique style in the world of American single malt, and it’s the perfect introduction to what Andalusia is all about.
As with all American single malts, the Lost Lantern Andalusia single cask was made from 100% malted barley–in this case, two-row American-grown barley. It was, of course, distilled three times on Andalusia’s copper pot still. It was then aged for 3 years in a new American oak barrel from Kelvin cooperage, 53 gallons with a #3 char. The barrel entry proof of 105 is quite low compared to the maximum (125). A lower barrel entry-proof is generally associated with a greater concentration of flavors and more development of some of the compounds that lead to flavor.
Whiskey develops a lot after three years in the Texas heat. Climate has a huge impact on whiskey maturation–just look at Scotch, which is often not released until it’s 10-12 years old, compared to Kentucky bourbon, which has a 6-8 year old sweet spot. And Texas is even hotter than Kentucky!
Our first Lost Lantern Andalusia single cask, bottled at its natural cask strength of 105.2 proof, is an ideal entry to what Andalusia is doing and what makes triple-distilled single malt special. It has peppery oak spice and peppermint on the nose and notes of allspice and clove on the palate. It’s warm and refreshing, complex yet welcoming. It reminds us of eating ice cream in a waffle cone on a hot day.
We hope you enjoy our first release from Andalusia, and as always, strongly encourage you to seek out their own releases as well. The Lost Lantern Fall 2023 Collection, including our first Andalusia single cask, launches on September 27th!