Summer of Bourbon II

A map of Lost Lantern Summer of Bourbon distillery partners.

We are incredibly excited to announce that Lost Lantern’s 2024 Summer Collection is going to be The Summer of Bourbon. Or more specifically, the Summer of Bourbon II. Last year, we launched the first Summer of Bourbon as our first-ever collection focused entirely on one style of whiskey. The Collection was very well received, yet we only scratched the surface of the sheer breadth of bourbon being made across the country. This year, we decided to continue the theme and want to encourage whiskey lovers to keep exploring the increasingly wide world of bourbon, in all the forms that it takes from coast to coast. And that’s why we’re celebrating with Summer of Bourbon II! 

 

Lost Lantern Summer of Bourbon II Collection: The Whiskies

The Lost Lantern Summer of Bourbon II Collection includes nine whiskies from twelve states across all three of our product lines.

It features the second edition of Far-Flung Bourbon, our flagship bourbon blend, this time a blend of distilleries from up and down the eastern half of the United States.

It includes Mississippi Memory, our first-ever release from a “ghost” distillery: the sadly closed Rich Grain Distilling in Canton, Mississippi.

And it includes seven single cask releases. Two come from some of our most sought-after partners: Boulder Spirits, the source of our first-ever finished bourbon, and Corbin Cash, with one of the first bourbons ever available outside of their tasting room. The other five distilleries are all first-time Lost Lantern partners: 

We will share many more details about all these whiskies leading up to the launch. Follow us on Instagram and Facebook or sign up for our newsletter to keep up with the latest. The rest of this post will focus on some details and questions about the release and about our philosophy on bourbon rather than all the whiskey specifics, but don’t worry: we are, as ever, an open book, and will keep no secrets when it comes to these whiskies. 

 

Lost Lantern Summer of Bourbon II Collection: Release Dates and Details

Because the Summer of Bourbon collection is our largest ever, we have decided to release it on two separate dates.

The two non-single-cask releases, Far-Flung Bourbon II and Mississippi Memory Rich Grain Distilling Mississippi Bourbon, will debut on Thursday, June 20th

The seven single casks will all come out three weeks later, on Thursday, July 11th.

All the releases will be available online, in our tasting room in Vermont, and at select retailers in California. Far-Flung Bourbon II and Mississippi Memory will be available at select retailers in New York State.

 

Summer of Bourbon II: Types of Bourbon

So that’s what’s happening on the Summer of Bourbon release date. Now let’s take a step back and share a little bit more about how we think about the variety of bourbon being made across the country. 

Climate

Classic – made in KY/TN, or in places that have a similar climate to bourbon’s historic heartland. Example: Starlight Distillery, IN

Hot Climate – From a climate notably hotter than the above. May be either dry or humid. Leads to a dense, strong, often oaky whiskey. Example: Balcones, TX.

Cool Climate – Cold & snowy. Leads to softer, often more delicate whiskey with less oak. Example: Cedar Ridge, IA.

High Altitude – From a dry and mountainous climate. Leads to strong whiskey and concentrated flavors due to high evaporation. Example: Boulder Spirits, CO.

Mashbill/Process

  • High Rye – a classic style of bourbon with rye as the secondary grain. A spicier profile.
  • Wheated – a classic style of bourbon with wheat as the secondary grain. A sweeter profile.
  • Other Grains – more innovative mashbills, like four-grain (earthy) or high malt (more cereal-forward). Some use unusual grains
    like spelt.
  • Heirloom/Local Corn – an innovative bourbon style featuring unusual corn varieties selected for unique flavors. Profiles vary.
  • Tennessee Whiskey – Tennessee bourbon made using the Lincoln County Process. Usually mellower. 

 

Is Tennessee Whiskey Bourbon? Is Finished Bourbon Bourbon?

Tennessee whiskey must meet all the requirements for bourbon (51%+ corn, new oak aging, etc.). Therefore, we see it as bourbon. We view the Lincoln County Process as an additional filtering step that influences flavor but doesn’t break any of the rules of bourbon. There are certainly people who disagree, but that’s where we stand.

As for finished bourbon… it certainly starts as bourbon. Whether it remains bourbon after finishing is, to us, mostly a question of semantics. The truth is, good finished bourbons still taste like bourbon, with an additional twist that amplifies particular flavors.

 

Summer of Bourbon II Firsts

The Summer of Bourbon II Collection includes a number of firsts for us: our first Tennessee whiskey, a 5-year-old single cask from Leiper’s Fork in Franklin, Tennessee. Our first-ever finished bourbon, a 7-year-old Armagnac finished bourbon from our longtime friends at Boulder Spirits. Our first bourbon from Washington state, and our first whiskey of any type from Kansas, South Carolina, Arkansas, and Tennessee. 

Perhaps most notably, but with a bit of a sadder note to it, this release includes our-first ever whiskey from a closed distillery (aka “ghost distillery”). The latest entry in our Single Distillery Series, Mississippi Memory, comes from Rich Grain Distilling, a Mississippi distillery that sadly closed in 2020. We acquired their bourbon from founder David Rich last year. It is, in fact, the only distillery that we’ve ever worked with that we didn’t visit in person, because by the time David was selling the bourbon, the distillery itself had been dismantled: there was nothing left to see. So instead, we held an extensive Zoom interview about every aspect of the distillery’s history. This will be one of the only chances bourbon lovers ever have to try bourbon from this distillery. 

 

Summer of Bourbon II FAQ

Why did you split the release in two?

Nine bottles is a lot of whiskey… and a lot to talk about! We want to make sure we can give the whiskey a little space to breathe. We’re going to start by focusing on the two larger releases, Far-Flung Bourbon II and Mississippi Memory (launching June 20th!), and then give ourselves time to talk about the single casks as well before they launch on July 11th. Of course, once everything is out in the wild, we’ll be talking about everything! 

This two-part release is an experiment for us, and we welcome your feedback about it!

 

Where’s Frey Ranch? Where’s the Texas bourbon?

The first Summer of Bourbon featured Nevada’s Frey Ranch as its flagship distillery: the only distillery featured in all three of our product lines in the same release. We released a Frey Ranch single cask (long sold out), Far-Flung Bourbon I, which includes Frey Ranch and is still available in limited quantities, and Soaring Spice, our blend of multiple barrels all from Frey Ranch and our largest bourbon release to date.

The first Summer of Bourbon also included a lot of Texas bourbon. It included the long-awaited return of Ironroot Republic to our lineup, as well as the Lost Lantern debut of Still Austin both as a single cask and as a component of Far-Flung Bourbon I. Texas was very heavily represented the first time.

For Summer of Bourbon II, we wanted to explore new ground. That’s why there’s only one partner in common between the first and second Summer of Bourbon, Boulder Spirits, and this year’s release is entirely different since it’s an Armagnac-finished bourbon. And while we love Texas bourbon, we already had so many other things we wanted to highlight! That’s why Summer of Bourbon II has so many new partners and new states. It includes our first Washington bourbon, our first California bourbon, and our first whiskies of any kind from Mississippi, Tennessee, Kansas, Arkansas, and South Carolina. That’s a lot of new places!

 

Should we expect this to be an annual release?

No. Even though we did Summer of Bourbon last year, and we’re doing it again this year, it will not be an annual release. We feel like the Summer of Bourbon II Collection meaningfully continues and furthers the message we proclaimed last year: that great bourbon now comes from all across the United States. We are not doing it just for the sake of doing it, or just because the first collection was very well-received, but because the whiskies themselves demanded it.

I’m sure we’ll do Summer of Bourbon again… sometime. But it is extremely unlikely that we would do it again next year (in fact, we already have other plans). We celebrate all styles of American whiskey, and there are many other areas we want to explore. So, although we will not be holding another Summer of Bourbon in 2025, we will certainly continue to release bourbon in various forms in other collections, fitting the themes of those releases. There just won’t be another collection solely dedicated to bourbon and only bourbon for a good long time. 

 

How is Far-Flung Bourbon II different from Far-Flung Bourbon I?

Both editions of Far-Flung Bourbon are blends of straight bourbons from states and distilleries that have never been blended before. However, they are blends of whiskies from totally different distilleries and states, with no overlap! FFBI brought together whiskies from Frey Ranch (Nevada), Still Austin (Texas), Boulder (Colorado), and Watershed (Ohio). FFBII all comes from east of the Mississippi: Wollersheim (Wisconsin), Starlight (Indiana), Smooth Ambler (West Virginia), Kings County Distilling (New York), and the closed Rich Grain Distilling (Mississippi). 

Despite the very different sources, they have some commonalities in flavor profile, which we would attribute to our unique Lost Lantern perspective. After all, despite very different sources, they were blended by the same two people! Both are high proof (136.8 for FFBI and 126.6 for FFBII) and have a very rich texture. FFBI, which scored 94 points in Whisky Advocate, is a big and powerful bourbon with a lot of hot climate and western influence. FFBII is somewhat more oak-forward, yet also very balanced. 

FFBII is not intended to replace FFBI (which is nearly, but not quite, sold out). After all, both are different! We are confident that if you liked the first one, or like big and bold bourbons generally, you’ll like the second one at least as much. But they both offer something different. That is to say, we highly recommend you try them both!

 

>>> For more information on our Summer Collection Releases please visit our products page