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American whiskey distilling is not typically a collaborative process. It often seems the top brands are always vying to keep their reputation tip-top and growing. For independent bottlers – companies that buy casks of whisky directly from distilleries – the risk of putting other names on the label is worth the reward to creating a diverse flavor profile.
Independent bottling and vatted malts are most commonplace in Scotland. Because of this tradition, Nora Ganley-Roper and Adam Polonski, founders of Lost Lantern Whiskey, were inspired to access six of the best single malt producers in the US to create the sublimely unique Lost Lantern American Vatted Malt Edition #1.
This limited release was born of the collaborative efforts with single malts from distillers Balcones (TX), Copperworks (WA), Santa Fe Spirits (NM), Triple Eight (MA), Westward (OR), and Virginia Distillery Co. (VA). In what I think is a spectacular picture of true camaraderie and union, all six distillers were invited to take part in the blending. They gathered in Denver to blend and taste all in one long day.
As Ganley-Roper and Polonski state, “American Vatted Malt Edition No. 1 is indicative of why American craft whiskey is so exciting. It’s a great symbol of what we want Lost Lantern to contribute to the industry.”
The climate and distilling environment contributes to the distinctive flavors elicited from the spirits. As a result, Lost Lantern American Vatted Malt No.1 enjoys a robust and diverse flavor profile from malts aged across the country.
Only 3,000 bottles were produced for release so I highly recommend seeking this bottle out. I will be watching Lost Lantern to see what new and exciting blends they will create in the coming years.
Tasting Notes: Lost Lantern American Vatted Malt Edition No. 1
Vital Stats: 105 proof (52.5% ABV). $120/750ml. 3,000 bottles produced. Aged 2 years. Malts aged in American oak, sherry casks, re-toasted wine casks, and other barrels (full details on what the blend consists of are here).
Appearance: Clear, earthy ocher.
Nose: Intricate notes of the earth, an almost fertilizer smell, like pulling up the dirt from the farm floor after a rain. The malt rides on the tail of that smoky and sweet hit.
Palate: I have to repeat the word smoky. It really nears the scotch territory. It is clear and past the smokiness there is little heat. On the top I got chocolate and orange bitters, a beautiful combination, and it carries a warm finish with that dry, earthy release.
I fell in love with this whiskey from the second the first fume hit my nose. It is complex and daring, challenging me with its unique flavor profile to reach further into my palate and explore the contrasting influences.
After this tasting I was filled with appreciation for the vast corners of the country that this whiskey represents, and the care that went into creating this new and exciting product. I would proudly place this bottle on my mantle and share with friends anytime of the year.