I was recently sent samples of the Spring 2022 releases from Lost Lantern. This is their 5th release of products from artisan distilleries. I like Lost Lantern because they purchase their barrels from artisan distillers and since Lost Lantern is an internet sales group, they make artisan products available in more markets. They pick interesting barrels and bottle them, sometimes as single barrels, but sometimes as vatted products from a couple of different distilleries. They are very open as to where the whiskey is made and what is being done with it when it is bottled. Matt and I tasted the samples and here are our notes.
Spirit Works California Straight Rye Whiskey Finished in Sloe Gin Cask
Age: 3 Years Old
Mash Bill: 70% Organic Rye, 10% Malted Rye, 20% Brewing Malts
Finished: 1st use gin cask, 2nd use sloe gin cask
- Mike: Rye grass, juniper, sloe berries, oak.
- Matt: Cherries, ginger, vanilla.
- Mike: Rye grass, sloe berries, juniper and oak. Tasted with a dried cranberry and citrus notes come out to join the other flavors. Tasted with a pecan and the rye grass is enhanced.
- Matt: Just like it smells – cherries, vanilla and ginger. The dried cranberry made it sweet and spicy with vanilla and ginger. The pecan brought out the rye grass.
- Mike: Long and dry with oak and juniper. The dried cranberry reduced the oak and enhanced the juniper. The pecan made it very dry with lots of oak and a hint of juniper.
- Matt: Very spicy with oak tannins and hot pepper jelly. The dried cranberry made it very hot and spicy. The pecan made it hot with peppers and oak tannins.
Notes: We both agreed that this was not our favorite. The juniper just did not go well with rye whiskey. I am sure there are people that will like this combination, but it was not either of us.
Westward Oregon Single Malt Finished in a Chardonnay Cask
Age: Four Years Old
Mash Bill: 100% two-row barley
Finish: Chardonnay Barrique casks from Dominio IV Wines.
- Mike: Wine forward with grapes and raisins and a hint of oak.
- Matt: Chocolate malted milk balls.
- Mike: Lots of wine flavors – grapes and raisins with a little pepper spice with a hint of chocolate and oak wood. The dried cranberry made the wine notes stronger and added a little raspberry and the chocolate became more of a caramel flavor. The pecan brought out the chocolate notes.
- Matt: Lots of malt with chocolate and dark fruits. The dried cranberry enhanced the chocolate. The pecan brought out grassy notes – almost mustiness, with prunes and cocoa.
- Mike: Oak with lingering chocolate. The dried cranberry made it shorter, sweeter and fruity. The pecan made the finish full of oak with lingering wine and chocolate.
- Matt: Oak, cocoa and cayenne pepper. The dried cranberry brought out wine fruitiness. The pecan made the oak stronger with only a hint of cocoa.
Notes: We both thought that this whiskey spent too much time in the wine barrel. It dominated the whiskey.
Smooth Ambler Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Age: Five Years Old
Mash Bill: 71.5% Yellow Corn, 21.5% Soft Winter Wheat. 7% Malted Barley
- Mike: Vanilla and caramel with blackberries, baking spice and oak.
- Matt: Oak wood and blackberries.
- Mike: Vanilla, blackberries, cinnamon and pepper spices with some sweet oak wood. The dried cranberry reduced the pepper and added caramel notes. The pecan made it fruit forward with blackberries and raspberries.
- Matt: Very fruity with blackberries, lots of oak wood, nutmeg and honey. The dried cranberry brought out cinnamon red hot candy notes. The pecan brought out caramel, berries and cinnamon.
- Mike: Long with oak and pepper. The cranberry made the spice a cinnamon spice. The pecan made the finish longer with oak and lingering fruit notes.
- Matt: Long and pleasant with oak and cinnamon spice. The dried cranberry brought out hot cinnamon spice and lots of oak. The pecan brought out notes of leather to join the oak and cinnamon.
Notes: We both liked this Bourbon from West Virginia for different reasons. Matt liked the spiciness and I liked the fruitiness.
Frey Ranch Four Grain Straight Bourbon
Age: Five Years Old
Mash Bill: 67% Corn, 12%Ttwo-row Barley, 11% Winter Rye, 10% Soft White Winter Wheat
- Mike: Corn and vanilla with ripe apples, baking spices and sweet oak wood.
- Matt: Caramel and brown sugar with floral notes, nutmeg and oak wood.
- Mike: Caramel corn with orange and lemon zest, cinnamon and nutmeg spice and sweet oak wood. The dried cranberry enhanced the citrus and apple flavors. The pecan brought out notes of milk chocolate.
- Matt: Chocolate, caramel, toasted peanuts and baking spices. The dried cranberry brought out notes of mandarin oranges and toasted oats. The pecan enhanced the peanut notes and oak.
- Mike: Medium long with oak, spice and lingering apple fruit. The dried cranberry added some lingering citrus notes. The pecan made the finish very long with lots of oak and spice.
- Matt: Long with oak, leather and spice. The dried cranberry enhanced the baking spices. The pecan brought out notes of leather.
Notes: We were not surprised that we liked this Bourbon as the best of the four whiskeys we tasted. Frey Ranch is a distillery to watch.
Lost Lantern has once again bottled some interesting whiskeys. All of them were well made products with some very different flavor profiles. I am sure there will be many people who disagree with our assessments of the whiskey, but that is the magic of whiskey tasting. Different people like different flavors.
Photos Courtesy of Rosemary Miller