American Vatted Malt is indicative of why American craft whiskey is so exciting. We brought together six of the very best single malt producers in the U.S. and we worked together to create something entirely new and unique.
JIM'S DESERT ISLAND WHISKEYS
Lost Lantern American Vatted Malt Edition No. 1BOTTLE DETAILS
- DISTILLER: Blended and bottled by Lost Lantern Whiskey, from a 12-barrel blend from six distilleries across the U.S.:
- Balcones in Waco, TX
- Copperworks in Seattle, WA
- Santa Fe Spirits in Santa Fe, NM
- Triple Eight on Nantucket, MA
- Westward in Portland, OR
- Virginia Distillery Co. in Lovingston, VA
- MASH BILL: 100% malted barely from various sources
- AGE: 2 Years
- YEAR: 2020
- PROOF: 105 Proof (52.5% ABV)
- MSRP: $120
- BUY ONLINE: Lost Lantern Whiskey Direct
NOSE: Caramel | Corn | Spiced Cherries | Toasted Oak
TASTE: Rye Spice | Oak | Faint Sweet Honey | Green Apple
FINISH: Medium with lingering sweetness and some grain
SHARE WITH: While young, this is a blend to share with your “drink curious” not too judgy friends.
WORTH THE PRICE: I found Ingram an interesting expression. I am generally a Midwest Grain Products fan, and I like to support craft distillers/blenders with innovative ideas. With all that being said, at over $70 for a less than 4-year-old, sourced, blended whiskey, this would be a tough sell for me.
BOTTLE, BAR OR BUST: This whiskey is not a bust. It has interest and depth that you wouldn’t expect by its age. The blending is done well and with the innovative take on aging, I will give it a BAR rating. Try it first, if you can, before you buy. In the fifty dollar range, I would be tempted to go bottle.
OVERALL: O. H. Ingram River Aged Straight Whiskey, I found interesting whiskey. Aged in a floating “rickhouse” at the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, in Ballard County, Kentucky. The theory being the gentle rocking of the barrels enhances the aging process. This process has its roots in the river transport of barreled distillate from Bourbon County delivered to New Orleans, with the transformed taste that apocryphally led to our native spirit. Does it make a difference? I have no idea, but there are a lot of people putting barrels on ocean voyages, riverboats, playing music to them, and even aging in cranberry bogs.
I have an issue with brands using invented or unrelated stories to support the “marketing” of their spirits. I don’t see that as an issue with O.H. Ingram. They have family history tied to the river and actually age on floating barges. They don’t hide the source, age, or mash bills of their product. Starting from typically quality rye and bourbon distillate from MGP in Indiana, aging for over three years and blended well, has produced a straight whiskey. It has a surprising depth for a young age. I found it drinkable neat, better with ice, but not particularly suitable for cocktails. My only issue with this product is the price, which is high for what it is. Understanding that the cost of sourcing and barreling probably drives this cost. If you find it in a bar, or you have the resource and drinking curiosity, I would not dissuade you from giving this one a try.
NOSE: Salted Caramel | Malt | Vanilla| Pencil lead | Green oak | A bit of acetone
TASTE:Baking spices | Molasses Cookies
FINISH: Long, pleasant, almost numbing burn | Milk chocolate | Ginger | Barley
SHARE WITH:Fans of America’s small distillery movement.
WORTH THE PRICE: If you’re a true American whiskey-nerd, yes. Otherwise, not quite yet.
BOTTLE, BAR OR BUST: If you can find it in a bar, it’s super interesting and probably worth the price of a dram.
OVERALL: I have made no secret of my love for independent bottlers and recently wrote an article for Bourbon & Banter where I lamented the fact that no one is doing with American whiskies what independent bottlers are able to do with Scotches. Just a few months later, a sample of Lost Lantern, Edition 1 appeared on my doorstep. I want to open this review with an admission: I really wanted to like this.
And I did. The nose on this was very interesting in a good way and the palate and the finish are even better. The representatives from the various component distilleries along with Nora and Adam from Lost Lantern did a wonderful job in what must have been a whirlwind of a blending day. The sum of the parts of that day created one of the best American malted whiskies I’d ever tasted. With that being said, I don’t think I can rationalize the price on quality alone. You can get an equally good Scotch for 70-80 dollars and there are quite a few better options for the price point. If you have the money to spare and are interested in standing on the front line of the American Independent Bottlers movement, though, you literally can’t do better.
To be perfectly honest, American single malts just aren’t as good as Scottish ones, so the raw materials that Nora and Adam had to work with are not as strong as an Independent Bottler across the pond. I would highly recommend keeping your eye on what’s coming out of Lost Lantern. As American distilleries develop more expertise and the component distillates become stronger in-and-of themselves, future editions of this are going to be well worth the money – go ahead and #drinkcurious when you have the opportunity!
Introducing Lost Lantern WhiskeyNew Bottler of American Whiskey Dedicated to Shining a Light on the Independent Spirit
October 6, 2020—The best whiskey reflects its origin, its craftsmanship, its ingredients, and its distillers. Inspired by the long tradition of independent bottlers in Scotland, Lost Lantern is a new independent bottler of American whiskey. The company seeks out the most unique and exciting whiskies being made all across the country and releases them as single casks and blends, always with a deep commitment to transparency.
With the launch of Lost Lantern comes the introduction of the brand’s first bottling, American Vatted Malt Edition No. 1. This blend of single malts from six American distilleries will be available for purchase as of October 15 at LostLanternWhiskey.com and Seelbachs.com shortly thereafter; between the two sites, Lost Lantern Whiskey will be available in 40 states. Later this month, the brand will announce details on its first four limited-edition single cask whiskies, which will also be released this fall.
Lost Lantern was founded in 2018 by Nora Ganley-Roper and Adam Polonski, whiskey lovers who worked on two sides of the industry: Nora as a retail specialist and Sales Manager at Astor Wine & Spirits; Adam as a Senior Whisky Specialist and Editor at Whisky Advocate. The decision to become an independent bottler was born from their desire to highlight the great distilleries crafting exciting whiskey around the country. “There are approximately 2,000 distilleries in the United States, yet there’s no easy way for whiskey lovers to discover the best and most exciting ones,” explained Adam. “I kept dwelling on this idea and realized that somebody was going to do this sooner or later. It was clear that, between my experience and contacts and Nora’s palate and background in startups and operations, we were the ones who should do it.” Lost Lantern was born soon after.
Nora and Adam have committed to only purchasing whiskey from distilleries they have visited in person. “We’re presenting distilleries to our customers under the Lost Lantern name as exemplars in their field, so we need to understand what they’re doing and why,” commented Nora. Since deciding to create Lost Lantern, Nora and Adam have visited close to 100 distilleries. Many of these visits were part of their 2018 “Great Whiskey Road Trip,” which took the duo to 50 distilleries in eight months across dozens of states. Inspired to continue on, they visited another 25 while touring the Midwest in 2019, and that number has only continued to increase.
While their roles at Lost Lantern overlap in various areas, Nora and Adam have defined responsibilities within the company. Nora manages the operations and oversees whiskey production, while Adam heads up sales, marketing, and whiskey sourcing—seeking out distilleries that are making unique and interesting products. As Nora explains, “We think of Lost Lantern as shining a light on whiskies that would otherwise be lost. That sometimes means bottling something from a distillery that is not distributed nationally, and which doesn’t get the attention we think they deserve. It can also mean bottling barrels from more well-known distilleries that are not consistent with their core lineup. This may be a finished whiskey, or an experiment that they’re not quite sure how to release. We’re looking for whiskies that we can bottle or blend that will expand the understanding of the landscape of American whiskey by whiskey connoisseurs.”
AMERICAN VATTED MALT EDITION NO. 1
In October, Lost Lantern will introduce their first whiskey, American Vatted Malt Edition No. 1. Limited to 3,000 bottles, the blend will be available for purchase at LostLanternWhiskey.com as of October 15th for $120. This 12-barrel blend of American single malts has been aged for two years, is non-chill-filtered with no color added and has been bottled at 52.5% abv.
This first edition is a complex and balanced blend with notes of baking spice, salted pretzel and hints of roasted barley surrounded by a savory smokiness that culminates in a long, warm finish of milk chocolate and sea salt.
American Vatted Malt Edition No. 1 is one of the first blends of American single malts ever made in the United States and represents the whiskey world’s true spirit of collaboration and harmony. Through a collaborative process that took several months to set up, Nora and Adam brought together the founders and distillers behind some of the country’s most distinctive single malts, all of whom hand-selected barrels for this unique blend and met in Denver to create it as a group. Over the course of a single marathon day, they worked, tasted, and blended together.
Jared Himstedt, Head Distiller at Balcones Distilling was supportive of the initiative from the beginning. “I was super excited to get to work on this project, to start with American Single Malts from a bunch of different distilleries from across the country and work collaboratively with the other distillers and blenders on this expression,” explained Himstedt. “It was a unique project that was lots of fun and I think an example of where the future of American Single Malts is headed. Independent bottlers, offering both single barrels and blends, are all going to be becoming more prominent as the category and community keeps developing to bring new and delicious whiskies to the table."
The result is American Vatted Malt Edition No. 1, a singular and special single malt blend from the following distilleries:
- Balcones (Waco, Texas)
- Copperworks (Seattle, Washington)
- Santa Fe Spirits (Santa Fe, New Mexico)
- Triple Eight (Nantucket, Massachusetts)
- Westward (Portland, Oregon)
- Virginia Distillery Co. (Lovingston, Virginia)
“American Vatted Malt is indicative of why American craft whiskey is so exciting,” said the founders. “We brought together six of the very best single malt producers in the U.S. and we worked together to create something entirely new and unique. It’s a great symbol of what we want Lost Lantern to contribute to the industry and provide for whiskey lovers. It’s unique, collaborative, and above all, deeply delicious.”