Disclaimer: A sample of Lost Prophet bourbon was provided to me by Diageo, just as Barterhouse, Old Blowhard & Rhetoric were for my earlier reviews. I appreciate their willingness to allow Bourbon & Banter to review the bourbon with no strings attached. Thank you.
Let’s kick off the 2015 bourbon review cycle with our Lost Prophet bourbon review.
Lost Prophet is the fourth, and most recent, release from Diageo’s Orphan Barrel Whiskey Distilling Company.
Distilled in 1991 at the George T. Stagg Distillery (now known as Buffalo Trace) and moved to Stitzel-Weller for storage, Lost Prophet’s mash bill is 75-78% corn, 7-10% barley and 15% rye–similar to Buffalo Trace’s Mash Bill #2 used for Ancient Age and Blanton’s.
Here’s what Diageo had to say about Lost Prophet Bourbon on the Orphan Barrel website:
Lost Prophet speaks softly but carries a big stick. Eloquent and gentle, this Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey was unearthed after spending 22 long years resting in charred American white oak barrels, tucked away in a corner of the historic Stitzel-Weller rickhouses in Shively, Kentucky.
Lost Prophet is a soft spoken whiskey, with aromas of honey, apricot and clove that reveal a silky, full-bodied taste with notes of spiced vanilla and a touch of leather, culminating in a sweet smoky finish.
Only a small amount of Lost Prophet exists and it will only be released once. After the last bottle has been sold, it’s gone for good, its nomadic journey coming to an end.
Based on my tasting of the three previous releases I’ve come to realize that well-aged bourbons don’t really fit my desired flavor profile. While my preferences can play into how I feel about a bourbon, I do my best to call out what I detect in terms of flavor and taste so you can decide if it aligns with your personal flavor preference. And in the end, if there’s issues with the overall balance, proof and finish I’ll call them as their less dependent on personal taste. (At least I’ve never met someone who preferred an unbalanced bourbon with a acidic finish that lasted for hours.)
That all being said, let’s open up this 22 year old and see what it’s all about.
LOST PROPHET BOURBON REVIEW
Bourbon Name: Lost Prophet Bourbon
Age: 22 years
How I Drank It: Neat, in Glencairn whiskey glass.
My Nose Noticed:* Varnished Oak | Honey | Cinnamon | Green Apple
First Sip: Dry Bitter Oak | Honey | Cinnamon | Leather
The Burn:** A little too much bitter oak for me but it does get balanced out eventually with honey sweetness followed by leather and cinnamon notes. It has a medium burn without the warm surge that I love. I’m pleased to report that this one is lacking the rough spicy edges found in Rhetoric.
Neat, Splash or Rocks: This one is already under proof in my book so adding water didn’t seem like a good idea. However, in the interest of science I added just a touch of water only to have the bitter oak notes jump out more–not pleasant. I’d drink this one neat every time.
Share With: Just like the other bourbons in this collection, this is a collector’s bourbon. Share it with others who either love older oak heavy whiskeys or like being able to claim they’ve tried something new and relatively rare.
Worth The Price: Suggested retail price is $120. I may sound like a broken record, but $120 is a lot of money to spend on something that’s rather thin on flavor. It’s a fair price if your good paying for age but way too much if you’re looking for a rich, traditional bourbon flavor profile.
Bottle, Bar or Bust: If you like older bourbons I suggest you try a glass at the bar before investing. All others should pass on this one and invest in multiple bottles of their favorite everyday sipper.
*I like to let my bourbon sit in the glass for at least 5 minutes before I start to smell it or have a drink. I personally find that it’s better to let some of the alcohol waft off before diving in. If I’m drinking bourbon on the rocks I skip the waiting and dive in both feet first.
**Some of you refer to this as the “finish” but let’s be honest. Don’t we all just want to know if it burns good?
After having tasted four different releases from the Orphan Barrel line, Lost Prophet is my top choice. It’s too tannic due to age but at least doesn’t come across as dusty like some of the other releases. It’s very thin when it comes to flavor so it would be fun to see if a higher proof version would be better and more balanced. Ultimately, as with the previous releases, there are far better tasting bourbons on the market for less money. Lost Prophet falls into the “buy it because it’s rare, not because it tastes great” category for me. Even if you like older and heavy oak flavor profiles there’s better choices like Elijah Craig 23 year if you can find a bottle.