Review: Lost Lantern Fall 2023 Single Cask Releases

Indie bottler Lost Lantern‘s latest set of releases focus on old friends from America, with four distilleries returning to the fold. Alongside sequels from Balcones Distilling (TX), Smooth Ambler (WV), New Riff (KY), and Corbin Cash (CA) is a new bottling from what Lost Lantern says its most-requested new partner, Andalusia Whiskey Co. (TX).

All five are single barrel releases at cask strength, with some (Smooth Ambler) yielding as few as 87 bottles. Here we go!

Lost Lantern Balcones Distilling Texas Single Malt Finished in a Peated Whiskey Cask – Made from 100% Golden Promise malted barley, aged for 3 years in new oak and then finished for an additional 20 months in a cask that previously held peated single malt. A follow-up to the Spring 2023 Balcones release. Peat on top of Texas heat… whew! There’s something a little magical about this combination, the nose curiously coming across as sweeter than expected, with elements of sweet Southern tea, cinnamon rolls, and Old Spice cologne — ever so slightly smoky, more musky than peat-driven. The palate finds a fruitier edge — apples and some cherry — then shows off a bit of oxidized wine character and more tea, plus notes of toasted sesame oil, almond butter, and brown sugar crumble. The sense of peat is strongest on the finish, where a gentle seaside-bonfire-meets-mesquite quality endures. A really intriguing spin on what Balcones can do. 120.4 proof. A- / $100

Lost Lantern Smooth Ambler West Virginia Straight Bourbon – Smooth Ambler high-rye bourbon, aged in a level 4 char cask for 6 years. Toasty and well-spiced on the palate, the rye pops right away, melding notes of menthol with a dark pumpernickel character. Plenty of sweetness and fruit in the mix, enticing the drinker to dig into the palate. Here a sweeter quality dominates, pairing a brown sugar syrup with a gentle lemon quality, backing it up with brisk cinnamon, nutmeg, and just a pinch of cloves. There are light touches of milk chocolate late in the game — but it’s a burly barrel char note that kicks in in time for the finish, grounding the whiskey in wood. In the best possible way. 121.4 proof. A / $100

Lost Lantern New Riff Kentucky Straight Bourbon – Made from 65% corn, 30% rye, and 5% malted barley, aged 4 years in a 53-gallon char level #4 ISC Cooper’s Select barrel. A surprisingly dusky, weighty experience. Heavy with char, intensely woody, the nose is a brooding encounter with earthy, mushroomy notes, sharp at times with an oxidized wine quality, almost sherried. The palate is hearty and rich, fireside whiskey if ever I’ve tasted it, its black cherry fruit dialed back to reveal elements of cassia bark, clove, and well-toasted cereals. The black cherry is enduring, hanging on well into the finish. Slightly pruny on the back end, with a weighty dark chocolate character showing. Finally on the finish, a touch of butterscotch. Solid, especially considering its relative youth. 116.2 proof. A- / $90

Lost Lantern Corbin Cash California Straight Rye Whiskey 7 Years Old – Distilled from 100% estate-grown Merced rye and aged for 7 years in a 53-gallon barrel, charred to level 5. Certainly toasty on the nose, but not overbearing, featuring a punchy note of cereal grains, dried grasses, and some fresher notes of green hay. Certainly pastoral, with earthy overtones and plenty of baking spice to back it up. The palate is soothing and sweeter than the nose initially implies, with oily almonds and walnuts leading to notes of butterscotch and pastry cream. Much more soothing and balanced than your typical 100% rye whiskey, the finish has a brown sugar sweetness but also a punch of that well-toasted barrel in effect. A bright squeeze of cherry juice on the fade-out. Excellent. 129.8 proof. A- / $120

Lost Lantern Andalusia Whiskey Co. Triple Distilled Texas Single Malt – 100% single malt, curiously triple-distilled in a handmade copper pot, aged 3 years in new oak. Definitely the most unusual whiskey in this lineup, this bottling sees a bright pop of lemon on the nose, alongside plenty of vanilla, a pinch of cloves, and layers of warm cereal tones. The palate echoes these elements but filters them through a Texas sensibility — boldly charred wood, green mesquite, and a touch of asphalt. The finish sees elements of nougat and a reprise of lemon peel, more vanilla, and the sugary sweetness that I often associate with single grain Scotch. Certainly drinkable, but my least favorite whiskey in this lineup. 105.2 proof. B+ / $100

Lost Lantern Balcones Distilling Texas Single Malt Finished in a Peated Whiskey Cask




Christopher Null is the founder and editor in chief of Drinkhacker. A veteran writer and journalist, he also operates Null Media, a bespoke content creation company.

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