On a very serious business-related trip, for business, my wife and I dragged ourselves (complaining all the way) up to picturesque Sonoma County, California, to trudge through a tour of Sonoma County Distilling Company’s facility and reluctantly down a bunch of samples. For business.
The mad scientist Bryan Davis is back … and he’s released a pair of whiskies very much in line with Lost Spirits’ previous editions. … Bryan has gone old-school and bought actual Islay whisky to perform his depraved alchemical rituals upon. Sourced from an undisclosed distillery on Islay (his only hint: it’s not Caol Ila), and rapid-aged in his biochemical reactor using American oak staves that have been toasted (or charred, see below) and soaked in late-harvest Riesling.
As a value malt, this has a few ticks in its favor over the Classic, which it is replacing in the permanent Auchentoshan portfolio. $35 is not an unfair price for this light, straightforward NAS malt.
Bryan, as is his wont, does all kinds of crazy things to create these rums, including his usual voodoo involving oak barrels that somehow create super-aged and super-dark spirits in no time at all… Seriously, if you’ve ever even been remotely interested in dark rum, at least seek out a bottle of the Navy Style.
This certainly has the hallmarks of Bryan Davis’s work – funky and offbeat, its flavor pairings are just as unlikely (and just as successful) as salt with caramel and bacon with maple syrup.
Auchentoshan 18 is a clean, light, elegant malt. That said, it doesn’t show a great deal of improvement over younger Auchentoshan, and seems to be aged in a way that picks up minimal wood.
If this was once Auchentoshan, the sherry monster murdered it and stuffed it in a closet. While Auchentoshan Classic is understated, vanilla, and crisp, this is resinous, sticky-sweet, and overripe. That’s not to say it’s bad.
I wanted to see what happens when an already individualistic whiskey is singled out as a single-cask bottling for being even more individualistic! Either way, if you’re looking for variety and excitement in your whiskey, this place is a gold mine. Lost Spirits continues to create otherworldly spirit with truly alien characteristics.
My visit to Lost Spirits distillery in Salinas, CA, and my first taste of their unusual peated American single malt whiskey.
This is not whiskey you sit on the back porch and relax with. This is thinking whiskey. This whiskey challenges, coerces, and redefines itself. It beckons you to examine it deeper and then smacks you in the face with a sweaty gym sock.