Classification: Straight Bourbon
Company: Lost Lantern
Distillery: Smooth Ambler
Release Date: December 2021
Age: NAS (5 years according to company website)
Mashbill: 71.5% Yellow Corn, 21.5% Soft Red Winter Wheat, 7% Malted Barley
Color: Golden Tan
MSRP: $80 (2022)
Caramel cream candy | Cinnamon | Walnut | Basil | Green Tea
Pecan pie | Dark chocolate | A touch of maple | Blackberry
Walnut | Nutmeg | Soft tobacco | Delicate oak | Black pepper
Lost Lantern is a non-distiller producer (NDP) that sources their whiskey from various distilleries from around the country. While this is nothing new, what differentiates them is that they hand select the barrels and either create new blends combining whiskeys from multiple distilleries, or in their Single Cask series, highlight a particular distillery with the name of the distillery on the bottle’s label.
As the bourbon’s name bluntly states, this is a single barrel from Smooth Ambler. The reason why that matters, is that Smooth Ambler made a splash in the industry by sourcing really great and often older whiskeys when they first started. Unfortunately, that well dried up for them like it did many other distilleries, and Smooth Amber has patiently been aging their own distillate for what feels like forever.
The company has been slowly releasing their distillate here and there, and has been blending with it for quite a few years now. Their Big Level Bourbon is 100% their own distillate and like this Lost Lantern single barrel selection, is also wheated bourbon, except it’s released at only a 100 proof. With the higher proof of this Lost Lantern release, the bourbon really sings. It sports a solid base but stands out for its Smooth Ambler-ness. It tastes a touch craft, not in the young sense, but more in its uniqueness and artisan taste. This isn’t a standard Kentucky flavor profile, but one that is quickly making a case for West Virginia bourbon. At five years old, it's in a nice place balancing its youth and oak. It offers just enough complexity with its complementary flavors to make it a success story.