Classification: Straight Bourbon
Company: Lost Lantern
Distillery: Sourced from Smooth Ambler Spirits Co.
Release Date: September 2023
Age: 6 Years
Mashbill: 57% Corn, 36% Rye, 7% Malted Barley
Color: Dark Bronze
MSRP: $100 / 750mL (2023)
Rye spice | Vanilla | Butterscotch | Muted nutmeg | Oak | Honeycomb | Light overall scents
Butterscotch | Caramel cream | Rye spice | Green peppercorn | Faint vanilla bean | Muted oak | Proof shines through
Burst of rye spice | Spiced vanilla cinnamon blend | Faint leather | Light oak | Faint warming heat
Utilizing a high rye mashbill, the latest Smooth Ambler Single Cask by Lost Lantern carries an interesting mix of sweet and spice, but lacks where it counts.
Part of the fall set of single barrels released in 2023, Smooth Ambler is no stranger to Lost Lantern. Cask #12 follows past releases such as 2022’s Single Cask #1 and 2021’s Single Cask #7. This particular release features a high rye bourbon mashbill and is from a short barrel, which yielded a relatively paltry 87 bottles.
Smooth Ambler has had an interesting transition since it switched from being a 100% sourced whiskey to producing their own whiskey and releasing blends, to 100% in-house distilled products. I find the case of Lost Lantern 2023 Single Cask #12 to be a prime example of this transition which sometimes works well and other times falls short. While past Lost Lantern releases featuring Smooth Ambler have highlighted the use of wheat as the secondary grain, this single cask uses rye, and the results are very unexpected.
Even though the bourbon comes in at a hearty 121.4 proof, the majority of the sip tends to drink much lighter. This isn’t a bad thing however, as the impact on the flavors is noticeable as the nose and finish deliver more muted notes. Rye spice, vanilla, and butterscotch prop up the first half of the sip with more traditional notes rounding things out in the finish. The overall flavor notes are fine, but this bourbon does little to entice you to want to go back for more. Overall, this is a bourbon that has a hard time standing out among past Lost Lantern Smooth Ambler casks and is easily trumped by the other whiskeys in the brand’s fall 2023 Single Cask Collection.