Category Archives: Lost Spirits

Lost Spirits Cuban Style Rum – 75.5% ABV (151 proof)


Region – California – price – $40

Lost Spirits Cuban Style Rum 151Today’s review is of Lost Spirit’s Cuban Style rum. This one is bottled at the over-proof ABV of 75.5%, or, 151 proof.

There are a few 151 rums out there. Most of these bottlings are ones I stay away from as they just tend to be bottles of pure unadulterated hellfire.

If I do have any 151 rum, I’ll most likely find it sitting on top of a Mai Tai.

I never though I’d see myself pouring and analyzing a 151 rum but given that the Lost Spirits Navy Style rum (bottled at 68% ABV) was down right wonderful, I am going to give this one a go.

So, here we go.

On the nose — This does not nose like you’d expect something that’s 75.5% ABV would (meaning that, you’re face does not explode upon getting within 6 inches of the glass). Actually, it’s quite approachable and there is little, if any, stinging alcohol vapor shooting up your nostrils.

Lost Spirits Cuban Style Rum 151I am immediately taken by the scent of melting caramel and nutty toffee.  There’s a hint of wintergreen or menthol in the background and sassafras tea.

Whoppers malted milk balls with a side of high-milk hot cocoa with a candy cane (purely for stirring purposes, mind you).

Crackling’ oat bran cereal.

On the mouth — Ok, here is where the heat kicks in.  Yes, it’s a hot Fother Mucker but, like George T Stagg, it’s bursting with flavor.

Lost Spirits Cuban Style Rum 151Crushed winterberries, sugar cookies and pine needles (slight).  Cellophane wrapped brown sugar with hints of pecan syrup flowing into a Bailey’s ice luge.

keep-calm-butterbeer1I’m getting echoes of smoke and good notes of cooked & browning butter, butter scotch and if Harry Potter and the gang were sipping, I’m sure they’d say they detected Butter Beer.

Finish — Quite creamy, nutty with dashes of both milk and white chocolate and it’s a long, really long finish.

In sum — You know, Lost Spirits makes some nice and unusual American single malt whiskey (really nice, actually). But when they put their minds to rum, pure magic happens.

I’ve had some fine rums/rhums, aged both young and old and I’d have to say that Lost Spirits rums are up there with the best of the best with regards to flavor, balance and complexity.  And, $40 for a bottle?! Holy Crap. Deals *do* still exist in this crazy world of brown spirits!

Many thanks to Bryan D for the sample!

Lost Spirits California Navy Style Rum – 68% of ABV Amazingness!


Lost Spirits Navy RumRegion – California – 68% ABV – $45

Rum has always been a go-to for me during Passover.  That or Tequila.  As much as I like those spirits I end up missed malt whisky for a solid 8 days of Passover.  During Passover observant Jews are not permitted to eat or drink anything that has been made with barley/wheat/rye, etc… Nothing grain based.

While enjoyable, the above mentioned spirits are simply not whisky and there is no spot-on alternative.  I think, however, I may have just found a spirit that is the next best thing for drinking during Passover.

Note: this is not a kosher for Passover certified spirit but it’s made from Baking Grade Molasses, Evaporated Sugar Cane Juice and Water.  Zero grain so, it’s good for me!

Lost Spirits Navy RumOn the noseIt all starts off with a sweet and damp pack of Winston cigarettes and burning medjool dates which has been tightly wrapped with a a few hundred horse mane hairs.  Does that make sense to you?  After a few sips of 68% ABV rum, it just may!

Lost Spirits Navy RumA New England brush fire on a late October day.  Heavy brown sugar with the scent of some of the nicest brown bread with rum raisins.  Molasses (of course) and a touch anise.  At 68%, it’s so easy to nose though it’s a tad dense yet, in a good way.

A couple more notes before I move to the palate portion of the tasting – toasted oak covered in apple sauce with heavy brown sugar and a touch of cinnamon.

On the mouth —  Pow! Blam! Bash! and a host of other 60’s Batman TV show fight scene words… This punches your tongue and wakes you up.Lost Spirits Navy Rum

Lost Spirits Navy RumYou’d think this were a sherried malt.  While not very oily there are loads of notes that include (though not limited to) figgy pudding, cola cubes, date pits, cherry skins and cigar wrapper (dark).

Bruised strawberries and a slight hint of wintergreen (really?!).  Prune and prune filled butter cookies.  Wow.  Yummy.

FinishMedium in length with some light brown sugar and more of that wintergreen.

In sum I’ve had my fair share of rums, most of which were 40-46% ABV.  I’ve had a decent amount of over-poof ones, too.  I’m fairly confident in saying that this is the best over-proof/cask strength rum I’ve had to date.  I could add water to this and I’m sure it’d be a bit of a water rat.  However, it’s so damn good at full cask strength so I’m going to remain a purist.

Well worth your time and attention, people!  Find a bottle.  Find it and love it.

Special thanks to BD for the ample review sample!!

American distillery Lost Spirits fourth cask of Leviathan I – heavily peated single malt whiskey


California – 53% ABV – $50 (sadly now sold out but you can get Leviathan II for $50.  You may want to hop on this as these casks render less than 200 bottles each).

Leviathan I, Cask # 4

Today will be the third exploration into a bit of an oddity amongst American whiskeys.  What makes Lost Spirits Leviathan so unique?  Though I’ve touched on that previously, let’s review it again:

Well, it’s a single malt to start. (Yes I, like everybody else’s uncle and their respective monkeys, read the NY Times article about the surge in the American single malts.)  Beyond being a single malt whisky Leviathan is:

  • Peated to 110ppm (only Islay’s Bruichladdich can claim a higher peat ppm with their Octomore)
  • Matured in a late harvest Cabernet cask (few people have even heard of this style wine)
  • Single cask, cask strength, non-chill filtered, no colors added… the whole she-bang that whisk(e)y aficionados/anoraks/geeks look for in a whisk(e)y.

Maybe “oddity” is not the best descriptor.  Maybe they’re a bit of a loner and a rebel.  Yeah, that’s better.

You may have already read my review of Cask # 1 and/or Cask # 3.  Here are my notes for Cask # 4:

Lost-Spirits-Leviathan-cask-4On the nose –  The nose is noticeably malt-forward but the maltiness has a deep, dank cellar-like malted barley quality.

Almost humid in scent.

As with Cask # 3, we’re getting some Horse Hindquarters Here (a triple H, different than HHH a la “Pump Up the Volume”).

Mezcal-like in my book with the burnt quality (not so much peaty but burning smoke).

Whoa.  Grape “Bonkers” candies.

Heavy on the strawberry-jam-like sniffyness.

Dark millet cookies/biscuits minus any addition of cardamom powder.

Lost-Spirits-Leviathan-cask-4-2On the mouth –  Barrel char mixed with sweet red table wine.

Fleshy bits upon the peach pits (much like cask # 3).

I have to say that I’m very happy with the mouthfeel.  Oily, tongue coating and rich.

Nowhere near as smokey in flavor as it is in scent.  Very fruity, woody and winey with smoke around the edges reminding the dear drinker that yes, this is a peated whisky.

Lost-Spirits-Leviathan-cask-4-3And finally, some over ripened mango right before some tannin-y dryness kicks in…

Finish – Lasting and now some sweetened spicy notes emerge and dance about on the center of the tongue.

In sum – What can I say about this whiskey?  Well, it is very much a mood whiskey and a whiskey I could find myself in the mood for quite often.

While it is a big ‘ol peat monster it’s not trying to be Scotch whisky.  It really is it’s own animal and stands alone  (and quite tall) in the US Single Malt whisk(e)y arena.

Lost Spirits Leviathan I, Cask #3


California – 53%ABV – $55 (solid pricing for single cask, cask strength whiskey!)

As I begin to write about this 3rd cask of Leviathan from Lost Spirits Distillery (Leviathan being a single malt whiskey from California peated with Canadian peat to 110ppm), I immediately began to wonder what to lead off with.

Sure, I could go right to the review but if I did, I’d be remiss in telling you that having looked at the awesome still at Lost Spirits, I was in some way reminded of Trogdor the Burninator.

Wait, come again?  You’ve not heard of Trogdor the Burninator?  I feel I must enlighten you:

(Yes.  I am still sort of 9 years old…)

My bit of fun off to the side now, seriously, check out the Lost Spirits still.  It’s a stunning work of art (that creates some fine juice).

Let’s review the whiskey!

Nose  Pushing initial thoughts of Mezcal out of my head and I find this to be a very grain-forward whiskey.  All upfront we have horse feed, barley draff and peated mash all ready to be turned into wash/beer.

It’s also very barn-yardy (to be expected with younger, peated whiskies).

Let’s not forget the fruits, shall we?  Milk chocolate covered strawberries.  Perhaps a touch of marzipan and peach pit.

Quite easy to nose at 53% ABV!  Smokey, for sure, but there’s a charred wood quality here, too.

Palate Big and juicy and fruity!  Tons of red berries, still getting some of those peach notes (the flesh right by the pit: tart yet over ripe).

Back to the barnyard-like notes.  In fact, and this note was pointed out to my by a good friend, there’s a touch of horse-hind.

Put your nose up to a horse and, bam!

Warming, comforting, almost a bit too fruity (if that’s possible).

Finish  Fruity notes increase as does a building spice along the sides of the tongue.

In sum Beyond the individual notes, taking the macro look and as previously reported, this is a very unique spirit!  While I thought the first one I had was a touch more balanced, this one was insanely enjoyable.  This to me is a summer dram.  Yes, it’s smokey & peaty, but the fruits and grain have their hands on the wheel with this one.  I’d love to have a dram of this while hanging out in a field of grains, reading a book.

Special thanks to BD for the official ample sample!

Lost Spirits “Leviathan I” American heavily peated single malt whiskey.


California – 53%ABV – $55 (solid pricing for single cask, cask strength whiskey!)

Today I’ll be sharing some details on a new American whiskey called “Leviathan I” and the distillery that produces it; Lost Spirits Distillery.  If you’ve not heard of Lost Spirits before, don’t feel bad.  Most folks have not heard of them.  They waited quietly and patiently for their whiskey to mature before they made any large public announcements about their distillery and whiskeys.

Before we start with the whiskey, let’s start with the bottle and the fact that it’s got a wine cork rather than a whisk(e)y bottle cork with the plastic top (see right).  If you’re like me, you save your whisk(e)y bottle corks – you may need one after opening this bottle.

Now, onto the distillery owners.

Bryan and Joanne, owners of Lost Spirits in Monterey County California, came back to their native Cali-roots after a good stint with another distillery they owned; that one in Spain where they made Obsello Absinthe and Port of Barcelona Gin.

Not only did Bryan and Joanne up and move back to California to open a whiskey distillery, these good folks built their still entirely by hand.  Two people, four hands, one giant still with a big dragon head attached:

Yeah, that’s right.  A dragon head.   And what’s more is that the still is located outside… not confined in any building. I’ve not seen anything like this before and I doubt you have either.  Located outside and with a dragon head, it’s like this whiskey is distilled atop the Misty Mountains (where the spirits go now).  Brilliant: 

Now let’s talk about the actual whiskey itself.  This is peated American single malt.  Bryan and Joanne have sourced Canadian peat to peat their California barley to 110ppm.  Then they mature the whiskey exclusively in late harvest “Botrytised Cabernet” casks.  This type of Cabernet, as Bryan taught me, is basically a somewhat Sauternes-like wine.  If you frequent my blog then you know I’ve got a “thing” for Sauternes matured whiskies…

What’s more is every single release of theirs will be release as a single cask, cask strength bottling.  (*Swoon*)  It’s as if they had whisk(e)y geeks like me in mind when the designed this stuff!

Kudos to Bryan and Joanne for doing something so unique in the world of American whiskey!  It just goes to show that craft distilling in the US is growing; not only in the number of US craft distillers but also in the styles of whiskey and the way they produce it.

Now, to taste the Leviathan:

On the nose Lost Spirits?  More like wild, crazy, wacky spirits.

I would have have never pegged this for malt whiskey.  I’d perhaps more assume this were a Mezcal. (In fact, it’s quite like the Tobala Del Maguey Mezcal I reviewed last year.)  Smoky yet not smoked (if that makes sense), phenolic/carbolic.

Screeching tires on sticky black tarmac.

Wine influence is quite noticeable after a few minutes.  Pungent and sweet red wine reduction and then hints of red wine vinegar.

The sweetness then dissipates to reveal charred swamp ash and an intense bitterness that evolves into what I’d swear is the scent of Manchego cheese.

Like I said, this is wild stuff.

On the mouth Massive mouthfeel, sweet grape jam flavor to start but this is followed by tropical fruits such as mango and papaya.

Some malty quality comes through but this is still quite Mezcal-like.

Speaking of malty, I’m reminded here of a smoked porter flavor.  I love smoked porters.

I can taste the burning swamp ash.

Very salty/briny if you take the time to notice – a fine quality.

Finish Like a smoked madeira or some red grape desert wine.  The finish goes on and on.

In sum  Read the label – 110ppm (phenols rated in parts per million) peated malt whiskey.  Now forget what the labels says.  Do not go into this thinking you’re going to taste an Islay like whisky.

Like any and all spirits, you should go into a dram of this with the mind wide open.  If you do you’ll find that it’s a well crafted whiskey.  It’s not an every day whiskey, for sure, but it’s sort of “yum” in a glass if you ask me.

I’d suggest drinking this when you have time outside (fishing or hiking) or after a moment of completion – maybe once you’ve climbed to the top of that mountain.

Really enjoyable whiskey!

Special thanks to Bryan and Joanne for the sample!