By Kurt Maitland
This review demands I cover two histories here, that of the Lost Distillery Company and also the Stratheden Distillery.
The Lost Distillery is an independent whisky company whose stated mission is “to create present day expressions of legendary whiskies that belonged to the craft of whisky distilling almost a century ago.” That is an impressive agenda, because more than 100 Scottish distilleries have been lost in the last century. Many of them were victims of Prohibition and most of these weren’t around long enough to stir the fervor of the better known, closed distilleries of today like Brora, Port Ellen and Karuizawa. For most of us they are merely a name in Alfred Barnard’s The Whisky Distilleries of the United Kingdom, and we will never know what they tasted like.
Lost Distillery attempts to remedy this by recreating the whiskies that would have come from these now “silent stills.” They do this by researching the stills that were used, the type of barley that went into the original process, the water source, the wood, etc. They then use this information to source single malts that would be the closest to what the original tasted like and, in effect, resurrects the whisky to the best of their ability.
The Lost Distillery release on the table today is the Stratheden, a distillery was located in the heart of the Auchtermuchty in Fife. It was owned by three generations of the Bonthrone family, and is thought to have existed from 1829 to 1926.
Color: Pale Gold
Nose: Light fruit in the nose, honeyed malt, and tea biscuits with a hint of smoke
Taste: Bottled at 46% abv, this is not quite as sweet as the nose would lead you to believe but there a nice mix of stone fruits and pepper in here. The texture is slightly dry/astringent, but with a well-rounded feel. Water makes it a little sweeter and the white pepper of the finish comes on much quicker.
Finish: The lush fruit of the beginning turns to a long, hot white pepper finish.
I love the idea and execution of the Lost Distillery releases. They are well crafted and well-priced for what they are and the amount of time and energy that goes into these creations is a testament to how seriously they take this project.
The Stratheden Blended Malt runs between $55 and $60 in the US, and is listed at €60 in Europe.