By Father John Rayls
The Gerston Distillery had two distinct lives. The first lasted over 80 years, from 1796 to 1882, as a farm distiller operation that was known for its flavor and quality and achieved some worldwide recognition, despite its necessarily small scale.
The second life only lasted about two decades from 1886 to perhaps as late as 1914. It was initially owned by a London-based consortium and was a significantly larger operation than the farm distillery (80,000 gallon production per year capacity, big for those days), but one that never quite reached the previous peaks of success. After about 11 years of operation, it was sold and continued to steadily produce for the next 3 years until it closed. Some say quality control at the second, industrial Gerston was lax, but it is known that the water source, grain and peat sourcing were all different.
The Lost Distillery Company’s recreation of Gerston is a Gerston is a vatted malt whisky, bottled at 92 proof.
The color in my Glencairn glass is a medium to full gold that Is reminiscent of baled straw in the sunlight. The legs are available early on and easy to see, but manage to take their time draining down the sides of the glass.
The initial nose is filled with toffee, leather and oak with some very light smoke. It’s a light scent, but grows on you with time. Taking a sip is a light, smooth and subtle experience. The whisky has a faintly sweet and oaky presence over some light-but-distinct smoke. Afterward, the medium-to-long finish kicks in almost immediately, continuing with the sweet oak while presenting a nice light pepper statement. Of course, the light smoke is present throughout the tasting.
The Lost Distillery’s Gerston Blended Scotch is an easy sipping whisky, light, smooth and interesting. If you are a history buff, it’s doubly interesting.
The Gerston Blended Scotch Whisky is priced around $65.00 to $75.00 here in the States, if you can find it.