Late in 2020 Adam Polonski, formerly of Whisky Advocate, and Nora Ganley-Roper, formerly of NYC's famed Astor Wine & Spirits, banded together to create something new in the American whiskey space dubbed Lost Lantern. Inspired by the tradition of independent bottlers in Scotland, the pair set out to "shine a light on the American whiskey landscape" by releasing ltd. edition whiskies from distilleries from around the country that don't get the attention they deserve.
Their focus is on single casks that would otherwise be "lost," and one of their first releases, American Vatted Malt Edition No. 1, was a blend created in collaboration with six of America’s finest and most unique independent distilleries: Balcones (Texas), Copperworks (Washington), Santa Fe Spirits (New Mexico), Triple Eight (Massachusetts), Westward (Oregon), and Virginia Distillery Co (Virginia).
Other notable releases include a trio of casks from Arizona’s Whiskey Del Bac, which produces unusual mesquite-smoked whiskies. “We think you can learn a lot about a distillery by trying several single barrels side-by-side," the founders commented, "and the variety of flavors seen in these casks shows just how pronounced those differences can be, both as a result of different cooperage and simple barrel-to-barrel variation.”
“There are approximately 2,000 distilleries in the United States, yet there was no easy way for whiskey lovers to discover the best and most exciting ones,” the founders note. Each season, Lost Lantern will debut a new collection of single casks, and also plans to announce one-off limited releases from time-to-time. All single cask offerings are bottled at cask strength, are non-chill-filtered and have natural color.
And quantities are strictly limited, with the number of bottles available from each cask varying according to numerous factors including the hallowed "angel's share." So when they're gone, they're lost for good.