Last week I did my blog’s first rye review and this week I’m bringing you the first single malt review. Here we have a 106 proof, un-chillfiltered, barrel proof, heavy-peated American whiskey produced by the Lost Spirits Distillery. Lost Spirits is a small craft distillery out of Salinas, California run by Bryan Davis and has released two whiskeys as of now; Seascape and Levianthan I. Both are peated whiskeys, Seascape was peated to 55 parts per million (PPM) and Leviathan I was peated to 110 ppm. I’m no expert on the science of peat but 110 ppm is a lot. Leviathan I is aged in ex-cabernet sauvignon barrels for what the label says ‘under 4 years’. It’s produced with California grown barley and smoked with course cut Canadian peat. I am a fan of peated whiskeys so let’s see how this heavy peated American whiskey is?
Appearance: a light golden amber with slow moving tear drop legs
Nose: Right away I pick up on the Cabernet influence and not a whole lot of smokiness that usually comes from heavy peated whiskeys. Pears, sour grapes and vanilla is what I’m getting initially out of this one with an air of mustiness. A spicy bay leaf aroma starts to appear with some kind of rice pudding note mixed in there. A very interesting bouquet that’s for sure. There is also an earthy tobacco note that also is present.
Palate: This is one hot whiskey. Both the heat from the alcohol and the spiciness of the flavor. Right away I get the kick of chili powder, reminds me of the Lucas Chili Salt I use to have as a kid. Tamarind-flavored candy, cinnamon and some earthy grass flavors are packed in there. The sweet and fruity notes become more apparent after the onslaught spicy heat subside like some nice vanilla custard and grape flavors. The mouthfeel is very creamy almost syrup like and the finish is long and leaves the tongue tingling with some flavors of vanilla, pears and some vegetal notes.
Overall: If you’re looking for an Islay-like profile with this one, you’re not going to get it but what this whiskey has been able to do is create an interesting array of flavors and aromas. I think there is something to the heavy peat and ex-wine barrel maturation. My only concern is again like with most craft distilleries it wasn’t left in the barrel long enough. It’s young so it’s brash and a unrestrained almost like a runaway freight train and washes out the wine profile on the palate. I am really rooting for Lost Spirits because they have a potential winner here. Personally, this whiskey hit on some flavors that really took me back to my childhood. The mexican candy I grew up on like the tamarindo soft candy and the Lucas chili powder really hit home. I found those flavors to be delicious but with a more control and balance I’m sure this would be phenomenal.
Rating: 82 / * * *S