The lost distillery company is a name that is fast becoming a name banded round for giving us some very interesting whisky to savour.. The company is all about recreating whisky in the style of long gone distilleries, they are an independent “boutique ” company that have a passion and mission to give us back a little hint of our past..
“There is no magic formula to what we do. We don’t have a warehouse full of old forgotten whisky, we don’t have a secret recipe or DNA analysis and we don’t have plans to reopen any of these lost distilleries. The answer to what we do lies in the history books…
The process begins with our Archiving Team led by Professor Michael Moss from The University of Glasgow. Focussing on the 10 key components that influenced the original character of these long lost whiskies, the Archiving Team play a pivotal role in evidencing how that spirit might have tasted when it was last distilled. While we could argue that there are a number of elements of the production process that are pivotal to the final taste of the whisky, we focus on what we consider to be the ten most important. Depending on the availability of information from our research, we are able to make certain assumptions as to what the profile of these whiskies might have been.
The 10 Key Components:
ERA – The date of the last distillation is critically important. As with most manufacturing businesses, fashions and processes change. Mechanisation brought increased consistency to the process, while expansion of the railways sponsored the construction of much bigger distilleries.
LOCALITY – Neighbouring distilleries may have used similar sources of water, barley and yeast. They may have shared expertise that still survives today in working distilleries.
WATER – A core ingredient used to make the spirit and also to dilute the product to bottling strength. Was the water soft or hard? What was the mineral content?
BARLEY – The most important aspect of the barley is the phenolic content. Where was the barley grown? Was it local? Which strains of barley were used? How consistent was the yield?
YEAST – Why is some sourdough bread better than others? Why do some bakers retain a starter dough for decades? Yeast matters in the process and ultimately has an impact on the final product.
PEAT – Was the malted barley peated or unpeated? How much peat was used and was it sourced locally? How did this translate to the phenol content of the finished product?
MASH TUN – What material was it constructed from? Was it open or closed, and how was the temperature controlled? Volatile temperatures would inhibit yeast activity.
WASH BACK – These would have been made almost exclusively from Douglas Fir; chosen for its straight grain and lack of knots. While some distilleries still use these, most have converted to stainless steel versions that impart no character to the product.
STILL – The shape and size of the still deeply influence the overall character of the spirit. For example, a smaller dumpy still will typically allow more contact between the copper and the spirit meaning that it produces a heavier, more viscous spirit.
WOOD – After production, what type of wood was used to store or transport the whisky to its destination? Did this have an impact on the final flavour? What did the barrel have in it before it was used for whisky? This would have had a significant effect on the whisky’s taste”.
This expression is STRATHEDEN and is part of the Archivist collection, bottled at 46%abv, NCF and Natural colour.
Nose.. Hints of smouldering wood and baked pears, marshmallows roasted over an open fire and stewed apples.. A dark toffee note with peaches and burnt caramel, pipe tobacco, delicate smoke and wood spice.
Palate.. Lots of spices and hints of burnt wood, overcooked fruits with cinnamon, vanilla icecream and fresh heather honey.. Some oaky notes with ginger biscuits and chocolate digestives..
Finish.. Oaky with a twist of smokey spices..
Thoughts.. I was not sure what to expect with this dram but I am pleasantly suprised.. A good balance with a nice complexity to it. A very intetesting insight into what might have been getting drunk in years gone by..