Lost Distillery is a project of, as the name suggests, lost distilleries. Not that it is going after casks from Brora, Port Ellen or even more rare stuff like Kinclaith and such. What it tries to do is something completely different.
The guys at Lost Distillery are trying to recreate whiskies from distilleries closed some hundred years ago. This they are not doing by distilling according to similar recipes, but by blending to recreate descriptions from that time.
Some influences in the whisky can be determined by distillery set up and location, others by tasting notes and markets where the whisky was popular. Of course, this is quite some marketing talk, but I find it interesting nonetheless. It is far too easy to start flaming these guys for trying to do the impossible and since it’s about whisky, I’m willing to give it a shot.
Stratheden distillery was located in the Kingdom of Fife in the town of Auchtermurchty. It closed in 1926 after being open for 97 years. It was run by 3 generations of the Bonthrone family and was located in the middle of town with several building dotted around the town center as the distillery grew. They supposedly used Bere barley, which makes for a bit of a different style of whisky, based on recent experiments by Bruichladdich and Arran. There’s a lot more on the distillery here.
The first thing that I noticed is the malt and barley, as well as that it’s probably a rather young whisky. Very lightly peated, but only a hint of smoke. Some apple, pear and even some mint notes. The scent is quite pronounced, but not pungent. It’s rather sweet and does have a bit of an Arran style (which is nice).
The palate starts off rather dry and coarse. Slightly smoky again, with the returning hints of apple, this time with pear skins. Some oak and rather dry, with a minor bitter note. It does have some white grape skins too, as well as demerara sugar and vanilla cream.
The long finish has hints of warm apple strudel and pear skins. Some nuts come through here, Brazil and hazel. Vanilla, charcoal and pineapple juice too.
I didn’t know what to expect of these whiskies at all, but if this one is an average for the other two bottlings, I’m a happy camper. It certainly does have an old fashioned feel to it, although whether or not it measures up to the old distillery we might never know.
The light apply notes with hints of peat and sugar really reminded me of Arran, which is a good thing. It’s complex enough to keep you busy for a bit, but not difficult. Good stuff!
Stratheden, 46%, Lost Distillery. Available at DH17 at a discount. Currently € 53.50