If you are not hip to Lost Lantern, it’s time to put this “Global Independent Bottler of the Year,” named by the Icons of Whisky Awards, on your radar.

Company founders Nora Ganley-Roper and Adam Polonski travel the States searching for delicious and exciting whiskeys and bottling them under the Lost Lantern banner. But unlike many sourced whiskeys, the team celebrates the origins of their whiskey by sharing every detail, making it all the more fun for us drinkers to taste what they landed upon.

For their latest “Single Distillery Series,” Ganley-Roper and Polonski scoured the Southwest to procure a trio of American single malt whiskeys. The first is Gentle Giant from Waco, Texas-based Balcones, followed by Desert Dessert and Mega Mesquite from Tuscon, Arizona’s Del Bac distillery. Here is an overview of each expression.

Lost Lantern Gentle Giant Balcones Distilling Texas Single Malt

Vitals: Proof: 115.2 (57.2% ABV); Bottles: 1,100; $100
Balcones Distilling Texas Single Malt

Distilled by Balcones Distilling’s Jared Himstedt, Gentle Giant is a Texas single malt comprised of whiskey aged three years in European oak, an ex-bourbon barrel, and ex-apple brandy casks. The result is an apple-forward whiskey featuring dry spice, oak, and a long finish.

“What would it look like to create a delicate and elegant whiskey at a distillery best known for intense and powerful spirits? That’s what we wanted to find out. We collaborated closely
with the Balcones team to create this unique release.” — Adam Polonski

How Does It Taste?
Look for fresh apples, soft oak, dry spice, and a long finish.

Lost Lantern Desert Dessert Whiskey Del Bac Arizona Single Malt

Vitals: Proof: 113.8 (56.9% ABV); Bottles: 450; $100

How do we know this Mesquite-smoked Arizona single malt is delicious? We named it “Best American Single Malt” at the Fall 2022 John Barleycorn Awards, our blind competition judged by the world’s most influential spirits communicators. Made of a mashbill of 60% unsmoked and 40% Mesquite malted barley, this whiskey is aged in a combo of new oak, ex-Sauternes, and ex-Pineau Des Charentes wine casks.

“We collaborated closely with the Whiskey Del Bac team to create this unique release, designed to amplify the richer, sweeter notes inherent in mesquited whiskey.” — Adam Polonski

How Does It Taste?
Smoky, nuanced, and elegant with notes of orange, apricot, sweet nectarine, and golden raisin.

Lost Lantern Mega Mesquite Whiskey Del Bac Arizona Single Malt

Vitals: Proof: 120 (60% ABV); Bottles: 180; $100

Whiskey Del Bac’s flagship Mesquite whiskey, Dorado, combines smoked and unsmoked single malt. But Ganley-Roper and Polonski wanted an unapologetically smoky Southwest whiskey that celebrates the region’s native mesquite wood in its glory. The result is just 180 fiery bottles of Mega Mesquite, a three-barrel blend comprised of 40% Mesquite-smoked malted barley.

“We wanted to taste what Whiskey Del Bac would be like if we put smoke first and foremost. The result is one of the smokiest whiskies ever to come from Whiskey Del Bac.” — Adam Polonski

How Does It Taste?
Burnt orange, oak notes, and intense spice is enveloped in a warm embrace of Mesquite smoke.

The bottlings will be available for purchase starting April 26th online at LostLanternWhiskey.com and Seelbachs.com, as well as at select retailers in California, New York, and Alberta, Canada.

Spirits writers, marketers and designers are among the most influential forces in the spirits industry. Their opinions, ideas and creative talents inform and influence consumer perceptions and buying decisions. The John Barleycorn Society was started by a group of spirits journalists seeking to honor excellence in all facets of the industry. The journalists spent several years creating a comprehensive competition that became the John Barleycorn Awards. An elite team of authoritative and influential spirits journalists was selected to administer the flagship component of the Awards, a blind tasting competition destined to become the preeminent arbitrator of spirits taste, quality and character.