If you like whiskey, you’ve probably heard all the rumors about American single malt whisky. The style isn’t new at all, but it’s finally catching fire in a real way. American single malt whiskey dominates the conversation about what’s new and exciting in American whiskey right now. There’s so much going on and it’s all so regional that it can be overwhelming to keep up, let alone know where to start.
Let’s fix that right now with just one bottle.
The San Francisco World Spirits Competition has just released its Best in Class and Best Overall spirits awards. This list included the best American single malt whiskey in its category and it is a good choice. This year’s best American single malt whiskey worldwide is a small bespoke batch by Lost Lantern of a classic Balcones Texas single malt aptly named “Gentle Giant”.
I had the chance to judge this year’s American single malts in San Francisco and I also know Balcones very well as a trailblazer. To that end, I’m breaking down exactly what’s in the bottle. Long story short, it’s a great whisky, so let’s get to it!
Also Read: Top 5 UPROXX American Single Malt Whiskey Articles from the Past Six Months
Lost Lantern Gentle Giant Balcones Distilling Texas Single Malt
Average price: $100
This rare blend of Balcones via Lost Lantern is a super rare five and a half cask bundle. The batch is made up of single malts aged in a four year old double cask apple brandy cask, a large three year old European cask which has been drying outside for three years, another of these casks but a little older, a four year old bourbon cask and a half-full European oak cask that was exactly three years and 56 days old when discarded.
All of this whiskey was vatted and bottled as is.
Nose: This opens with Granny Smith apple skins over winter spice peels dipped in floral honey and dried alongside wheels of orange and graham crackers as a subtle hint of high desert sage and mesquite hide in the background.
Palace: The orchard enlivens the palate with a sensation of salted soft caramel cut with vanilla oils and dipped in a dark chocolate orange sauce with a touch of roasted pecans and almond leading to a woody touch of aged sage and cedar bark.
Finish: These orchard and desert woods mingle with caramelized sweet malts that round out the finish with a hint of honey caramel and spiced apple fritter covered in a buttery cinnamon glaze.
This is a delicate and luscious whisky. It’s quite unique. It’s more of a funky southwestern single malt than a dry bourbon or rye whiskey. It feels like its own thing with clear hints of Scottish heritage buried deep within. All in all, this is a great pour over the rocks that will have you addicted to both American single malt and gorgeous malt whiskeys from Balcones in Waco, TX.
The current series was available through Seelbachs but is currently sold out. There were only 1,100 bottles made. At the moment, there are still bottles available directly from Lost Lantern for $100. Some are also available through California online retailers for the same price. Beyond that, you’ll need to assess them at some really good whiskey bars.
Given the popularity of this small-batch bottling, there might be another round in the works, but don’t let that fool you. Get it while you still can, because this year’s award-winning release will soon be gone for good. Good luck there!