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Scotland’s Lost Distillery Company Recreates Whiskies From Long-Shuttered Distilleries

December 27, 2016

Scotland-based The Lost Distillery Co. Ltd. has a unique mission—recreating whiskies from Scotch whisky distilleries that were shuttered long ago.

Launched in 2011, the company set out with a straightforward mission of becoming independent Scotch whisky bottlers. “We delved into the archives in search of a relevant name for the business,” says CEO Brian Woods. “In the process, we came across many distilleries that were closed and forgotten—and we hit upon our concept.”

Woods and co-founder Scott Watson consulted with University of Glasgow professor Michael Moss, a renowned historian and archivist, about the possibility of recreating Scotch whisky recipes from long-gone distilleries. “We learned that, through research, we could produce a whisky that represents what a distillery would be making today if it were still around,” says Woods. “We’re fortunate that Scotland has detailed records that go back many hundreds of years.”

An archivist team analyzed a variety of factors in deducing the taste components of these long-lost whiskies, including locality, water and dates of distillation, as well as the barley and yeast. They also researched whether the malted barley was peated and how much peat was used, as well as the peat’s sourcing. The distilleries’ physical aspects, including details on the mash tun and washback, the shape and size of the still, and the wood casks used to store and transport the whisky, were also carefully analyzed.

This fall, Lost Distillery launched three blended malts on the U.S. market as part of its Classic Selection range: Lossit, Benachie and Towiemore, all at 43% abv and retailing at $43 a 750-ml. Lossit (1817-1967) was once Islay’s biggest producer. Benachie (1824-1913), also known as Jericho, distilled whisky in the Aberdeenshire Hills. Towiemore (1898-1931) was situated just outside Dufftown in Speyside and considered one of Scotland’s top pure malts.

Lost Distillery’s Classic Selection range also includes three other labels: Stratheden (1829-1926) which was located in Fife; Auchnagie (1821-1911) which was near Pitlochry; and Gerston, situated in Caithness, which had two incarnations (1796-1882 and 1886-1914).

In addition to the Classic Range, Lost Distillery offers two higher tiers. The Archivist Collection includes Gerston, Stratheden Benachie and Auchnagie (all $63). The Vintage Collection, encompasses Gerston, Stratheden and Auchnagie (all $275). “Those two upper tiers are distinguished by the older whiskies used in the vattings—typically a 15- to 18-year-old average in the Archivist and 25 years or more in the Vintage—though we do use some younger whiskies in these ranges to achieve the flavor profile we’re seeking,” Woods says. All the labels from the upper tiers except Benachie are available in the U.S.

For 2017, Lost Distillery is targeting 40,000 bottles in the U.S. market. The company just released another label, Dalaruan, in France, and aims to roll it out more widely in the future. The portfolio is marketed in the U.S. by Miami-based Park Street. —David Fleming

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