A super interesting development in the American whiskey world is spirit being made at one particular distillery, MGP of Indiana, that is fresh picked off the still and exported across the US to be aged and eventually bottled as a semi-homeade whiskey. With a handful of these producers around, it’s been fascinating to try whiskey that all began at one place, yet ended up tasting totally different as uniquely sourced oak barrels and vastly different climates play their part.
Our very favorite in this category is Lost Republic’s Straight Bourbon and Rye. Based in Healdsburg CA, we love how the aging transforms it into what feels like a California-style whiskey. With sunny warm days aplenty, a heavy and full-bodied whiskey often feels too weighty, certainly for sipping on a hot Sunday afternoon. Lost Republic is loaded with delicious barrel flavors but not a ton of rich wood sugars; the balance feels just right for the NorCal palate. Given the South’s love of desserts, it also feels totally appropriate that the hefty Kentucky whiskies scratch that sweet tooth itch so well.
Some nitty gritty details. The Bourbon mash bill is 75% Corn, 20% Rye, and 5% Barley. For the Rye whiskey, it's the classic MGP 95% Rye and 5% Barley. Both are produced on large stills, with aggressive heads and tails cuts. What comes out is a very pure distillate, so Lost Republic is able to rely far less on barrel flavors. Both whiskies are aged in full-size 53-gallon white oak barrels, this low surface area to volume ratio is another detail that creates their lighter style bourbon and rye, letting the grain attributes sing. In comparison, it is still far more common for new producers to use small barrels to "hurry up" the aging and more quickly turn around a caramel, vanilla, and wood sugar laden whiskey. The bourbon spends at least three years aging, the rye between 2-3 years.
Who gets the credit for the final product remains a controversial topic for whiskey fans, but the straight talk from our shop floor is this is a best buy if you need gift ideas – and one of our favorite things to suggest for its great flavor, design, and price.
Lost Republic Straight Bourbon: Aromas of allspice and apple. Flavors of caramel, banana, biscuit, cinnamon, and molasses giving way to a robust finish.
Lost Republic Straight Rye Whiskey: Nose offers cherries, tobacco and lemon zest. Sweet and spicy balance of flavors including raspberries, toffee, cloves and ginger.