Lost Prophet is the fourth release from Diageo’s ORPHaN BARREL Whiskey Distilling Co. The previous three releases were much anticipated in some circles, much debated in others. While yes, I’ve been provided a small sample to review for you, our faithful readers, this isn’t a paid advert. You’ll get my honest opinion of the juice, along with a bit of the coverage from around the web. I’m not one to push my opinions on others – I’ll give you the info, and let you decide for yourself.
The promo packaging looks like an old book, with a gilded lamb on the front cover. Inside, next to another image of a lamb, the packaging notes, “A proselytizing spirit.” A Lost Prophet, that will convert non-Bourbon-believers to the fold? Hmmmm, maybe. Along with the sample, there’s a small antique-looking watch fob with two faces. Is it telling me it’s time to drink Bourbon? I’m pretty sure it’s never NOT time, so we’re off to a good start. Presentation? A+! Most posts and comments I’ve read agree that the labeling on the bottles is great – but what’s inside?
According to their website, “The Orphan Barrel Whiskey Company was started to share barrels of rare and delicious whiskey, hidden away and nearly forgotten in the back of rickhouses and distilleries.” If you ask your Google machine, there are tons of opinions on that subject. Some say, “How do you lose whiskey?” While it does sound hard to believe, this stuff was made 20+ years ago. Inventory systems are more sophisticated now, and some of these distillers closed, or changed hands. So, “lost”? Maybe. Put aside knowingly for this purpose? Maybe. Not mine to judge the marketing, just the booze. So here you go:
Color: medium dark amber, with gold highlights. This is a 22 year old whiskey, so you should expect a deeper color than most of its younger counterparts.
Nose: Not as sweet as I would’ve expected from a whiskey that’s more than 75% corn. To me, it has a fairly sharp alcohol smell.
Taste: Far smoother than the nose would indicate, there’s no absolutely no burn. I don’t often talk about “mouth feel”, because I think it sounds super pretentious, but I’ll make an exception this time. This whiskey is very round, full and velvety on your tongue, with a warm and sweet finish. Another first – the finish has a slight taste of cardboard and pecans. If you’ve read any of my other reviews, you’ll notice that I’m not one for overly flowery descriptions of odd flavors. I don’t think that serves a purpose beyond sounding like a snob, and I don’t think it’s very helpful for someone that might be just getting into whiskey (I saw a wine review that mentioned lead pencil – yuck!). So when I say, “cardboard and pecans,” those are two very distinct things I actually taste (and no, I don’t eat shipping boxes). It also has the heavy vanilla taste that I normally expect from a whiskey that’s spent more than a little time in a barrel.
ABV: 45% (90 proof) All the OB bottlings are around this proof.
Price: MSRP $125
Availability: Very limited, releases mid-December.
Other comments: I’ve not had any of the other OB releases (yet), though the bar has been set fairly high by Lost Prophet. There is a ton of scrutiny on whiskey these days, especially when it’s not a completely straightforward lineage (i.e., George Dickel was a real man that made his own whiskey, and that whiskey is still being made today, in Cascade Hollow, under his name). This is a whiskey review, not a review of Lost Prophet’s marketing. While this whiskey may stretch your budget a bit, it’s definitely one of the better ones I’ve had, at any price. With the holidays coming, it would be a great gift for the whiskey aficionado on your list!
Article by: Jeanne Runkle