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The Lost Distillery Company Gerston Blended Malt Scotch Whisky

History in exquisite balance

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@Pierre_WReview by @Pierre_W

13th Jan 2015

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  • Nose
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  • Taste
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  • Finish
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  • Balance
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  • Overall
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  • Brand: The Lost Distillery Company
  • ABV: 46%

The Lost Distillery Company was established with the aim to recreate modern expressions of whiskies from long lost distilleries in Scotland. In order to come up with individual whisky profiles that are as authentic as possible, the team at The Lost Distillery Company has chosen an approach that combines meticulous historical research performed by archivists with the interpretation of modern-day whisky makers. The company uses neither chill-filtration nor caramel colouring as these techniques were unknown and not used within the whisky industry at the time. Their Gerston Blended Malt Scotch Whisky is the third release in the series and pays tribute to Gerston distillery (or ‘Gerston One’) that was located in Halkirk in the far north of Scotland and operated between 1796 and 1882.

The nose is salty and distinctly smoky. After the initial rush of peat there are vanilla and apple flavours, followed by apricots and marzipan. A hint of leather appears later on. This is a promising start, with smoky and fruity flavours perfectly interwoven.

The palate is medium-bodied and dry. Smoke and a phenolic note come to the fore right at the beginning, accompanied by flavours of vanilla, apricots, and a touch of liquorice. Similar to the nose, the palate offers a complex interplay between smoky/salty and fruity flavours.

The finish is long, smoky and dry. The smoke has now taken on a sooty and ashy character. Sweet wood spice and a touch of chocolate round it all off.

You may or may not take a fancy to the Lost Distillery Company’s approach to recreating long lost whiskies, however I find it hard to dispute that with their ‘Gerston’ expression they have put together a very fine product. I was and still am very impressed with this whisky – this is not a marketing stunt but nothing less than an exquisitely balanced blend! No surprise therefore that I am eagerly awaiting their next releases.

12 comments

@Victor
Victor commented

Sounds tasty, indeed, @Pierre_W. Thanks for your review.

What really impresses me about these attempts to recreate whiskies of the past (not just Scotch, but also products like Old Potrero rye) is that they seem to be motivated by a huge dose of artistic idealism, on the part of the producers and blenders. I expect that it is that idealistic drive which so very often tends to lead to very high quality results. These products are not the results from 'going through the motions' or 'same old, same old' work efforts. Their makers take them as objects of exquisite pride. It is just like sitting down to dinner at a fine restaurant and having the head chef/proprietor come to the table, lay aside the menu, and offer "to cook for you". It doesn't get better than that.

4 years ago 1Who liked this?

@Ol_Jas
Ol_Jas commented

This Gerston sounds great. I've seen these Lost Distillery bottles on occasion but I was never sure what to make of them. If I give one of them a whirl, I think it'll be the Gerston. (Binny's has this one plus two others.) Thanks for the review.

And I don't know nuthin' 'bout nuthin', but I suspect @Victor is right about the producers' attitudes. If it was just a marketing gimmick, they'd be imitating Malt Mill or something else that people have heard of, right? Who ever heard of Gerston before these bottles came out? Or Auchnagie? Maybe some folks, but not me. They're certainly not names with built-in audiences.

Fun stuff.

4 years ago 0

@Pierre_W
Pierre_W commented

Many thanks for your comments, @Victor and @OIJas. I do not doubt that these releases are the result of a labour of love. I had the opportunity to listen to a presentation of their brand ambassador during Whiskyships Zurich 2014, and it was a passionate speech, peppered with historical details of the distilleries in question and lots of information on the company's approach and philosophy. This is indeed fun stuff and all the more commendable as the end products are so very tasty. Highly recommended, I would say.

4 years ago 0

@Nock
Nock commented

Thanks for the review!

I just picked up a bottle while I was on vacation, and I am looking forward to comparing notes with yours.

I am really hopeful for a small idealistic company like the Anchor Distillery (which makes Old Potrero) to open up in Scotland committed to making single malt whisky in the 18th and 19th century style (local barley malted on site, coal fired stills, worm tubs, appropriate yeast strains, etc.). And I would be willing to buy it AS it was sold back in the 18th and 19th century like Old Potrero (which is fantastic by the way).

Until such an idealistic group of crazies with capital to burn emerges . . . this Gerston sounds like the closest thing to trying whiskies from the last whisky boom (aside from dropping thousands at an auction for a 100 year old whisky bottle that may or may not still be drinkable).

4 years ago 0

@Ol_Jas
Ol_Jas commented

So I'm putting together an online whisky order and Gerston was on my short list, largely due to my memory of this review and the conversation. So thanks again to @Pierre_W.

Ultimately, I bumped it down to my "maybe next time, if ever" list. Why? I compared it (in my mind--not in the glass) to Springbank 10. Springbank 10 = known quantity, high quality, age statement, and true modern-day embodiment of much that @Nock is talking about—all for $10 less than Gerston. Gerston is a fun question mark.

(Gerston also sounds more phenolic than Springbank, but peat's easy to come by.)

I think this Lost Distillery stuff is fun and I wish them well, but I think they need to either deliver more or charge less. That's me. I suspect they see their target market as anoraks who will buy all the bottles they find interesting "for the collection," rather than the bottles that offer the best value relative to their shelfmates.

4 years ago 0

@Pierre_W
Pierre_W commented

Well, @OlJas, I guess you are right. Gerston is indeed a fun experience, and perhaps nothing more than that. I would also say that it is expensive, especially if compared with something like Springbank 10yo, a single malt that btw I adore. So fully understand if you want to put this on the back burner. Gerston was actually the only bottle I bought from them, while I obtained samples for their other expressions. Let us know in case you should change your mind and put together some tasting notes. Cheers!

4 years ago 0

@Robert99
Robert99 commented

@Pierre_W Well done sir! Your review is spot on. I just opened my bottle of Gerston and my experience is very similar to yours. I don't get that much apple but I never refered to apple (except for young Tullamore Dew). On the other hand, I have chocolate from the beginning to the end although it is interwoven with the liquorice and maybe something just between prune and plum. The apricot is there but subdued as it doesn't want to stay in front. There is a slight herbal note on the nose and the palate as if there was a very small amount of Bruichladdich in it. There is also a trace of calcareous water. Finaly, I would add that the peat is an Highland peat for me even if the interplay with the vanilla makes me think of Ardbeg 10.

As you are saying, it is not a flashy one. The flavors are not bold but there is a good definition of them. Usually I sip my dram, but with this one I prefer not to gulp it but to take very wide sip as I get more salt and maybe some ginger that way for a better balance and then I go back to small sip to get more malt, fruit and chocolate. I think it will improve with air. Does it?

3 years ago 0

@Ol_Jas
Ol_Jas commented

K&L just marked this down to $48: klwines.com/Products/i/…

If I were doing a K&L mail order, I'd probably give it a whirl at that price.

3 years ago 0

@Pierre_W
Pierre_W commented

Hi @Robert99, many thanks for your comments and apologies for being somewhat late in replying to your post. Your tasting notes are quite detailed and I would love to see them incorporated into a review of your own. I was expecially intrigued by the calcareous water - don't remember that I got that flavour but I shall look out for it in other malts going forward. My bottle is gone in the meantime but I believe I remember that air did not add too much to this whisky, both in terms of quality and flavour panoply. Still, very impressive for a blended malt. Cheers!

3 years ago 0

@Robert99
Robert99 commented

@Pierre_W I missed your previous comment. Maybe I didn't pick the right words when I said Calcareous water. It's just that, for a moment, I thought of the smell of a cavern with stalagtites. Precisely, I thought of that white powder you then find on your hands because it is on all the rocks.

Thank you for the kind words, I will write a review of it next time I will take a glass. That may be tonight since talking about it made me curious about checking if my first impression was right. I will surely express that, yes, it is impressive for a blend.

Cheers!

3 years ago 0

@MadSingleMalt
MadSingleMalt commented

@Pierre_W and @Robert99: As I just mentioned elsewhere, I ran into this operation's sales rep today. He said the peated component of Gerston comes from the Orkneys. (He wouldn't say whether it was Highland Park or Scapa.) I see above that Robert99 pegged it as a Highland peat, which I suppose was in the right direction! So for anyone who's even wished for a more heavily peated version of Highland Park to get a fuller blast of that Orkey peat, this Gerston might be our answer.

Also, there's a mention of samples above. The other news I got from this sales rep fella is that they're planning to start offering a sample pack of all their lost distillery recreations. I think he said it'd be something along the lines of six 50-ml samples for like $30, which would be an easy breaker of the bottle ban for me. Take my money.

about one year ago 0

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