Lost Spirits is one of my favorite American craft distilleries. Master distiller Bryan Davis is a chemistry genius and loves to experiment and continuously push the envelope with his spirits. Umami is the newest creation from Lost Spirits and one of the few whiskies released since their temporary closure at the end of 2013 due to TCA clean-up. This whisky is peated to 100+ PPM with Canadian peat and matured in sherry seasons French oak. The whisky is likely between three and four years old, however the actual age of the spirit is not disclosed. The newest twist to this whisky is the use of salt water during fermentation in an effort to add a briny ocean flavor. Read more about the process in this in-depth interview with Bryan Davis. As with all of their whiskies Umami is bottled at cask strength, 59% ABV in this case. This is the inaugural release of Umami which is expected to be a permanent expression of the Lost Spirits range.
Nose: briny, peat, citrus, caramel, hidden fruitiness
Mouth: white pepper, lemons, salty, honey sweetness, peat
Finish: peppery, salty, lemons, honey jam, smoky
Verdict: Lost Spirits’ signature peaty scent dominates the nose. The peat must have come from a bog with loads of decomposed spaghnum moss. Once you get past the peat there’s ocean brine, citrus, caramel and some fruitiness. I’m transported to a wooded area bordering the ocean and definitely smell that freshness on the nose. On the palate the peat is masked by lemons and honey sweetness. There’s also quite a bit of white pepper and sea salt. The finish is peppery with lingering lemon and honey jam notes. There’s quite a bit of smoke on the finish as well which is nice after a steak dinner or a bbq. I like the direction Lost Spirits is going with their whisky – Umami is much more accessible than their previous releases which were very niche. The addition of salt water during the fermentation process has added a citrus character to their whisky in addition to saltiness. The unique peatiness will be off-putting to some, but I happen to enjoy it. At $60 a bottle you’ll be hard pressed to find better value for cask strength whisky. Also, it’s hard not to root for a craft distillery based in the US who is trying to innovate American single malt whisky.