2 Abominations Side-By-Side

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I don’t even know how the hell to classify these. They’re whiskies by broad definition, out of a Californian distillery called Lost Spirits Distillery, known for distilling rums and malts, but these two whiskies were not distilled there, they were distilled on Islay, in Scotland. But that’s the less confusing part. The real kicker comes with the maturation.

These were traditionally aged in oak for 12-18 months and then unconventionally matured for a further week. A week you say?! That’s not a usual time frame when talking about whisky maturation. Lost Spirits have this thingamajig called a Reactor. It basically matures spirits in the frame of about a week to a point that would take about 15 years using traditional casking. Hence the name. Flavour is then added using oak staves.

They have a really impressive website set up explaining their technology with links to white papers on the topic if you really want to geek out (https://www.lostspiritstech.net/home).

I was really curious when I heard about these and when one of the guys in my whisky club managed to arrange a bottle share I was in. They’re both made from the same base spirit and “matured” with staves of American oak seasoned with late harvest Reisling, but for one, “The Crying of the Puma” , they used heavily toasted staves, and the other, “The Sayers of the Law” they used heavily charred staves. There’s quite a bit of info online about the differences charring and toasting levels of wood have on flavour, but the briefest summary would be toasting tends to create more spicey, light flavours and charring makes sweeter, darker flavours.


Abomination – The Crying of the Puma

Aged 7 days. 54% ABV. Matured 12-18 months in oak and for 7 days in The Reactor with toasted late harvest Riesling seasoned oak staves. No colourant added, non-chill filtered and bottled at cask (?) strength.

Nose: Dunnage. Vegetal peat. Malt. Wet leather. Plums. Dried figs. Peanut brittle. Permanent marker. Slight hints of iodine and ozone.

Palate: Very aggressive. Quite waxy and chewy. Chew tobacco. Bitter wood tannins galore. More vegetal peat. Black tea. Currants.

Finish: Long. Vegetal peat. Wet leaf piles. Dank cellars. Bitter fruit.

Would I buy this: No

Would I order this in a bar: Yes

Would I drink this if someone gave me a glass: Yes

VFM: N/A


Abomination – The Sayers of the Law

Aged 7 days. 54% ABV. Matured 12-18 months in oak and for 7 days in The Reactor with charred late harvest Riesling seasoned oak staves. No colourant added, non-chill filtered and bottled at cask (?) strength.

Nose: Braised beef. Plum sauce. Wood smoke. Permanent marker. Slight acetone. Brine. Grape flavouring.

Palate: Smokey, dark maple syrup. Ash. Dry leaves. White pepper. Bitter coffee. Treacle.

Finish: Long. Chemical smoke. Capsicum. Chalk dust. Charcoal. Slight cough syrupy menthol.

Would I buy this: Yes

Would I order this in a bar: Yes

Would I drink this if someone gave me a glass: Yes

VFM: N/A


I was expecting something quite vile, as my experience with craft spirits, particularly American craft spirits, has not been very pleasant, but these were both really enjoyable. They were not exactly like a traditional peated Scotch, but they were very interesting and packed with delicious flavour.

The Crying of the Puma was the more complex of the two but the heavier, richer flavours of the Sayers of the Law were more appealing to my personal tastes.

It’s really exciting that these were so successful as they show the potential influence technology can have on the spirits industry, especially now during the whisky bubble where the demand for well matured spirits outweighs the capacity for production. Can’t wait to see how this progresses.

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2 thoughts on “2 Abominations Side-By-Side

  1. I tried ’em both during my last trip to the island of Helgoland, but the free sips I got at the liquor store were almost too small to form a sound opinion. So I will wait with my judgement until I had the chance to drink a full dram of each. In general, I find such approaches quite interesting and am always up for trying something out of the ordinary. I don’t think that this technology will ever replace traditional maturation though as a lot of the “magic” happens in our heads. On the one hand, the mere thought that the liquid we are about savor spent the last decade (!) in the cask is quite awe-inspiring… and in this example, we are not even talking about a whisky that is particularly old. On the other hand, the idea that something was being filtered by a machine for a few days does not have much of a mythic quality at all. Still, I find it rather fascinating that people are innovating in this field and I am very eager to give the two Abominations a proper try. From what I remember, I found them pretty nice when I briefly sipped them.

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    1. I agree that the magic of traditional craft and maturation is part of the experience, but with the whisky market the way it is, well-matured whiskies are becoming almost unobtainable, and this is a really creative and effective solution. Let me know what you think when you get to try them properly.

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