Whiskey Review: Lost Lantern Single Cask #8 Balcones Straight Bourbon

, | August 13, 2021

Editor’s Note: This whiskey was provided to us as a review sample by Lost Lantern. This in no way, per our editorial policies, influenced the final outcome of this review. It should also be noted that by clicking the buy link towards the bottom of this review our site receives a small referral payment which helps to support, but not influence, our editorial and other costs.

Texas isn’t exactly the whiskey capital of America. Which is a shame, really, because they have a lot to offer and have grown substantially in the last decade. A unique climate and varying natural elements (water, grain, etc.) will always make a product that varies from what we may call “the norm.”

And Balcones Distilling has never been about “the norm.” They were one of the first whiskey distilleries in the state of Texas, and the first there to create a single malt whiskey. Scotland serves as an inspiration to them in this effort, with distillery manager Tommy Mote stating that they are not so much trying to recreate the single malt wheel as “trying to create something that’s consistent with the international understanding of a Scottish single malt, or an Irish single malt, but taking that and making an American single malt.” They even spell whisky without the “e,” in Scottish tradition.

But this bottle spells whiskey with the “e.” Because this is not just a Balcones expression. Instead, it’s released by independent bottler Lost Lantern. Lost Lantern is a two-person operation based off of the independent bottling that is traditional in Scotland. However, they’re keeping it strictly American. It seems that they share some inspiration with Balcones.

The two-person operation consists of Nora Ganley-Roper and Adam Polonski, Production & Operations Czar and Whiskey Cask Hunter respectively. Their goal is to bring big attention to small whiskey brands with the tagline and mission of “Shining a light on the independent spirit.” 

Ganley-Roper and Polonski ensure the personal touch in their bottles by not only carefully tasting everything they release, but by visiting every single distillery. Balcones is no exception. Regarding Balcones, they call them “a true pioneer” and state that “we are always excited to work with them.” 

This is not the only Lost Lantern release with Balcones. The bottler also creates their own blends – and is very clear about the contents. Their American Vatted Malt Edition No. 1 (reviewed here) contains two barrels of Balcones Single Malt Whiskey. 

This bottle, of course, is bourbon. It’s very different from Balcones’ best-known product, their Single Malt, or their Brimstone, which was my (rather jarring) introduction to the brand. I have to say this bottle is more to my personal taste than either. It carries that intensity that is so intrinsic to Balcones, and I can completely understand why Lost Lantern would choose this one.

Lost Lantern Single Cask # 8 Balcones Bourbon (image via Lost Lantern)

Lost Lantern Single Cask # 8 Balcones Bourbon (image via Lost Lantern)


Tasting Notes: Lost Lantern Single Cask #8: Balcones Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Vital Stats: 126.8 proof, 63.4% ABV, mash bill 100% Texas-grown Roasted Blue Corn. Aged two years in 60-gallon new American oak cask, single cask, limited 199 bottle release, 750ml, $85.

Appearance: Dark, translucent amber with a ruby glow. Scattered, quick legs.

Nose: Strong and heady, sweet red beans go back and forth with corn syrup and oak. 

Palate: Thick, and starts very even and well balanced with a strong flavor of brown sugar syrup. As you drink, the sweetness lightens and increases with some of the cloyingness of corn, bringing forth notes of burnt marshmallow and strong almond extract. Long finish. 

The Takeaway


This becomes a wildly different whiskey as you drink it. The first sip was dark and even all the way through. While there was definitely sweetness was present, it wasn’t sugary. It then both lightens in taste and heats up as you go, getting sweeter all the while. I felt that some of that middle, cloying sweetness was a bit much, but I liked the heat and intensity of flavors in this expression.

User Review
4 (1 vote)


Talia Gragg

Talia is part of the Portland service industry community, and an alumna of the Multnomah Whiskey Library. She’s an avid spirit and cocktail enthusiast, and likes to experience them both academically and recreationally. When not sipping whiskey she’s a ceramic artist and lover of travel.