Lustau is a producer of sherry and related products based in the town of Jerez de la Frontera in the Sherry Triangle of Spain. Lustau was founded in 1896 by Don José Ruiz-Berdejo, a court secretary who owned a small estate called Nuestra Señora de la Esperanza. At his estate, Don José was an almencista - he made and aged wines, but sold them to larger companies for bottling and sale.
In 1940, his son in law, Don Emilio Lustau Ortega expanded the business, moving the bodega near the ancient city walls of Jerez. It wasn't until the 1970's that the modern Lustau company began to take shape, moving the company away from being an almencista and towards marketing the sherries they produced.
In 1990, Emilio Lustau was bought by the Luis Caballero group of companies, and in 2008, Lustau bought the rights to some famous sherry labels, among them La Ina, Botaina, Río Viejo and Viña 25. The agreement included nearly 4,000 barrels of sherry aging in solera, giving the Lustau company a wider range of sherries from which to blend.
Today, Lustau makes dozens of different bottlings of sherry, loosely grouped into four lines: a Solera range which encompasses their most common sherries, a La Ina range which uses the labels bought in 1990 to describe each type of sherry, an Almencista range which is sort of a reserve line, with small producers holding soleras that are bottled and sold by Lustau (these are more expensive than Lustau's regular line and are labelled with the name of the almencista), and an Aged range, which has their VOS and VORS bottlings, a vintage bottling of Oloroso, a special, 100th anniversary bottling of Pedro Ximinez.
Lustau also makes a unique type of sherry caled East India Solera. This is not a type of sherry, but rather a blend of dry Oloroso and sweet Pedro Ximinez that have gone through their individual soleras, then blended together and aged for three years in a 33 barrel solera dedicated to East India. It is meant to mimic the old, unintentional aging method where ships would carry barrels of sherry as cargo, and the heat and salt air would combine to make a complex, aromatic, rounded sherry.
East India Solera sherry is dark brown and slightly opaque, with a syrupy texture. It is lighter than most Pedro Ximinez sherries, with the oxidative dryness of Oloroso providing balance and backbone. It tastes of walnuts, furniture polish, and cane syrup. East India Solera Sherry is 40 proof.
Lustau also makes a brandy aged in used Oloroso barrels and a sherry vinegar, both of which are hard to find, but very good.
Some popular cocktails containing Lustau
- The Jimmy Graham — Irish whiskey, Bigallet China-China, Cynar, Oloroso sherry
- On the Night You Were Born — Rye, Sherry, Absinthe, Bitters
- Holy Smokes — Blended Scotch, Bénédictine, Palo Cortado Sherry, Bitters, Lemon peel
- El Molino — Mezcal, Palo Cortado Sherry, White Crème de Cacao, Allspice Dram
- Murder County — Bianco Vermouth, Palo Cortado Sherry, Reposado Tequila, Grapefruit bitters, Orgeat, Grapefruit peel