Loch Lomond is a bit of an odd one out when it comes to distilleries. And that is mainly because of the rather strange set-up of stills, or well, especially the number of different types of stills.
Over the years the distillery has added various types of stills, eventually resulting in 11 stills of 4 different kinds. At the moment they have 3 pairs of straight neck stills (also called Lomond stills) and a pair of the traditional swan neck pot stills in use. But since they also produce grain whisky, there are also two continuous stills and a Coffey still. A rather unusual bunch of stills you might say, but one that gives Loch Lomond the ability to produce as many as 8 different types of whisky. And that makes me very curious about this distillery.
So for today, I have quite a few to review, and that will be 6 releases from the core range of the distillery. All different whiskies and therefore a nice introduction to what Loch Lomond has to offer.
Loch Lomond Single Grain Peated Whisky is made exclusively from heavily peated malted barley in the malt room at the Loch Lomond Distillery.
First up is a peated single grain whisky which is made from heavily peated malted barley which has been distilled in the Coffey still. It has matured in 1st fill and refill bourbon casks and is bottled at 46% ABV.
Loch Lomond Peated Single Grain tasting notes:
Nose: peat at first which is slightly medicinal it seems, leaning towards bandages and a touch of iodine. Fresh lemons and unripe pears. A hint of vanilla. It’s a little bit grassy at some point too. Gooseberries. A touch of icing sugar and a pinch of cinnamon.
Taste: peat on the arrival. Some sweetness, but also heather. Vanilla and a note of lemongrass. A hint of peach. Apples and those unripe pears again. A touch of white pepper.
Finish: the finish is a bit on the short side with mainly smoke and a layer of sweetness.
For the observant reader: it is of course not really a grain whisky because it’s made from barley. But because it’s distilled in a Coffey still, the SWA doesn’t allow it to be called a single malt.
It’s quite an unusual peated whisky, but it’s only ok. Somewhat on the spirit-like side too. Definitely interesting to taste once, but I wouldn’t buy a bottle of this myself.
This Loch Lomond has matured in bourbon, refill and re-charred casks and is bottled at 46% ABV.
Loch Lomond 12 year old tasting notes:
Nose: a faint tropical note at first that disappears rather quickly. This is followed by oats and barley. Then overripe pears. A hint of caramel fudge and a touch of marzipan. A light smoky note. Strawberry candies and peach.
Taste: also a faint hint of smoke here. Peach. Oats again and also honey. Caramel fudge again. Milk chocolate. A hint of oranges. Overripe pears too. A touch of white pepper.
Finish: mid-long and quite sweet, almost sugary with lots of sweet honey, white sugar but also a faint hint of peach.
A nice dram, although sometimes it is just a little too sweet for me. Especially in the finish.
This Inchmurrin has matured in bourbon, refill and re-charred casks. Also bottled at 46% ABV.
Inchmurrin 12 year old tasting notes:
Nose: Quite fruity straight away. Red apples, sweet pears and peach. A very faint hint of nutmeg and cinnamon, but it’s there. Then a lemon note. A drop of honey and caramel fudge.
Taste: also rather fruity, with peach again, but also oranges here. A hint of creamy vanilla. Caramel fudge. Honey as well. A touch of black pepper.
Finish: short to mid-long with caramel, a hint of toffee and black pepper here too.
Now, this is more to my liking. The nose is wonderfully fruity and this Inchmurrin feels older than the Loch Lomond 12 (which it is not of course), as it seems less malty. It also has a nice creamy mouthfeel and well balanced too.
This Inchmoan has matured in American Oak casks and bottled at 46% ABV.
Inchmoan 12 year old tasting notes:
Nose: smoke and a faint cheese note. Then a farmyard smell. A drop of honey and vanilla. Lemons in the back. And a mineral note. A hint of pine needles. Cinnamon and a whiff of liquorice. Black pepper too.
Taste: more smoke here and also quite spicy. Minerals, but also iodine. Followed by a hint of milk chocolate and toffee. Anise seeds. Black crushed peppercorns, a good pinch of cinnamon and cloves.
Finish: short to mid-long. Caramel, black peppercorns and cinnamon. Smoke here as well.
A ‘dirty’dram this one! But rather tasty with some lovely peat notes. So far my favourite.
This Loch Lomond was finished in Limousin French Oak and is bottled at 46% ABV.
Loch Lomond 14 year old tasting notes:
Nose: This one is a bit restrained at first. Then it becomes somewhat fruity, with notes of oranges and dried plums. A hint of apricots too. There’s a wood note in the back, which is followed by cinnamon. Later also vanilla.
Taste: quite some caramel. Toffee. Apples. Honey sweetness. A hint of tropical fruits. Grapefruit. Quite some cinnamon here, cloves and a pinch of black pepper. A light oak note.
Finish: short to mid-long, a bit dry and one-dimensional. Bitter. Cinnamon. Caramel. Black pepper and oak.
When the nose opens a little more, beautiful tones appear. The nose is quite fruity, which is slightly less in the taste where the spices take over. However, I do not like the finish, it is quite bitter and has too many woody notes. That’s a pity. But all in all not a bad dram at all.
This Loch Lomond has matured in American Oak and is bottled at 46% ABV.
Loch Lomond 21 year old tasting notes:
Nose: slightly oaky with vanilla. But there are fruits too, like peach and tinned apricots, but also pears. A drop of honey. A whiff of hay. Followed by pine needles and coconut. Anise seeds.
Taste: thinner than expected. There’s plenty of liquorice here at first. Caramel fudge. A hint of peach again, red apples. A touch of oak and spices, such as a hint of black pepper, cloves and cinnamon.
Finish: short to mid-long, slightly bitter. Oak and liquorice. Anise seeds.
Not bad at all, but just expected a little more of it. Especially since it’s 21 years old. Somewhat thin in the taste for 46%. And a little too much oak for me.
Samples provided by De Monnik Dranken.