Loch Lomond is not your average Scotch distillery. Nestled in the far southwest corner of the Highlands, near the famously scenic loch (lake, for you non-Scots) of the same name, the distillery uses a combination of uniquely configured pot and column stills to produce as many as 11 different distillates, including grain whiskies. We got a fleeting taste of the distillery when they arrived stateside in 2016, but we were only just scratching the surface. Today, we’re finally digging deeper on the broad Loch Lomond portfolio with a look at their flagship single malt and a recent limited edition offering. Thoughts follow.
Loch Lomond Original Single Malt – Produced from a combination of spirit distilled on Loch Lomond’s straight neck stills and traditional swan necks and aged in three different types of oak: ex-bourbon, refill, and re-charred. The nose is straightforward but not without its charms. Barley sugar and subtle wood smoke underpin brighter high tones of apple slices and lemon cookies. The palate is round with a surprisingly hefty body for an entry level offering. Early notes of tinned pears and Honey Grahams give way to quite a bit of lively baking spice and vanilla bean before eroding rather abruptly into warming notes of custard, orange zest, and a bit of sharp oak. A pleasant daily sipper or mixer. As “Original” expressions go in the whisky world, you can do a whole lot worse. 80 proof. B+ / $45 [BUY IT NOW FROM RESERVEBAR]
Loch Lomond The Open Special Edition 2023 – Crafted in celebration of the 151st Open golf tournament at Royal Liverpool, this single malt was drawn from a “range of casks” and finished in Spanish Rioja Alta Reserva casks for an unspecified period of time. The Rioja casks have had quite an impact on the aroma, layering berry compote and rosehip atop the foundational orchard fruits and honeyed malts. It’s not quite as sweet as the Original and showcases more depth and character. The palate continues the trend with top notes of sugared raspberries and blackberry cobbler. The dark fruits never relent, but the midpalate offers up some contrasting cocoa and torched sugar notes before a lingering, warming finish of vanilla bean and dark berry jam. Fans of big, wine-finished single malt will have a hard time finding a better value for their everyday dram. 92 proof. A- / $40