Right up until 2014, Loch Lomond was the only Scottish [Bulloch] family owned distillery with its own cooperage. That is until Exponent Private Equity [who own Quorn foods], bought Loch Lomond & Glen Scotia distilleries in the same year, both of which make up part the Loch Lomond Group portfolio. The closed distillery Littlemill is also included within.
At one time, the Loch Lomond Distillery Company [under Bulloch family control], was the second-largest family-owned Scotch whisky producer in Scotland.
Loch Lomond is currently one of only four distilleries in Scotland that has its own cooperage on site. Can you name the other three? [Answers below].
Both Loch Lomond & Glen Scotia have seen some excellent rebranding/repackaging in the last few years. All the bottles in their core range are bottled at 46% or above. Lets start with three from Glen Scotia.
- N: Calum tells us this is around six years old, having spent virtually all that time in first-fill US bourbon before a six month finish in second refill [PX] sherry. What this boils down to is a sweet/pungent complex with concentrated fig sugars and the like.
- T: More of that pungent/concentrated sweetness, yet its never sickly.
- F: Carries on along similar lines, finishing sweet-dry.
- C: A good whisky if a little vague.
Scores 80 points
Similar make-up as the previous ‘Double cask’ – all-bourbon with a six month second refill sherry finish, though I believe there are bourbon refills used here also.
- N: Refreshingly gentle & rather different from any contemporary whisky on the market right now. Sweet saline with an odd tadpole note [sure I’ve noted this before somewhere], a little heathery smokiness and a gentle aniseed funk.
- T: A light & gentle oak character sadly under-represented these days – 15+ years of relaxed oak/refill joy.
- F: Oaky, vanilla ice cream with the most desirable mild creamy sweetness without any ADHD antics, and again with that oak character that suggests there’s more than 15 years of [patient] maturation here. The finish gets better and better. Everything is delivered to the front of mouth as Ibon [Mendiguren] so rightly points out.
- C: ‘The Foz’ comes out with another epic sound bite: ‘Benromach without the kick in the knee’. Its a ‘close’ experience. A really tasty and refreshingly different whisky to anything ive tried at Whiskylive 2017 this weekend. Theres no fragility here though the softness is its charm. I imagine it doesnt take too kindly to water. Fortunately for me, it was just right neat. And as for the tadpole reference, it was a note from that weird Glenalough WB – who hasn’t eaten a tadpole or two in their time?
Scores 86 points
We’re trying the flight this way round on grounds of the abv.
- N: A finish was administered here too because of the heavy char, but im not getting much of that up front. Here we have a far more obvious sherry element, more in keeping with the Double Cask than the 15yo. Despite the cask influence the distillate remains clear despite the sweet sherry distractions.
- T: Fruity soft funk with more boldness compared to the 15yo, yet still its softy presented.
- F: Rounded. Char appears very low. Really, is that down to the finish?
- C: I prefer the subtler 15yo though i find this almost as good. Thoughtful sherry percentage.
Scores 85 points
Onto the Lomonds
The grain used here is malted barley but because it’s distilled in those hybrid coffee stills, they cant legally [SWA] call this anything else but single grain – even though the grain is malted barley. Clear?
- N: Smells good for a very young grain spirit as it turns out. Noses like a vanilla-led bourbon which is apt.
- T: Accessible salted barley with a soft, citrus acidity.
- F: Greenish vanilla finish.
- C: Amazingly it’s only 3-4 years old but performing just fine. Using new & first-fill casks to speed up the process, is this the Kavalan of single grain? I much prefer it to the MM 1996 WB version for sure. [£20 May ’17]
Scores 78 points
[Loch Lomond] Inchmurrin Madeira NAS Ob. Island Collection 46% WB81.64
- C: Though the tropical funk is not quite right [to my taste], this is one of the better Madeira finishes that i can remember – and [unlike a certain Welsh version], one that clearly works well with the spirit.
Scores 83 points
[Loch Lomond] Inchmurrin 12yo Ob. Island Collection 46% WB83.93
- N: After the Madeira NAS, this is a wholly different beast and far creamier.
- T: The fruity funk comes from the high copper contact, and comes with a lightness.
- F: Finishes big & brash. The char brings smoke. Becomes ruddy.
- C: Really different – a ‘hybrid’ indeed.
Scores 83 points
Loch Lomond 12yo Ob. 46% WB80.78
12-15 ppm. All-American oak casks.
- N: More ‘typical’, and yet not. Im liking the toasted notes.
- T: Interesting character [again], with a subtle funk.
- F: All [vanilla] goes to the back of the palate. Dry oaky finish, tiny smoke.
- C: I don’t mind this at all.
Scores 82 points
Loch Lomond 18yo Ob. 46% WB80.56
And again, all-American oak.
- N: So far im liking the bigger maturation presence compared to the younger 12yo.
- T: Heathery, peppery malt.
- F: Short. Creamy, dry citrus.
- C: Overall I prefer the 12yo, but its the Glen Scotia 15yo that romps home to victory in todays flight of fancy.
Scores 81 points
Other distilleries in Scotland that have their own cooperage on site:
- Cambus [built in 2011]