New Kids On The Loch

‘New Kids On The Loch’ – a fabulous title for a [now sold out] tasting from Ben Bower’s Spirit Specialist, I couldn’t resist stealing. Forgive me.

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There are simply too many new distilleries for me to keep my eye on, but I’m told Lochlea from Ayrshire is worth checking out – so here goes.

Lochlea Sowing Edition [2022] Ob. First Crop [7000 bts] 48% WB84.71[19]

  • N,T,F: The nose is very fine, smelling more potent than it tastes. On the palate, it’s uber-relaxed, perhaps even more so than Chorlton’s fabulous 1996 10yo Ben Nevis [WB], that I have alongside. Soft clean conclusion.
  • C: A[nother] very good 3yo on par with Lindores 1494 [WLP82].

Scores 82 points [5/10]

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Heading just up the road now to Glasgow. For those who didn’t hear the recent news: ‘Glasgow Distillery to move from 50cl to 70cl whisky bottles at no extra cost‘ [dailyrecord].

Glasgow Distillery 1770 Peated [2021] Ob. Rich & Smoky 46% [50cl] WB84.63[128]

Matured in virgin oak and finished in PX casks, I manage to grab the last dram of the bottle which has proved [rightly] popular at Cut Your Wolf Loose.

  • C: Presenting itself commendably on the nose and arrival, we’ve a well-tempered/commendably managed peat & sherry combo. Sure it’s youthful but there’s no juvenility. Works a treat with water too. Finishing clean if not clinical and with an aromatic pepperiness throughout, I find this a solid ‘jobbing’ work in progress malt. Recommended.

Scores 83 points [6/10]

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Annandale 2015/2020 06yo Best Dram Single Cask #571 [241] bts 57.1% WB85[10]

Peated Annandale with a 1st-fill sauternes finish. My mantra is, when sauternes is good, it’s good. Which is it to be?

  • N/T/F: Smoky bananas over a clean arrival, what’s not to like? Not a great deal of action henceforth, but it’s very competent overall and nothing is out of sorts to my palate. The sweetness works well with Annandale’s crisp citrusy sour spirit.
  • C: The first independently bottled Annandale I’ve had [though I see there are now quite a few], and the best Annandale I’ve had to date.

Scores 83 points [6/10]

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Ardnamurchan 2014~15/2021 06yo Ob. AD/04.21:3 Release #3 [17502 bts] 46.8% WB85.47[176]

  • N: I actually had this after two fabulous bruisers [WLP] the other week. Silly me, this one’s like chalk & cheese in comparison to those heavily peated winey heavyweights.
  • T: [Belgium]-beer-like arrival, particularly Lindores-esque [WLP182 WLP282] with a regular [smooth] delivery & development. Remaining wash/beer-like, we’ve a hint of linseed oil~brine/aniseed candy string with tannic barley sugar sour-sweetness on the turn.
  • F: Remains on its steady yeasty-ish beer-like slightly bubblegum-ey chewy trajectory with compressed spikes [ups & downs] to the finish.
  • C: ‘Relativity is everything’, someone once said. Whilst this particular one isn’t my favourite, Arnamurchan distillery remains surefire.

Scores 82 points [5/10]

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We’ll wrap this session up with two [partially] undisclosed single malts from newly formed independent bottler, Scotch Universe. Without any content on the website [at time of writing], I discovered Endol lists a company called Scotch Universe as changing its business name to Brave New Spirits nine months ago. Registered in the UK [England and Glasgow], most of its bottles seem to end up in Germany. The bottler provides a coding system to guide enthusiasts to work out where the whisky might have come from. If you think the SWMS system is frustrating, check this out:

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Delta Cephei II 2013/2021 100° U.7.1′ 1852.2 Scotch Universe Speyside Single Malt 1st-fill Ruby Port Wine Barrique 56.2% WB84.91[26]

Turns out it’s a Dailuaine – so just say it’s that, or am I being a stick in the mud? It’s a quiz on a bottle. I like quizzes!

  • N: I was after a wee dessert dram and I’ve found one. Starting off well, it improves from there becoming stickier as it goes.
  • T&F: The ruby port works beyond the [painting by] numbers, something Scotch Universe seems to have a talent for – especially with the sweet and smoky profiles. 
  • C: A clever pleasure. It won’t change the world though it’s a complete package.

Scores 83 points [6/10]

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Castor I 2009/2018 Scotch Universe 105° HP.1.1′ 1966.1 54% WB85.18[24] W-C

From Loch Lomond, this known Croftengea is credited with 1st-fill American bourbon hogshead maturation.

  • N: Looking for a phenolic number to finish, I buy this dram on the back of a strong recommendation from [CYWL’s] Viv. Feverishly passing it round between them, three fellow Swaggers are instantly raving about it. All three have smelt it, and two have tried it. Eventually, I get a look in. We are talking instant maltoporn. It’s all the peats! Mentioned/referenced are Caol Ila, Highland Park, Talisker, Ardmore – the smoky [not sugary] sweet meaty qualities, particularly appealing.
  • T: To taste, we’ve a softer more relaxed/compressed version of the nose, though the intricacies and complexities remain,…to be tapped.
  • F: More of those smoky sticky-sweet meats with a slightly fizzy effervescence,.. creme cakes,….
  • C: I’ve been incredibly restrained. I could have written a mini-essay. You can almost forget notes when people’s involuntary reactions tell you so much. It’s a dram I instantly want another of.

Scores 89 points [8/10]

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END

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