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Loch Lomond distillery is situated in Alexandria and was built in 1966. The driving force behind its construction was a partnership between the owners of the derelict Littlemill Distillery in Bowling and a Chicago based spirits company called Barton Brands who went on to take full ownership in 1971.
The distillery ceased production for a time in 1984 and remained silent until it was rescued in 1986 by the Glen Catrine Bonded Warehouse company. Production resumed the following year and new stills were added that transformed the facility into what remains today, arguably the most versatile and innovative distillery in the country.
The original pot stills contained a rectifying plate system that could be deployed in different ways to alter the flavour profile of the spirit. These were joined in the ’80s by a set of Column Stills for making grain whisky and a new pair of traditional pot stills. This array of stills can be combined to create up to 11 different kinds of new make spirit. A remarkable amount for any single distillery.
The owners added Campbeltown distillery, Glen Scotia to their empire in 1994. By then they were producing a staggering number of Loch Lomond-made malts under names like Craiglodge, Croftengea, Glen Douglas, Inchfad, Inchmoan, Inchmurrin, Old Rhosdhu and The Glengarry. Despite this massive portfolio of releases, quality was perhaps not always as high as it could have been and Loch Lomond became rather poorly appreciated amongst whisky lovers. It was a sad state of affairs for a distillery with such obvious potential.
Today, however, things are looking up. New owners came along in 2014 and the whole range has been rebranded and relaunched. There are now two main brands, Loch Lomond and Inchmurrin. With them has come a focus on the potential experimentation that is within the grasp of the Lomond distillers and a desire to play with different cask types and finishes. In addition, the new range is bottled at 46% abv and the use of chill-filtering and caramel colouring is avoided as a rule.
Smell: The nose is fruity and nutty. There’s raspberry and strawberry with raisins, plum and then almond, walnut and oak.
Taste: Spicy chilli and nutmeg. Berries, raisins, sultanas and salted peanuts.
Value for Money: A decent buy at £50. It offers something a wee bit different the standard single malt bottlings.
An interesting and richly flavoured dram that shows things are drastically changing for the better at Loch Lomond. This is a distillery very much on the up.
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