Loch Lomond distillery is situated in Alexandria and was built in 1966. The driving force behind it’s 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 being rescued in 1986 by the Glen Catrine Bonded Warehouses 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 which could be deployed to alter the flavour profile of the spirit. These were joined in the 80’s by a set of Column Stills for making grain whisky as well as a pair of traditional Pot Stills. This combination of still designs can be combined to create up to 8 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 and began to release a staggering number of Loch Lomond-made single 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 connoisseurs – 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 while wisely, there is a focus on highlighting 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. A very good sign.
Smell: The nose is Fruity and Nutty – 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 around £50. Offering something a little different from a standard single malt.
Score: 44 / 50.
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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