Reviews of affordable whiskies with some entertaining tales along the way…
Croftengea is the name given to one of the many spirit varieties produced at Loch Lomond Distillery. Thanks to a selection of different stills, including pot, Lomond and column, the distillery can produce 11 different new make spirits, some peated, some not. Croftengea is the most heavily peated spirit produced onsite. Official single malt bottlings are largely non-existent, however, with indie bottlers offering the best chance to sample this unique and interesting malt.
This is part four of a week-long series looking at some recent single cask releases from independent bottler, Single Cask Nation.
For part one of this series (Longmorn) visit here
For part two of this series (Linkwood) visit here
For part three of this series (Mackmyra) visit here
Loch Lomond Croftengea 18-year-old Single Malt
*Full disclosure: the sample featured in this review was sent to me free of charge. As always, I will strive to give an honest opinion on the quality of the dram and the value for money it represents.
This is an 18-year-old malt, aged in a second-fill bourbon barrel and bottled at 50.6% abv.
Smell: Some interesting citrus and peach notes mingle with barley and straw. Lemon air freshener. Grist. Muesli. Dry grass – burning. Grass and wood smoke. Like someone burning their garden trimmings. It’s almost farm-y. That said, you wouldn’t necessarily call this a peat monster – after 18 years the smoke has gained some distance.
Taste: Fruity arrival with apple, orange and lemon, morphing into honey and toffee with some gentle wood spice. As it passes the mid-palate, things become increasingly peppery and ash and smoke begin to make their presence felt. There’s a flash of young-ish oak just before a finish with a dry smokiness.
Thoughts: The second fill bourbon cask has had only the lightest of touches and it’s the spirit character that really shines through. In some ways, it feels younger than its 18 years and it has quite a distinctive character that may be off-putting to some. There are some hidden depths, however, no doubt as a result of the lengthy time in the cask, that elevate the experience. You get little unusual notes popping up that you just don’t find in young peated whiskies. As a big fan of peated malt, I enjoyed encountering something a little bit different here and that will likely be its audience – smoke heads looking for something new.
Price: £103. It’s not what you would call bargain-friendly but it also isn’t crazy money for an 18-year-old. I also have a feeling that it’s a dram that would reward new meetings with hitherto undiscovered layers. An intriguing curiosity.
For more on Single Cask Nation visit https://singlecasknation.com/