Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Review / Loch Lomond Distillery Edition 9 years old

The Loch Lomond distillery has launched a new series of whiskies that will see it work with like-minded artisan creators to bring new people into the world of whisky. The Remarkable Makers campaign has started with a collaboration with London-based craft bakery chain Bread Ahead and is inspired by the role that yeast plays in both whisky and bread making. The series will feature a series of single cask Distillery Editions with the inaugural release being a 9-year old that was fermented using Chardonnay wine yeast. In return, Bread Ahead have used the same yeast to create a range of limited edition breads.

The Loch Lomond distillery was founded in 1965 by the Littlemill Distillery Company Ltd. After almost 20 years of production it closed between 1984 and 1987 following a takeover by the Glen Catrine Bonded Warehouse Ltd. The current owners are the Loch Lomond Group, who also own Glen Scotia in Campbeltown. The distillery is unusual in that it has straight-necked and traditional swan-necked stills. They also produce unpeated and peated single malt, plus single grain whisky through these stills. The annual capacity is five million litres.
"At Loch Lomond we are fuelled by an eternal spirit of exploration and are always seeking to experiment with what is possible. Very few distilleries use chardonnay wine yeast in the fermentation process. The result is an exceptional single malt characterised by a distinctive zesty flavour." 
Michael Henry / Master Blender at Loch Lomond.

The Loch Lomond Distillery Edition 9 years old was distilled in 2010 and the single American oak cask has yielded just 270 bottles. This was selected by Michael Henry, the Master Blender at Loch Lomond. It was bottled in 2020 and due for release then, but was held back due to the global Covid pandemic. The whisky is presented at the natural cask strength of 57.1% ABV and will be available in selected world markets. A bottle will cost £65.

Our tasting notes

The colour is pale lemon yellow and the nose is packed full of zesty citrus and vanilla aromas. These are complimented by further aromas of green apricot, Victoria sponge cake, stewed apples and a pinch of icing sugar. Underneath are hints of robust esters, white chocolate and a fresh herbal grassiness. 

On the palate this whisky is initially sweet, yeasty and vibrant. Sugar syrup, apricot jam and a hint of runny honey rise first and are quickly joined by the lemon characteristic from the nose. This is zingy and zesty with a suggestion of lemon curd and lemon sherbet. The yeast adds a delicious creaminess to the whisky and also a note of fresh, crisp green fruit (think of apple and pear).

Hovering underneath these expressive notes are more subtle ones. These include delicate herbal grasses and a hint of bittersweet cereal grains. There is also a suggestion of white chocolate, cocoa powder and a decent pinch of baking spice - imagine cinnamon, clove and white pepper especially. The combination creates a superbly heady mix.

The finish is of decent length and becomes a little hot and spicy towards the end. This is particularly true once the sweet and fruity elements have faded. A drying oaky quality also appears late on. This and the zesty lemon notes maintain the vibrancy and zingy freshness very nicely.

What's the verdict?

This is a stunning whisky from Loch Lomond, a distillery that we have not sampled much from in the past. The lightness, vibrancy and freshness are envigorating and the balance of sweet, citrus and spicy charcateristics are superbly integrated. Bottles of this are scarce but it is definitely worth searching out, especially at the price of £65. 

The Chardonnay wine yeast has added a quirky aspect and makes us wonder why more distilleries do not use it more regularly. This Distillery Edition 9 years old makes us want to taste more from Loch Lomond now, which we hope to do before too long.

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