Tag Archive: Loch Lomond

Loch Lomond: 18 Year (Scottish Highland Single Malt Whisky: 18 Year: 46% ABV)

Visual: Bronzed gold. Slow, thick streaks from the spirit.

Nose: Alcohol air. Dark fruit. Blueberry. Twigs. Vanilla. Raisins. Caramelised brown sugar. Water adds menthol and gooseberries.

Body: Very smooth. Blueberries. Raisins. Light alcohol taste. Small red berries. Moss. Dried teabags and tannins. Water adds apricot syrup. Oak. Custard slices.

Finish: Moss. Charred oak. Light alcohol air. Malt chocolate. Slight sour toffee. Teabags. Water adds fudge. Tart grapes. Lightly metallic.

Conclusion: This feels like it is aiming to take Loch Lomond on the same sort of spirit journey that the more prestigious distilleries such as Glenfiddich and Glenlivet do with their 18 years. You know, the ones where they emphasise the dark fruit a bit more, make the main whisky very smooth, that kind of thing. Now, those famous whiskies aren’t perfect in my opinion, but still this one feels like it isn’t really reaching their level.

Now let’s look at what it does have. It has the dark fruit – in raisins, blueberries and touches of slightly tarter small red berries. That aspect works. It is pretty smooth as well, especially with water, so not too bad on that side either. It comes within spitting distance of what it is trying to do is what I am saying.

However there is, well, a kind of alcohol air, like cheaper grain spirit, along with heavy teabag like tannin notes that would have worked in a heavier whisky but felt odd in this smoother fruit fest. Water does help with that, bringing out a smoother flavour, but still with an odd, slightly closed element that is half way between tart grapes and slight metallic notes in the finish.

It feels close to what it should be – the flavours are big all the way into the finish, which is good, it is smooth in the body which is good, but tainted by those off notes that makes it feel like an also ran of the whisky world.

Ok, but far behind the competition.

Background: This is another one grabbed from The Whisky Shop in town, they had a huge range of Loch Lomond in minis so I decided to grab a bit older one to see how it goes. Not been a huge Loch Lomond fan up to now, but some whiskies only really shine in their later years. Put on The Eels: End Times while drinking- only just grabbed it. I always like The Eels, they always feel happy in a sad way, or sad in a happy way, and says that is ok either way. Which is nice.


Loch Lomond: Inchmurrin: Madeira Wood Finish (Scottish Highland Single Malt Whisky: 46% ABV)

Visual: Bronzed gold. Fast thick streaks from the spirit.

Nose: Salty. Cooked fish skins. Hard sweets. Raisins. Sour red wine. Strong alcohol air. Light turpentine. Peppermint. Water adds menthol and cherries.

Body: Smooth. Oily. Cherries. Smoke. Salt. Shortbread. Vanilla. Lightly waxy. Water adds golden syrup. Brown sugar. Soft peat and dried beef. Apricot. Spicy raisins. Madeira cake.

Finish: Peppery. Light charring. Dry peat. Oily. Vanilla custard. Water – raisins. Smoke. Menthol. Madeira cake and salt.

Conclusion:This is not an Islay, I am aware of that before you all jump on me, however it does seem to be trying to pick up a lot of the Islay traits, so I will be referring to that region quite a lot here. I think it is as most not Islay/Island whiskies that use peat only take the peat element, and none of the rest of the Islay character. Which is cool, it creates a different experience. This however has a saltiness and an oily, fish skin character that actually brings to mind the less brutal and medicinal of the Islay range. This is especially true neat where it is a bit of a harsher edged thing.

Neat it has a touch of red wine in the character, and some cherry notes, all of which I presume are due to the odder Madeira barrel ageing, but I have to admit it doesn’t seem like how Madeira usually shows itself – in fact it is a tad sour red wine rather than the sweeter notes I would expect. This results in the neat whisky feeling like someone took a lighter Islay and added a bit of a heavier wine barrel ageing to it. It has what would be rougher notes if they were heavier and thicker, but are manageable as it – something like turpentine if it was heavier, but thankfully not so at the moment.

Now, when you add water to this it does two big things. First it brings out the more neutral natural sweetness and the fruitiness of the unpeated side of the whisky. Second it brings out the more traditional Madeira styling with fruity raisin sweetness. Both element involve sweetness yes, and fruit, yes I did already notice that.

Overall it is an ok bit of peat, an ok bit of base spirit and an ok bit of Madeira ageing. It is not a common combination of styles so I will say it has value for that, but each individual element has been done better elsewhere – it is only the combination that makes it stand out.

Still an Islay influenced Highland whisky in Madeira oak, something a bit different and ok as that.

Background: People who have been following these notes for a while will know I like getting the chance to try a lot of different whiskies, but often miniatures only have the more common expressions. Which means you have to buy a big bottle – yes I know, woe is me, but it still means you are taking a risk dropping money sight unseen. So when I saw a bunch of Loch Lomond, and their peated offshoot Inchmurrin at The Whisky Shop in Bath I decided to grab a few. This one is a Madeira finished expression, which I tend to be a fan of, though I don’t think I have tried many, if any peated whiskies with Madeira finishes. Should be interesting. I’d grabbed Ozzy Osbourne – Memoirs Of A Madman recently and was listening to that while drinking. I prefer the Black Sabbath stuff, but still some great tunes in there.

Loch Lomond

Loch Lomond: Single Malt (Scottish Highland Single Malt Whisky: No Age Statement: 40% ABV)

Visual: Gold.

Viscosity: Fast thick streaks.

Nose: Blended alcohol. Toffee. Apples. Honey. Fields. Water makes slightly menthol.

Body: Smooth and light. Apples in a crumble style. Malt chocolate. Barley biscuits. Honey. Some alcohol, but gently done. Water lets the apples really come out. Soft pastry.

Finish: Cardboard. Malt chocolate. Charred oak. Dusty. Dried apples. Treacle toffee touch. Chocolate liquore. Chocolate dust with water.

Conclusion: This is a very soft whisky. It is also somewhat light, but more so than that it is distinctly soft. It feels gentle and fluffy in texture and taste. I found this odd considering that the aroma could be a bit grainesque at times, but there you go. These things can surprise you. Even that harsh edge of the aroma soothes when you add water, bringing the elements in line.

It is a bit toffee, a bit apples, but not really toffee apples. Go figure. Matched by a mix of soft pastry and gentle malt chocolate. Oddly, despite the softness it doesn’t really feel that easy to drink. The kind of fluffy texture into the dusty finish clamps down on any hopes of that, it just has a dry mouth kind of feel that doesn’t let it slip down easy.

Still, it is mellow, especially with water. The base flavours are not heavy laid on, but are pleasant. The surrounding elements really give it some problems though; A mix of dusty touches, almost cardboard finish, and charring just don’t go well. It makes the whisky feel slightly indistinct at times and ill focussed.

It has the makings of a gentle dessert style whisky, but not the class to pull it off. It is pretty inoffensive, but not memorable either. I will say that the very gentle nature with water may make it good for people who don’t like the fire of some whiskys, but generally it is a whisky that doesn’t quite click.

A gentle dram, but not *the* gentle dram.

Background: Ok, most entry level bottlings of whisky with no age statements try to build themselves up with a fancy name “rare select” or “coopers selection”. In a way you have to respect this whisky for just putting “Single malt” and no fancy adjectives. Anyway, this was picked up from independent spirit, as part of a three pack of miniatures. Another chance to review some distilleries’ whisky that I had yet to get around to. I have tried Loch Lomond before in pubs, but bar bottles can sometime not be held particularly well, so was unsure of how this would compare. This was drunk while listening to The Youngins. Yes I had played “Gone Home” recently, how could you tell? Also everyone should play that. It is short, but an excellent interactive story, using a game as the medium. No seriously, go try it now.

%d bloggers like this: