Loch Lomond is one of the most curious distilleries in Scotland. Production started in 1965, but it was closed between 1984 and 1987. Grain whisky production began in 1993, which made it the only distillery in Scotland producing both grain and malt whisky on-site at that time.
The uniqueness of their pot stills lies in the cylindrical necks of the spirit stills. Inside these necks are special distillation trays, allowing the stills to be more efficient and reach up to 90% ABV. They can also switch on/off certain elements like condensers, allowing them to create a wide array of flavour profiles with the same equipment. This results in a plethora of brand names, all produced at the same distillery: Loch Lomond, Croftengea, Old Rhosdhu, Inchfad, Glen Douglass, Inchmoan, Inchmurrin, Craiglodge… each with varying peat levels.
All this flexibility sounds great, yet I must admit I hadnever come across a Loch Lomond whisky worth remembering. However recently the brand and the range of whiskies have been tweaked and upgraded, so it’s time to try some of their recent production.
Relaunched in 2015, Inchmurrin 12 Year Old is exclusively from Loch Lomond’s straight neck pot still. It comes off the still at a very high 83-85 % ABV, which causes the fruity notes to be maintained from the long fermentation. It is aged in a mixture of casks, including bourbon, refill and recharred wood.
Inchmurrin 12 yo (46%, OB +/- 2017)
Nose: caramel and grains at first, but after two minutes some nice fruity notes appear. Apples. Then bourbonny, slightly tropical notes even, peaches and mango. Too bad the grassy / malty notes don’t give up. Cinnamon pastry. A little vanilla. Hints of fragrant oak.
Mouth: fairly light, again close to the malt, but the floral / bright fruity notes make this nicer than expected. Peaches, oranges, melon, papaya perhaps. Kind of an eau-de-vie side as well. Long fermentation alright. A slightly harsh, grainy side too, unfortunately. Fragrant oak, honey, vanilla and a spicy touch.
Finish: medium long, bright, slightly drying and spicy with hints of cocoa.
A nice surprise – this is a very fruity whisky and a real crowd pleaser, I suppose. It seems to have improved greatly over the last few years. Well done, good price / quality ratio: around € 45.