This 37 years old Lochside 1981 was a private bottling for the great Gene Chang who is running Gene’s Dram and the Guangzhou whisky festival in China. It is part of a yin/yang black/white pair which also includes an Irish 1993 whiskey.
I was invited to talk to Gene and his friends recently via webmeeting, explaining a few things about sherry casks and at the same time reviewing this sample which he kindly sent over.
Lochside 37 yo 1981 (50,7%, Gene’s Dram 2018, sherry butt #766, 210 btl.)
Nose: starts a bit restrained, with grains and slightly herbal notes, even a hint of graphite and sunflower oil. After a few moments the expected explosive fruitiness comes out, with plenty of pink grapefruit, passion fruits, white cherries, mango and mandarins. Some Earl Grey tea and leathery touches in the background. Light mint and brass polish. Simple pleasures at first, but it builds up complexity over time.
Mouth: oh yeah. A blast of fruity notes again, plums, bergamots and mango. Some sherry influence (herbal notes, black pepper, subtle coffee) as well as a light chalky note and grapefruit peel. Ginger. Still plenty of oily notes, with a growing hint of chocolate towards the end.
Finish: long, with warming oak, a few drops of herbal liqueur, liquorice and dark chocolate.
Even though 1981 is not my favourite year for Lochside (I prefer the 60s, shoot me), this is still a lovely profile. Firm oak and a layer of sherry, but never taking over this bright, tropically fruity core that we love in Lochside. A complex dram, and a great selection, Gene!