This past September, the Loch Lomond Group brought a large part of its whisky portfolio to the United States market. Today, we’re looking at two Loch Lomond blended whiskies alongside a single grain bottling.
The Loch Lomond Group currently owns two distilleries: Loch Lomond in the Highlands and Glen Scotia in Campbeltown. Something interesting about the Loch Lomond is it’s setup of stills. It has a pair of standard pot stills. Then, it has three pairs of pot stills with rectifiying heads as well as a continuous still. The distillery only uses that column still to distill malted barley, which is what Loch Lomond Single Grain is made of. It’s not a single malt, because single malts can only be distilled in pot stills.
Let’s talk about the three whiskies this post is featuring. We’ll start with the cheapest – Loch Lomond Reserve. At $19, Loch Lomond Reserve is a standard blend of malt and grain whiskies, married in re-charred oak casks. It’s bottled at 40%, and tastes like a standard blend. The nose has hints of light toffee, some floral and grain notes, and a touch of vanilla. The entry is soft, and follows the nose closely: some grain, caramel, heather and vanilla. The finish is short and soft, leaving behind a semi-sweet toasted grain note. There’s not much going on with this one. It’s not a bad blend. Rather, it’s an easy-going blended whisky that’s probably meant for people wanting to get into whisky for cheap. 6/10
Up next is Loch Lomond Signature, which is priced $2 higher than Loch Lomond Reserve for $21. If you’re looking for a decent blended whisky to start your whisky journey, I’d bypass the Reserve completely and reach for Signature as it tastes a bit more expensive than it actually is. This blend is married in a 100 cask solera system, combining recharged Oloroso Sherry casks and American oak casks. The still-soft nose is fruiter thanks to those sherry casks, featuring stewed fruit, raisins, some vanilla cream and buttered toast. Loch Lomond Signature is also bottled at 40% abv. The palate is still soft, but not as subtle as the cheaper Reserve. Vanilla cream, berries, raisins, and light brown sugar make up the majority of flavors. There is also a touch of young grain and spice. The short finish features a touch of spice and stewed fruit. 7/10
Lastly is Loch Lomond Single Grain, bottled at 46% and priced at $29. I appreciate the higher abv. Like I mentioned before, this single grain release is made with 100% malted barley distilled in a column still instead of a pot still. That is the only thing keeping this from being called a single malt. On the nose, I get fresh cereal grains, ground cinnamon, and a touch of vanilla. Taste-wise, there’s pineapple upside-down cake, vanilla, granny smith apples, lemon zest, and a bit of vanilla ice cream. The finish features some spice along with orchard fruits and vanilla cream. 7/10
These releases are pretty standard. I’d skip Loch Lomond Reserve and stick to Loch Lomond’s Signature and Single Grain releases. Both are a lot more interesting in their own way, and are very affordable.
Thanks to Loch Lomond for the samples. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.