Founded quite recently in terms of the whisky industry in 1965 and built by the Littlemill distillery company the distillery as the name suggests is located by the banks of the beautiful Loch Lomond.
Although the distillery is now found at the southern end of Loch Lomond the distillery can actually trace its history back to 1814 when it was located at the northern end of the Loch at Tarbet and although it isn’t clear when the Distillery here closed it is still regarded as part of the Distillery history.
The distillery itself is fairly unique in the fact it is fully capable of producing all the components involved in producing blends, by that I mean it produces multiple styles of single malt whiskies as well as grain whisky..
The distillery itself is split into two sections for production with single malt production and grain production both having their own space.. The interesting bit comes when you look at the single malt side as in here you have traditional pot still with swan necks and typical condensers, then you find a pot still style still with straight necks very typical of the column style and a third set of stills are typical column stills but made from copper and can produce 300 litres of alcohol per hour in a variety of styles ranging from heavy, oily and sulphurous to light, eatery characters using combinations of the top 10 plates although as a rule plates 2,3 and 5 are used with a general 85% Abv being taken.
You then have the column stills located in the grain side two sets on column stills on the grain side, one produces up to 2000 litres alcohol per hour the other 1000. Both are stainless steel with sacrificial copper and are about 30m high producing spirit to around 94% Abv.
19 year old Portrush Open Course Collection
Loch Lomond distillery is the official whisky for the open and each year they have produced a special limited release collection for the event.
This 19 year old is one of the 2019 release and was the one that really stands out for me..
The 19yo Royal Portrush is made up with a combination of our three unpeated styles, firstly the swan neck stills and straight neck stills which the spirit was collected at low or the typical strength of 65% and straight necks at high strength 85% Abv.
Having spoken to Michael Henry about this release he also informed me that the individual spirit styles had been distilled between 1995 and 2000 these were then filled into refill bourbon for their first maturation before then selecting casks and vatting them together before filling into red Bordeaux wine casks from a chateau in the Medoc region for a six month finish.
The reason behind choosing the red Bordeaux wine to finish was to link in with The Claret Jug trophy given to the winners ( clever thinking !! )
Another little snippet to add is the connection to the open for Michael as Portrush is home to 2 winners of The Open, Darren Clarke and Fred Daly who won it back in 1947, Michael is from Northern Ireland and grew up in Portstewart, 2 miles from Royal Portrush!
Distillery.. Loch Lomond
Age.. 19 years
Cask.. Refill Bourbon – Finished In Bordeaux Casks.
Nose.. A real sweet start with loads of fruits again.. Just think peaches, apricots, plum rich vanilla, toffee, caramel and a cream soda aroma lurking within.. Very inviting..
Palate.. The spices are dominant at first with ginger and a touch of pepper giving some heat before the fruits gently glide in and calm things down, berries, candied orange and dusty peaches are evident before the caramel, toffee and subtle hints of dried fruits balance it all out..
Finish.. Deliciously long.
Thoughts.. What’s not to like with this distillery ? The spirit is good and well put together, it carries flavours, balance and plenty of depth !
The aim is always to produce a quality, fruity liquid and the emphasis is on the fruity nature of whisky and when you go through the range that fruity DNA is always evident !
I for one am buying into the Loch Lomond journey and I hope you do too..
Sample provided as part of a live tasting with Steve Rush from the Whisky Wire and Loch Lomond..
Above.. Two styles of still used st Loch Lomond..
Below.. A version of the straight neck style still found at Loch Lomond