A slight alcoholic waft carrying boozy fruits, akin to lychee liqueur or plum wine. As the stated age demands, there are also some "old" notes to be found: furniture polish, waxed leather. Pickled gherkins. Shares a creamy aspect with the 12-year-old version: stracciatella or tiramisu comes to mind. However, there's also some mortar, wet cement, and a bit of cardboard. Perhaps still somewhat idiosyncratic and not top-notch per se, but really interesting and not un-complex at all. After the first sips, some soft smoke becomes palpable.
Soft, silky, then increasingly spicy (new wood)? Soapy, with a bitter edge. The fruits only appear after the first drop has gone down; then peaches and tangerine surge up, with some bitter grapefruit following in their wake. I had expected more wackiness after the nose. A bit unexpressive, even "neutral" at times.
An artificial, aspartamy sweetness paired with lovage. Something soapy and musty as well. Not its best feature. Medium length.
[May, 2017] I just did a private tour of Loch Lomond distillery, one of the very last sites I have not been in the stillhouse so far. The tour was done very professionally by Ibon and clarified a lot of my questions about this fascinating distillery that produces so many different styles of whisky under one roof. So this is a good reason to do some reviews of their current product range.
Loch Lomond single malt is in fact a vat of several malts produced by the different pot stills at Loch Lomond distillery. It is a batch of around 40 to 60 per cent peated and unpeated malts distilled in the very special Lomond style stills that produce the Inchmurrin single malt too plus the respective 60 to 40 per cent unpeated malt distilled in traditional pot stills within the same stillhouse. All malt matures in both freshly re-charred and refilled american hogsheads. The peat is sourced from a place nearby Peterhead and has highland characteristics (contrary to the more maritime and medical seaside peat that is used for Islay malts).
The nose is on a sweet honey and grassy (summer floral) profile with some hints of toffee, milk chocolate and sherry. The mouthfeel is peppery but not coating at all. The palate shows a fine sweetness with flavours of oranges, bitter chocolate and toffee again. The finish is of medium length and comes nicely in several waves over your tastebuds - it gets even more fruitier in the end. No bitter or drying notes at all and no peaty flavours (that I could find).
To me this is the best edition of their current product range and a substantial improvement compared with earlier releases. Unfortunately they increased the price accordingly, making it less attractive this way...
Where Inchmurrin 18yo is a very convincing and pleasant dram, I think this Loch Lomond buddy is the least of the two.
More mature then the 12yo. More ripe fruits and dark spices. It reminds me a bit of spiced rum without the typical rum flavor. There quite some smoke present, which I like. But the whole feels a bit closed and dull to be honest. Pencilshavings are there, wrapped in vanilla and ginger. Also there is some ripe fruits like green apples, pear and something tropical. A little later I get something like mild mint and/or pine tree.
Arrival is a bit weird with a bald, spirit-like, breadcrumbs kind of experience. There is quite some smoked wood and the body seems rather fragile. Kind of surprising after the nose would have let me guess that it has at least a decent body. There is some freshness present which remind me a bit of eucalyptus.
Finish is the best part I think. It’s mild, herbal-like and a lot of green notes in between ripe fruits like again pear, red apples and melon.
This is undoubtedly an older brother of the Loch Lomond 12yo, yet I'm not sure it is really a step up, which is what it should be, as it is considerably higher priced.
Touches of cinnamon, melted butter, rye bread and ripe red apples make for a well-integrated and enjoyable, yet not very exceptional nose. There's whiffs of caramel and just a sliver of smoke too.
Ah yes, it certainly has that straight-necked pot still signature you also find in Inchmurrin and Littlemill, with a nice, bright fruitiness and soft cardboard notes. There's a subtle spiciness (white pepper) as well, followed by toffee and oak shavings. The faintest touch of smoke.
Lingering spices and a soft sweetness. Medium in length.