Loch Lomond is a distillery with a lot going on. It produces a wide variety of different whiskies, which range from soft and supple to rich and very peaty - all of which are signified with its trademark complexity and depth. The distillery is also famous amongst golf fans for sponsoring The Open, and for producing limited-edition bottlings every year to commemorate the world-famous competition.
Loch Lomond Samples
Loch Lomond is probably Scotland's most versatile distillery in terms of the number of different styles of whisky produced for different purposes on one site.
The distillery was built by Littlemill Distillery Company Ltd, a joint venture part-owned by the American distillers Barton Brands Ltd, in 1965 on the site of a former calico dyeworks and Britain's oldest car factory, the Argyll Motor Company. Barton took over complete ownership a few years later in 1971, but the distillery fell on hard times during the 1980s and was forced to close in 1984. Production resumed in 1987 under the new ownership of the Glen Catrine Bonded Warehouse company, an independent bottler seeking to control supplies of malt whisky for their own-label blends.
To this end, in addition to its two traditional potstills - and one Coffey still for grain whisky production, making Loch Lomond the only distillery in Scotland to produce both malt and grain whisky on the same site -Loch Lomond alsohas four Lomond stills (the name is coincidental as this style of still was originally developed for near neighbours Inverleven). Lomond stills have a traditional pot still base, but with the addition of a rectifying column instead of the traditional swan necks.Varying the distillation techniques has enabled the distillery to produce no less than eight different single malts of different styles on one site. The current yearly output from Loch Lomond is 10 million litres of grain whisky and around 2.5 million litres of single malt whisky.
The single malts made at Loch Lomond are (in ascending order of peatiness): Loch Lomond, Inchmurrin, Glen Douglas, Old Rhosdhu, Craiglodge, Inchmoan, Croftengea and Inchfad. Most of these are rarely bottled as single malts, being used instead for the company's blends. The main single malt is, not surprisingly, Loch Lomond. Versions of the other malts are available under the distillery's 'Distiller's Select' rubric, frequently as single cask bottlings. There have been occasional Scotch Malt Whisky Society bottlings of Inchmurrin and Croftengea.
Tim F (with additional info from Ingvar Ronde's Malt Whisky Yearbook, Michael Jackson's Malt Whisky Companion and Misaka Udo's The Scotch Whisky Distilleries)
From the website:
Nestling by the bonnie banks of Loch Lomond our family-owned Scotch whisky distillery takes its name and its exquisitely pure water from this most picturesque and celebrated of all Scotland's lochs. The beauty and tranquility of the setting belies the considerable activity within one of the finest Scotch Whisky Distilleries.
Uniquely designed stills enable us to produce a total of eight different single malt Scotch Whiskies. In addition, our new "state of the art" grain stills, the most modern in the land, arguably produce the very best single grain whisky in Scotland.
At Loch Lomond dedicated experts have been nurturing distinctive drams for generations. The ever-mindful attention of our managers ensures that only the choicest ingredients are selected, then allowed to mature undisturbed within the finest oak barrels, crafted within the distillery by our very own coopers.
It is currently the only distillery in Scotland that produces both grain and malt whisky on the same site. The average annual production is 10 million litres of grain alcohol and 2.5 million litres of malt alcohol, the equivalent of 43 million standard bottles of whisky every year.
Most Scotch malt whisky distilleries, because of the design of the stills, produce only one type of spirit. Our distillery employs four unusual stills with rectifying heads and two conventional pot stills with traditional ‘swan necks’. This range of stills allows us to produce a total of eight different single highland malt whiskies.
How do we do this ...?
One of the factors that has a great influence on the character of the spirit produced is the physical length of the neck of the stills. The longer the neck - the lighter (or cleaner) the spirit, the shorter the neck - the more full-bodied (or fatter) the spirit. By using the rectifying heads in a number of different ways, we can replicate the effect of different lengths of ‘neck’ without physically altering them. However, this particular design of still does not produce the full range of spirit that we require, which is why we also have the two traditionally designed stills as well.
We produce a full range of malts from heavily peated (typical of Islay), to complex fruity (typical of Speyside), to full bodied fruity (typical of Highland), and also soft and fruity (typical of Lowland). This makes us less reliant on the availability of malt whisky from other Scotch distilleries.
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