It isn’t every day that we see the release of 14 anything, let alone 14 of the finest and rarest scotches in the world. And yet, here we are, about to reap the benefits of an independent scotch distiller and blender deciding to unveil 14 bottlings of its world-class portfolio in the United States. The Loch Lomond Group is poised to make over a dozen jewels from the Loch Lomond Collection crown available to Americans. Scotch whisky lovers in the US are known for being adventurous and inquisitive, and the Loch Lomond Collection will surely satisfy American curiosity.
The Loch Lomond Group boasts over 250 years of distilling. Currently, the independent group owns the Loch Lomond malt and grain distillery, located at the head of the iconic Loch Lomond, itself located in the Highlands, one of the five distinct regions recognized by the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA). The Highlands is the largest whisky-producing region in Scotland, and is home to distilleries most American whisky lovers know very well: Oban, Dalmore and Glenmorangie, and the distilleries sometimes referred to as Island single malts, Highland Park, Talisker and Jura.
However, the Loch Lomond Group also owns one of the three operational distilleries in the Campbeltown region: Glen Scotia. Once known as Kinlochkilkerran (from the Gaelic for “head of the loch by the kirk of Ciarán”), the area once proclaimed itself “The Whisky Capital of the World,” a claim backed up by the fact that there were once 30 distilleries located there. That number has dwindled to just 10 percent. Prohibition and the Great Depression are thought to be major contributing factors to the closing of so many Campbeltown distilleries. Glen Scotia is joined by Glengyle and Springbank in this recognized region.
Also available to the US is the last of a limited and therefore precious stock of a single malt produced by a now silent Lowland distillery. This rare expression is Littlemill 25 Year Old Single Malt. The Littlemill distillery was located on the border of the Lowlands and the Highlands, and while the precise year it began producing whisky is unknown there is some belief that it started in 1772. There were several owners over the years who bought, expanded, renovated, experimented with, closed, and reopened Littlemill over the centuries. Most recently, Littlemill was closed in 1984, reopened in 1989, and closed again in 1994. In 2004, the distillery burned down and very little of the liquid was left behind to be salvaged. Because of the rectifying columns on the Littlemill stills, three types of whiskies were able to be produced by the Lowland distillery: Dumbuck (heavily peated), Dunglas (full bodied) and the eponymous Littlemill (light, traditional Lowland whisky). And now, for the first time ever, Americans who seek it out will be able to enjoy a dram of this extremely rare whisky.
This impressive portfolio should be available this month in Texas, California, Florida, New York, New Jersey, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland/Washington DC, Georgia, South Carolina and Colorado, with other states to follow. Empire/Breakthru will handle distribution in New York state, while Breakthru will represent the portfolio in Illinois and New Jersey. Young’s Market will distribute Loch Lomond in California, RNDC will distribute in Florida, and United (Spec’s) will handle Texas. Those in Massachusetts should contact Horizon to get their hands on the Loch Lomond Collection, Savannah will cover distribution in Georgia, and Prestige will serve the Maryland/Washington DC area.
Loch Lomond Single Grain (SRP $25.50)
Made with 100% malted barley, Single Grain is like a single malt but it is aged in a Coffey still rather than a pot still. It’s the first single grain from Scotland, and is poised to be a leader in this emerging category.
Loch Lomond Reserve (SRP $31)
Blended scotch whisky with a unique blend of malt and grain, married in re-charred oak casks.
Loch Lomond Signature (SRP $28)
Married and conditioned in 100 barrel cask Solera. The Solera system combines Olorosso sherry casks and American oak casks that have been recharged to create an intensity and smoothness.
Loch Lomond Original (SRP $28)
A single malt Scotch whisky with a distinctive background character with a hunt of smoke and peat.
Loch Lomond 12 Year Old Single Malt (SRP $55)
Aged in three types of casks: bourbon, refill and recharged. A deep fruity character of peach and pear layered with a vanilla sweetness and characteristic hints of peat and smoke found in Loch Lomond whiskies. The whiskies are brought together in a single malt under the watchful eye of Master Distiller Michael Henry.
Loch Lomond 18 Year Old Single Malt (SRP $99)
Matured in the finest oak barrels, time and nature have brought out the sweeter character of the wood. Subtle characteristic of peat and smoke, a well-balanced finish, and non-chill filtered, like Aberlour’s A’bunadh and Laphroaig’s Quarter Cask.
Glen Scotia Double Cask (SRP $54)
Finished in bourbon barrels, followed by time in Pedro Ximénez sherry casks.
Glen Scotia 15 Year Old (SRP $66)
Gently aged in American oak barrels, 15 Year Old is characterized by a signature nose of vanilla, interwoven with subtle notes of sea spray and aromatic fruits.
Glen Scotia Victoriana (SRP $91)
Each cask is chosen for its rare character and exceptional maturity. Finished in deep charred oak, the result is an exceptionally smooth single malt whisky whose aroma and flavor work in harmony. Bottled in the traditional way, straight from the cask and without filtration, its subtle wood and vanilla flavor is enhanced by a full-bodied spicy fruit aroma and mildly smoky aftertaste. Victoriana is non-chill filtered.
Inchmurrin 12 Year Old (SRP $61)
Aged in a mixture of casks, including bourbon, refill and recharred wood, and is non-chill filtered. The 12 Year Old expression is light, grassy and floral, with hints of pear drops, crème caramel, soft fruits, vanilla and fudge.
Inchmurrin Madeira Wood Finish (SRP $68)
Master Distiller Bill White selects individual American oak casks before marrying them for further maturation in casks previously used for fortified Madeira wines. The end result is an orchard fruit character of peach and pear with marzipan and nutmeg, and a long, nutty finish.
Inchmurrin 18 Year Old (SRP $110)
Lightly peated, 18 Year Old has a strong oak character, hints of summer grass, tropical fruit, and zesty citrus notes, and is non-chill filtered.
High Commissioner Blended Scotch Whisky (SRP $16)
A blend selected from fine grain and malt whiskies.
Littlemill 25 Year Old Single Malt (SRP $3,000)
An ultra-rare expression from the now silent Lowland distillery. Littlemill, which used Highland water and peat from Stornoway and Perthshire, produced spirits acclaimed for their subtly floral nose and vanilla redolence. This expression is expected to quickly become sought after by serious collectors.