South Ayrshire is home to one of the most unique independently owned distilleries in all of Scotland. The Lochlea Distillery has been quietly producing a fine selection of spirits for many years now. In particular, their single malt whisky has been nothing short of exquisite.
Currently under the management of John Campbell, the ex-distillery manager of Laphroaig, the company is in the best possible hands as John has decades of experience, a passion for the industry like no other, and the drive and ambition to succeed.
Lochlea whisky places an emphasis on flavour. They didn’t want a fancy bottle, a huge marketing campaign, and to go viral on social media in the hopes of attracting so-called “influencers” to push their brand, they simply wished to create a whisky that was for drinking. To say they succeeded would be the understatement of the century.
From Farm to Fermentation
Lochlea whisky is unique in that their very own family-run farm grows and harvests their own barley for making the whisky. The draff is used to feed local cattle nearby so nothing goes to waste. Even the water they use comes from aquifers located in the limestone below their steading.
Perhaps most interestingly of all however, is that renowned Scottish poet Robert Burns, called Lochlea his home from 1777, where he worked the farm during the day, up until the time of his father’s death in 1784.
It’s the Robert Burns connection that we’re going to focus on today, as Lochlea recently released their Ploughing Edition, their latest and the fourth and final release in their annual series of seasonal bottlings, on Burns Night 2023.
At 46% ABV, the Ploughing Edition was matured in a combination of peated quarter casks, along with ex-Islay whisky barrels. This helped to create the perfect balance between sweet, spicy, and smoky.
On the nose, you immediately detect notes of earthy peat and barley straw. These fade away to reveal warm spiced apple pie aromas with golden caramel and caramelised demerara sugar.
On the palate, you again detect spiced apples and caramel, accompanied by bonfire smoke, cinder toffee, buttery Scottish flapjacks, and toasted almonds.
The finish is relatively sharp and smooth, with lingering winter spices, woodsmoke, and warm apple compote.
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Lochlea are all about taste and are very much about substance over style. They wanted to create a whisky that could be sipped, enjoyed in cocktails, used in cooking, drank from a hip flask, or used to toast the haggis on Burns Night. They most certainly managed that with their Ploughing Edition first crop single malt whisky.
This wonderful wee dram was highly anticipated and came from their annual series of seasonal bottlings. Each release was created to represent the different seasons on the farm that Burns once called home.
Their Ploughing Edition is their winter release and is named as such in reference to when the soil is ploughed ready for the next crop of barley to be sown.
With a stunning pale yellow hue, this is the first single malt from lochlea to feature a smoky profile.