Lochlea Whisky Range – A Truly Scottish Dram

‘It sets you ill, Wi’ bitter, dearthfu’ wines to mell, Or foreign gill. May gravels round his blather wrench, An’ gouts torment him, inch by inch, What twists his gruntle wi’ a glunch O’ sour disdain, Out owre a glass o’ whisky-punch Wi’ honest men! O Whisky’!

Robert Burns – Scotch Drink

Fewer poets can conjure up such powerful images of their homeland than the late, great, Robert ‘Rabbie’ Burns. A truly iconic figure in Scotland’s history, Burns is engrained in the heart of many-a Scot and is celebrated every single year on Burns Night.

Burns, despite the fact that he briefly worked as an Exciseman, was a huge lover of the ‘Scotch Drink’ AKA whisky. In fact, his love of a great dram is almost as well documented as his poetic works. Each year on Burns Night, which commemorates his birthday on Jan 25th, whisky is enjoyed as part of a traditional Burns Supper, along with haggis, tatties, and neeps.

Now, you may be wondering why we’re talking so much about Burns, when we’re supposed to be reviewing whisky, but there’s a good reason for this, which we’ll get to in a moment. The reason why is due to the fact that the whisky range we’re reviewing today, comes from Lochlea, home of a farm that was once home to Robert Burns himself.

Lochlea whisky is proving to be hugely popular with whisky lovers all over the globe, so here’s our look at the Lochlea Whisky range and at what it is that makes this dram so great.

Lochlea Distillery

Based in the heart of Ayrshire, Scotland, amongst lush green pastures and gorgeous Scottish countryside, you will find the Lochlea Distillery.

In 1777, William Burns moved to Lochlea Farm, bringing with him his children, including Robert Burns. Burns would live here for several years, and would grow fond of the farm and its gorgeous location.

Today however, the farm is very different, and recently decided to begin offering their own unique take on Burns’ favourite tipple, by producing their very own Scotch whisky.

Using barley which they sow, grow, and harvest themselves on the farm, Lochlea Distillery began producing whisky, releasing their inaugural whisky in early 2022, which they called ‘Lochlea First Release’.

The whisky was matured in a combination of Pedro Ximenez (PX) and First Fill Bourbon casks. It was initially released and rolled out across Scotland, before being released all over the globe. It proved to be a huge hit, and as a result, they would go on to release four more expressions, which we’re going to be looking at today.

Lochlea Fallow Edition 2nd Crop Whisky

The first whisky that we’re going to be looking at today is Lochlea’s 2nd edition, and second year seasonal batch whisky release.

This Fallow (second crop) whisky is a limited edition whisky that is designed to reflect the season of autumn. For many, autumn, or fall for our overseas friends, is the most popular season of the year. Not only is it warmer than winter, the days are a little longer, and the leaves, trees, and countryside all look spectacular as a result.

If you’re wondering where the name comes from, Lochlea named this whisky ‘Fallow’ to reflect the fact that the fields are left fallow (empty) to rest and recover after a busy harvest in late summer. As the distillery is located on a busy working farm, leaving the soil fallow is very important as it allows the soil to recover and the land to regenerate, before next season’s crops are sowed, grown, and harvested.

Personally, I love a good dark coloured whisky with a slightly sweet edge to it, so I absolutely loved this particular dram. The whisky is matured in a combination of Pedro Ximenez and Oloroso Sherry casks, spending 55% of its life in the Pedro Ximenez cask, and 45% in the Oloroso Sherry cask. The end result is very complex, dark ruby colour.

The whisky may have sweet notes and characteristics from the Sherry casks, but don’t let that fool you, it still packs one heck of a kick as it is bottled at 46% ABV, and is non-chill filtered, of course.

That’s all well and good, but how does it taste?! Well, quite simply, it tastes spectacular!

On the nose you get notes of sweet Manuka honey, freshly ground coffee, sweet golden syrup, and a touch of buttery shortbread.

On the palate, you get the sweet and fruity influences from the casks, leaving plenty of sticky date and raisin notes, with a touch of sticky plum crumble. There are also spicy flavours combined with candied stem ginger and a touch of marzipan.

The finish is medium and leaves a wonderfully rich mouthfeel, combined with freshly toasted almonds, ripe figs, and honey.

Lochlea Harvest 2nd Crop Edition Whisky

The next whisky in the Lochlea Distillery’s Harvest Range that we’re going to look at today, is Lochlea Harvest 2nd Crop Edition Whisky.

This wonderful wee dram was designed to reflect and represent summer. While the summers here in the UK are barely anything to write about (unless you enjoy gloomy grey skies, drizzle, and the occasional heatwave that doesn’t last as long as a bottle of single-malt, not in this household at least) for farmers, summer is arguably the most important season.

This range was inspired by the end of the growing season, and the culmination of all of the farmer’s hard work when barley on the farm is harvested in preparation of being turned into the gorgeous tipple we’re learning about today.

Despite reflecting the summer, this whisky actually has plenty of winter characteristics, as it is matured in casks used to store a beverage primarily enjoyed at Christmas. The drink in question is port. Specifically, a combination of both ruby and tawny port casks.

But wait, that’s not all, STR barriques, and first-fill bourbon barrels are also used, so there is a lot going on here in terms of flavours. Despite this however, port casks make up the bulk of maturation process, and as a port-lover myself, that’s music to my ears.

Despite being for so long in port casks, the whisky isn’t as dark as you might expect, and instead has a light golden maple colour. It too is bottled at 46% ABV so you know straight away that you’re drinking a single-malt Scotch.

On the nose, you should pick up dried fruit notes, particularly apricots and raisins. There are also strong aromas of marmalade, apple pie, and ginger snap biscuits.

On the palate, you should detect a nutty flavour, with walnut whip chocolates coming through. There are also more fruity notes, this time provided by raspberries and summer fruits with a hint of dark chocolate. Pink peppercorns and warm winter spice helps tie all of the flavours together beautifully.

The finish is medium and complex and is where the port influence really comes through. Expect notes of red grapes, sticky toffee pudding, and sweet, even slightly leathery tobacco.

Lochlea Cask Strength Whisky

This time we’re not messing about. If you like your whisky to punch you in the guts harder than an MMA fighter, and really let you know you’re drinking a fine Scotch, Lochlea Cask Strength Whisky should be on your next shopping list.

One thing that we look for here at Great Drams, is a distillery that isn’t afraid to push boundaries or rest on its laurels. We like to see innovation in the whisky world and we like a distillery that isn’t afraid to try something new, even if it doesn’t quite work out.

Any distillery looking to stand out from the crowd should, in our opinion, provide at least one cask strength whisky, and that’s precisely what the guys over at Lochlea Distillery have done. They’ve created a whisky so fantastic that Burns himself, would be envious of.

The brainchild of Master Blender John Campbell, this whisky is made from barley grown on their own land, and is matured in a combination of first-fill ex-bourbon casks (70%) and ex-Oloroso Sherry casks (30%).

Another limited-edition whisky, at 60% ABV this is not a dram for first time whisky drinkers. Despite being so immature, Lochlea have created something very special with this cask strength whisky, and it’s really obvious to understand why it has received so much praise thus far.

On the nose, this deep amber coloured whisky provides notes of summer fruit compote, sweet malt, crisp orchard fruits, candied orange peel, and a very slight hint of pipe smoke. A second whiff should reward you with even fruitier aromas, this time of vanilla poached pears and candied citrus peel.

On the palate, you get the fierce, spicy, almost peppery burn right away. It’s a shock to the system, but stick with it, because the harshness quickly gives way to something incredibly delicious. Once the heat subsides, you get heaps of ripe fruit, candied walnuts, caramel hazelnuts, and a whisper of warm apple pie with vanilla custard. A drop or two of water will reveal hidden layers of flavour, this time in the form of cocoa powder, lightly toasted oak, and sweet candied fruits.

The finish is medium in length and is not as harsh on the throat as you might expect from a 60% cask strength. You should get plenty of sticky toffee, warm winter spices, and a very slight suggestion of hay.

Lochlea ‘Our Barley’ Whisky

Finally, last, but by no means least, we’re going to wrap things up today with a look at ‘Our Barley’ from Lochlea Distillery.

The first single malt to join their core range, this whisky was created to not only pay homage to the barley grown on the farmland where the distillery sits, but also, to appeal to a wider demographic of whisky drinkers.

Matured in a combination of ex-bourbon, Oloroso Sherry, and STR (shaved, toasted, and re-charred) barriques, this dram, which is another of John Campbell’s creations, offers something different and unique to the others we’ve looked at thus far.

At 46% ABV it is smoother than you might think, and has a lovely pale straw colour, which is all natural, as the whisky is non-chill filtered and takes its colour solely from the casks in which it has aged.

On the nose, you should immediately pick up plenty of sweet honey, toasted oak, candied orange peel, grassy malt, ripe orchard fruits, and a very slight earthy aroma.

On the palate, you should get lemon zest, buttery soda bread, toasted almonds, peaches and vanilla cream, a hint of peppery barley, and a touch of juicy dates and honey.

The finish is smooth and fairly brief, offering a very pleasant oily mouthfeel. You should be left with notes of sweet, toasted oak, pecan and maple syrup pie, vanilla fudge, and a touch of straw to finish.

Love whisky? Of course you do, otherwise you wouldn’t be here if you weren’t. If you are a whisky fan, be sure to head on over to GreatDrams.com and check out the huge range of whiskies we have available.

Stocking Scotch primarily, we offer a wide range of exotic, rare, award-winning, and unique whiskies that you can’t find anywhere else. We also have an extensive array of whisky blogs where you can learn more about your favourite drams from here, and all over the globe.

Whether you want smooth and fruity, peaty and smoky, blended, rich and balanced, or any other whisky, we’ve got drams to suit all palates, budgets, and preferences. Don’t take our word for it, though, head on over to the Great Drams website and see for yourself.  

Tags: Lochlea Whisky Range
Greg

Greg

My name is Greg, and I’m a brand strategy consultant, writer, speaker, host and judge specialising in premium spirits. My mission is to experience, share and inspire with everything great about whisky, whiskey, gin, beer and fine dining through my writing, my brand building and my whisky tastings.

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