Whisky Odyssey
Old-fashioned with a twist of the modern 

Lochlea Distillery: pukey PX puts in some distraction

A few weeks ago we tasted a regular Laphroaig and now we come to this Friday with a whisky that actually has something in common with that famous Islay Distillery. The name John Campbell that is. He used to work at Laphroaig for a long time, almost 30 years, and according to his LinkedIn profile he is now the Production Director at Lochlea Distillery in the lowlands of Scotland.

Since the release of the single malt that we will taste today, there has been quite some follow-up release to keep the masses entertained. The core range bottle is the Our Barley, but there has also been a cask strength version and a few different Limited Edition Seasonal Releases. A few weeks ago Lochlea also released an age stated single malt, proudly displaying the number 5 on the bottle. I applaud they did not go for another fancy name. 

But, it has to be said, the 5 also refers to five casks used to create the release of 2000 bottles. Already quite sought-after, I understand. Anyway, we go back in time to early 2022, when the First Release came out.

Lochlea First Release, bottled at 46 % abv

Makeup: No more and no less than 7385 bottles of the First Release were made, a batch consisting of a vatting including first fill bourbon and Pedro Ximénez casks.

General impressions: Well, it is not clear how many PX-casks were used, but judging on the colour of this expression, it was modest. It gives a bit of a sour edge to the aroma coming from the glass. This Lochlea proudly displays its youth, or just does not manage to hide it. Which is no problem, we know we are in whisky infancy territory here.

What I like is that Lochlea embraces the farm distillery roots. If you manage to nose past the PX influence of puke (for lack of a better description), you can enjoy the core ingredient very well. It would have been very bland without the PX, so there is an interesting element to this, but it maybe also outstays its welcome. There is a delicate sweetness there that makes the whole more attractive.

Conclusion: Honestly, I was not over the moon the first time I tried this expression, and I see no reason to change the score that I noted then. There is some unbalance. But I do get more curious to tasting some more Lochlea, since this is still the only expression I know. Hope to run into more opportunities soon.

Score: 82 points
Disclaimer: taken from a self-owned bottle.

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