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LOCH LOMOND   geen leeftijd vermelding 40 %       
Distilled and aged to perfection
in old casks
on the banks of Loch Lomond
Loch Lomond Distillery Co, Ltd,
Lomond Estate.

LOCH   LOMOND     21  years old  43 %                   
SINGLE HIGHLAND
MALT SCOTCH WHISKY
Aged  in Old Oak Casks,
Finished in Sherry Casks
On the Banks of Loch Lomond
Loch Lomond Distillery Co,  Ltd,  
Lomond Estate

LOCH  LOMOND    18 years old                                                 
SINGLE  HIGHLAND  MALT  
SCOTCH  WHISKY
Aged in Old Oak Cask
On the Banks of Loch Lomond
Loch Lomond Distillery Co, Ltd, Lomond Estate

LOCH   LOMOND.  PEATED  SINGLE  MALT
SINGLE  HIGHLAND
MALT  SCOTCH  WHISKY  46 %  
Bottled without Chill - Filtration
Aged in Oak Casks on the
Banks of Loch Lomond
Loch Lomond Distillery Co, Ltd,
Lomond Estate

Highland Malt
The Western Highlands
LOCH LOMOND   (1966   zie ook INCHMURRIN en OLD RHOSDHU

Gebouwd in 1965 - 1966 door Barton Brands Ltd te Chicago, de bouwkosten bedroegen E 8,5 miljoen.
Barton Brands Ltd is een Amerikaanse groep met vooral activiteiten in de Amerikaanse whisky industrie, en zij maken in 1959 de stap naar Schotland met de aankoop van een belang in Littlemill.
In 1965 toen Littlemill de grens bereikte van zijn produktie capaciteit werd een tweede distilleerderij gebouwd te Alexandria: Loch Lomond.
Loch Lomond ligt aan de rivier de Leven die het meer Loch Lomond verbindt met de Clyde.
Loch Lomond staat op een plek waar al sinds de 18e eeuw een katoenfabriek was gevestigd, en het ketelhuis is gevestigd in het boiler-huis van de voormalige katoenfabriek, de lopende band voor de aanvoer van kolen is er nog altijd.
In 1971 wordt Barton Brands Ltd de alleen eigenaar van Littlemill. In datzelfde jaar wordt Barton Distilling (Scotland) Ltd opgericht.
In 1982 wordt Barton Brands Ltd overgenomen door Amalgamated Distilled Products, de ei-genaar van A.D.P. is de Argyll Group.
Amalgameted Distilled Products was opgericht in 1970 om A. Gillies & Co, exploitant van lagerpakhuizen, makelaars in whisky, blenders en exporteurs én eigenaar van Glen Scotia over te nemen.
In korte tijd werden verschillende ondernemingen overgenomen die betrokken waren bij de
whiskyindustrie, en rond 1980 bezit A.D.P. ongeveer twintig verschillende blended whisky-merken en met een verkoop van een miljoen dozen per jaar die worden afgevuld in een eigen bottelfabriek te Grangemouth.
Amalgamated Distilled Products deed ook mee in een poging om The Distillers Company Ltd over te nemen, maar verloor van Guinness.
Glen Scotia wordt na een verbouwing van 1,5 miljoen dollar in 1984 gesloten.
Loch Lomond wordt in 1985 verkocht aan Inver House.
Littlemill wordt ook gesloten in 1984.
In 1989 is er een management buy-out onder de leiding van twee directeuren van A.D.P. Ian Lockwood en Bob Murdoch en met de hulp van Schenley, een Amerikaans- Canadese firma met whisky belangen.
Gibson International, zoals de onderneming verder ging heropende Glen Scotia in 1989.
In 1994 ging Gibson International bankroet, de Schotse activiteiten, Bartons Distillers (Scotland) Ltd met de distilleerderijen Glen Scotia en Littlemill kwamen in het bezit van Glen Catrine Bonded Warehouse, een firma die lagerpakhuizen exploiteert, botteld en blend en sinds 1985 eigenaar is van Loch Lomond, overgenomen van Inver House.

Eigenaar van Glen Catrine Bonded Warehouse is Sandy Bulloch, wiens familie geschiedenis teruggaat tot 1855 toen Lade & Co fuseerden met Bulloch & Co, die Loch Katrine te Glasgow en Lossit op Islay bezaten en ook nog Caol Ila kochten.
Hun toen wereldbekende blended whisky was B L Gold Label.
Maar ook deze firma kwam in moeilijkheden in 1920 en ging in liquidatie en werd in 1927 ingelijfd bij de almachtige The Distillers Company Ltd.
Het merk B L Gold Label bestaat nog steeds en Caol Ila, nu het eigendom van Diageo heeft nog steeds vermeld Bulloch Lade & Co als licentienemer van Caol Ila.
Glen Scotia sloot in 1994 omdat het Glen Catrine Bonded Warehouse alleen om de voorraad whisky te doen was.
Het eerste beslag werd geproduceerd op 9 Maart 1966 en de distilleerderij werd opgestart op 2 September 1966.
Als gevolg van de terugval in de vraag naar whisky in de jaren tachtig ging Loch Lomond in 1985 in de 'mottenballen'.
Loch Lomond heeft vier met stoom verhitte ketels met een kapaciteit van 1,5 miljoen liter spirit per jaar.
Loch Lomond produceert zeven verschillende malt whiskies, in volgorde van turfhoudendheid: Croftengea, Inchmoan, Craiglodge, Old Rhosdhu, Glen Douglas, Inchmurrin en Loch Lomond.
De ketels zijn van het Lomond type.
De Lomond ketel is een uitvinding van Fred Whiting, een medewerker van Hiram Walker, en is een variant op de pot still ketel en bestaat uit een bijna drie meter hoge kolom, inplaats van de normale zwanenhals, met een watermantel aan het bovenste eind van deze kolom, die de hoeveelheid bepaald van de neerslag die terugloopt in de ketels.
Deze ketels werden voor het eerst gebruikt in de Lomond distilleerderij bij Dunbarton, later ook bij Glenburgie, Miltonduff en Scapa.
Het maakt het mogelijk om verschillende whiskies te produceren in dezelfde ketels. Loch Lomond produceert ook graanwhisky, ongeveer 10 miljoen liter per jaar. De single blend zoals men de blend noemt heet ook Loch Lomond. Het koel- en proceswater komt van Loch Lomond.
De malt komt van Port Ellen en soms van Glen Ord.
In Juni 1997 melde The Scotsman (de courant) dat één van de zes lagerpakhuizen door brand was verwoest. 2500 vaten met whisky gingen verloren.
'De vlammen kwamen door het dak en de whisky stroomde uit de deuren' . De whiskies van Glen Scotia en Littlemill lageren ook bij Loch Lomond.

Loch Lomond
Chairman: Sandy Bulloch
who bought it from Inver House Distillers in 1985. It's the largest independent whisky com-pany after William Grant.
Classification: Highland malt. It's geographically in the Lowlands, but the distillery is classified as a Highland malt because it lies just over the Highland line stretching from Greenock to Dundee.
The seven malts in order of peatiness: Croftengea (the peatiest); Inchmoan; Craiglodge: Old Rhosdhu: Glen Douglas: Inchmurrin: Loch Lomond.
Nearest equivalent malts:
Ardbeg, lagavulin and Laphroaig are closest in style to Croftengea, Bowmore is closest to
Inchmoan and Graiglodge; Glenlivet is closesty to Inchmurin; Glenfiddich to Loch Lomond.
Nearest equivalent to Loch Lomond Single Blend: Whyte & Mackay. Loch Lomond Single Blend release date: 'Sometime in 1999'.

HEAVY METAL
Production director John Peterson explains technology, Loch Lomond style.
'These stills are made up of a steam-heated traditional 'pot' for the lower bulbous part, with a 20-foot rectifying column attached on top as the still head. The stills work inde-penently in indentical pairs of one wash and one spirit still.
The wash still columns consist of 14 sieve plates at regular intervals, and as the steam and alcohol vapours rise up the column they pass through the sieve plates.
The alcohol concentration in the spirit increases on each succeeding plate where a complex
series of overflow weirs around the plate's edge allows the trapped distillate to overflow and go back down the column to the plate below. As the steam and distillate mix in the column a dynamic equilibrium over each plate is gradually reached which allows the necessary volume of spirit eventually to reach the top of the column where it passes to the condenser.
In the spirit stills the plates are perforated with bubble caps over the holes which allows further refluxing of the vapours.
In essence, the high level of fractionation means that we produce a lighter, purer distillate
but we can draw off distillate from the wash still and mix this with distillate from the spirit still to create a denser style of spirit.
When you ally all this to the phenolic specifications in the barley you use, we can effectively create our distinctive types of malt whisky'

Loch Lomond has four unusual stills with rectifying heads and two conventional
pot stills with traditional 'swan necks'.

This stills allows Loch lomond to produce 8 different single malt whiskies

One of the factors that has a great influence on the character of the spirit produced
is the length of the neck of the stills: the longer the neck - the lighter, 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, one 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, the
two other stills are traditional designed stills

Loch Lomond produces single malt whiskies heavily peated (typical Islay), complex
and fruity (typical Speyside) , full bodied fruity (typical Highland) and also soft and
fruity, (typical Lowland)


Loch Lomond has his own Cooperage

Loch Lomond produces the only Single Highland Blended Whisky
 
A .Bulloch & Co, continued to sell their own label whisky, gin and vodka which became
an increasingly important sector.

Subsequently it became prudent to set up our own bottling plant (Glen Catrine Bonded
Warehouse Company Ltd) which again (although its primary function was to supply the
retail outlets) has grown into one of the largest independent bottlers of spirits in Scotland

By 1985 the company was a significant independent force within the whisky trade, but it
was increasingly difficult to obain the stocks of Scotch whisky that were required in order
to ensure the continued growth of Glen Catrine.

In an attempt to help this situation, in 1985 the company purchased a malt distillery Loch Lomond Distillery Co, Ltd.

Although this helped, in the following years Bulloch & Co was faced with the difficulty
of securing supply of Grain whisky.

In 1993  is was decided to add a pair of grain stills to the distillery

In the mean time the 27 shops throughout Scotland were sold  

1965          Built by Littlemill Distillery Company Ltd,
                 Owned by Duncan Thomas and Barton Brands Chicago

1966          Production starts

1971          Duncan Thomas is bought out and Barton Brands reforms as
                 Barton Distilling (Scotland) Ltd

1984          Loch Lomond closes

1985          Glen Catrine Bonded Warehouse Ltd, owner Alexander Bulloch
                 buys Loch Lomond

1987          Loch Lomond restarts

1993          A Grain distillery is added to the plant

1997          A fire destroys 0 litres of maturing whisky

1999          Two more stills are installed

2005          Inchmoan and Craiglodge are officially launched, 4 years old and
                 distilled in 2001
                 Inchmurrin is launched as q 12 years old

2006          Inchmurrin 4 years old, Croftengea 9 years old and Glen Douglas 4 years
                 old are launched

The Company's Chairman is Alexander (Sandy) Bulloch (2009)

The Bulloch family can trace its interest in the Scotch Whisky trade back to 1842 when
Gabriel Bulloch partnered J.H. Dewar in a Scotch wholesaling business in Glasgow

The family's involvement in the whisky business continued until the late 1940's when,
due to the untimely early death of their father, Sandy and his sister Irene were required
to join their mother to help wwith the operation of the single shop that the family owned
in Glasgow. They used (as was practice then) buy barrels of Scotch whisky , brandy and
rum and bottle it in their shop cellar. Shortly thereafter Sandy bought his first 'filling's
(new or immature whisky)

The Bulloch family built up a substantial chain of retail outlets in Scotland(A. Bulloch &
Co.) In order to supply these, a wholsale company was aquired (Wm. Morton Ltd), and
although its primary function was to supply A. Bulloch & Co, its business gradually grew
and it is now one of the largest independent wholesalers in Scotland

17 July 2012

LOCH LOMOND DISTILLERY

It is said that Pernod Ricard will buy Loch Lomond

LOCH  LOMOND  DISTILLERY

Water: Loch Lomond
Mash tun: 1 x 5 tonnes
Washback: 1 x 25000 litres
2 wash stills x 25000 ltres
2 spirit stills x 18000 litres
Output: 1,5 000.000 litres


OUR HISTORY IS STEEPED IN THE 6 CELTIC CLANS THAT TOUCHED LOCH LOMOND,
INCLUDING THE CLANS OF COLQUHOUN, MCFARLANE, GALBRAITH, MACAULAY, MACGREGOR,
MENZIES AND BUCHANAN.

The clans of Scotland have survived for centuries and although belonging to a clan today is quite a different experience to the one you may have had 300 or 400 years ago, many of the traditional values and feelings are the same.

While the term “Clan” means family or children in Scots gaelic, not everyone in the same clan was actually related to one another. The clan structure however embodied a feeling of unity and strength, a spirit of togetherness and friendship and one which allowed the Clansmen to have control over their designated land. (You can see from our map the clans which surrounded Loch Lomond).

The spirit of kinship is reflected in our range of Loch Lomond whiskies-to be enjoyed on their own and also shared with others!

The first site of the former Loch Lomond Distillery dates back to 1814, sited at the north end
of Loch Lomond near Tarbet (known as Tarbat). Sadly in the old days relatively few paper
records were kept and the closing date of this Distillery remains unclear.

The current Loch Lomond Distillery was founded in 1964 by the former owners of the
Littlemill Distillery, in Bowling, a few miles up the road towards Glasgow.

LITTLEMILL AND LOCH LOMOND: FROM ILLICIT STILLS IN BOTHIES AND BARNS TO THE
GREAT BONDED WAREHOUSES OF THE INDUSTRIAL AGE, THIS PART OF SCOTLAND HAS
PLAYED A KEY ROLE IN THE STORY OF WHISKY.
 
Glen Scotia DistilleryMaster BlenderGlen Scotia BarrelsGlen Scotia Bottle on Barrels
Loch Lomond marks the boundary between the Lowlands and the Highlands of Scotland. This area - so close to the major bottling town of Dumbarton - has been at the heart of the whisky industry for centuries. Sadly though, at least nine distilleries around the Loch have been lost over the years, leaving Loch Lomond Distillers to maintain a proud local tradition into the 21st century.

Our own story began in 1772, with the founding of the Littlemill distillery on the site of an old brewery, at Dunglass Castle in Bowling. It is possibly the oldest distillery in Scotland with distilling at this site dating back to the 14th century.
It is a few miles from the loch itself with its water source being the Auchentorlie Burn.

The distillery changed hands several times before it was acquired by an American gentleman named Duncan Thomas. He lived in the former exciseman's house at Littlemill for a while, and went on to build the new Loch Lomond Distillery in Alexandria which is now our home.

The inspiration for the Loch Lomond Distillery comes from the physical beauty of the Highland region in which it is sited. The magnificent Ben Lomond mountain towers above the loch and looks down on the distillery. Its history is steeped in the 7 Celtic Clans that touched Loch Lomond, including the clans of Colquhoun, Mcfarlane, Galbraith, MacAulay (2), Menzies and Buchanan.

Loch Lomond distillery opened in 1964, with production beginning the following year. In 1984 the distillery closed - or fell silent, to use the traditional term. Happily though, Alexander Bulloch and the Glen Catrine company acquired the business and resumed malt production in 1987. Grain whisky production began in 1993 and two new malt stills were added in 1999.

At the time the Grain distillery opened in 1994, it was the only distillery in Scotland producing both Grain and Malt whisky. It also operates a unique set-up of three sets of stills.

The uniqueness of our pot malt stills rest in the cylindrical necks of the spirit stills. Traditionally the necks of malt
stills are open. The Loch Lomond stills include special distillation trays in the necks, allowing for greater contact with
the cooling alcohol vapour. This makes the process more efficient. These stills can produce alcohol up to 90% ABV
where normal stills deliver the alcohol at around 70% ABV. This style of still allows for different ‘flavour notes’ to be
captured and emphasised through the range of alcohol strengths that can be captured and rejected. This is much
more difficult to achieve through a conventional pot still.

HEAVILY PEATED INCHMOAN SINGLE MALTS LAUNCH
28 July 2017
Loch Lomond Distillery has added two new expressions to its Island Collection – Inchmoan 12 Year Old and Inchmoan 1992 Vintage.

Inchmoan 12 year old
Peated pairing: Inchmoan whisky is a heavily peated version of Inchmurrin, also made at Loch Lomond
The two new single malts, which are produced at the Loch Lomond distillery in Alexandria, will sit alongside Inchmurrin – also made at the same distillery – in the Island Collection.

Inchmoan is a heavily peated style of whisky made on Loch Lomond’s traditional swan neck pot stills, and on unconventional straight-neck stills.

Inchmoan 12 Year Old has been matured in re-charred American oak and refill American oak casks, and bottled at 46% abv without chill filtration.

Inchmoan Vintage 1992, meanwhile, has been matured for 25 years in refill American oak casks and bottled at 48.6% abv, also without chill filtration.

The whisky style takes its name from one of the islands in nearby Loch Lomond, which has historically been a source of peat for surrounding communities.

Part of a group of low-lying islands north of the larger Inchmurrin, Inchmoan literally translates from Scottish Gaelic as ‘the island of the peat’.  

Michael Henry, master blender at Loch Lomond distillery, said: ‘Our intriguing new Inchmoan expressions have been created to celebrate the history and heritage of the island and are the first heavily peated releases in the Loch Lomond Whiskies range.

‘I have selected three different spirits, each bringing a unique peat characteristic, whether that’s spicy, medicinal peat or smoky peat, to the Inchmoan 12 Year Old. This combination creates a balanced, complex peat character highlighting some of the softer, spicier peat notes often masked by heavier peat flavours.’

Inchmoan 12 Year Old will be available for about £44 per bottle, while Inchmoan 1992 has a retail price of £199.

Both expressions are currently available in the UK from specialist whisky retailers, and will be rolled out to global markets over the next few months.

LOCH LOMOND GROUP

The Loch Lomond Group is headed by CEO Colin Matthews and operates Loch Lomond distillery at Alexandria in Dunbartonshire and Glen Scotia distillery in the Argyllshire port of Campbeltown. Additionally, the group’s Glen Catrine bonded warehouse in Ayrshire is one of Scotland’s largest independent bottling facilities and handles not only whisky but Loch Lomond Group’s vodka, gin, rum and brandy brands.

Loch Lomond is available as both a single malt and a blended Scotch, with some distillery single malt bottlings being sold under the Inchmurrin label, while a new line-up of Glen Scotia bottlings was announced in 2015. Limited edition bottlings from the now demolished Littlemill Lowland distillery are also offered, and the group’s highest profile Scotch blend is High Commissioner, the fifth-best-selling blend in the UK. Other brands include Glen’s, the UK’s second-best-selling vodka, and Christie’s Gin.


The Loch Lomond Group was established in 2014 by Exponent Private Equity after acquiring the Loch Lomond Distillery Company – previously owned by members of the Bulloch family.

Alexander (Sandy) Bulloch had purchased the silent Loch Lomond distillery in 1987, as a source of malt spirit for his blending and bottling operations, going on to re-commence distillation under the auspices of the Glen Catrine Bonded Warehouse Company in 1987. In 1994 Glen Catrine acquired Glen Scotia and Littlemill distilleries from Gibson International.

The Bullochs can trace their involvement in the Scotch whisky business back to 1842 when Gabriel Bulloch partnered J H Dewar in a Scotch wholesaling business in Glasgow, and in more recent years A Bulloch & Co operated a substantial chain of retail outlets across Scotland, ultimately selling its own-label whisky, gin and vodkas.

This, in turn, led to the creation of Glen Catrine Bonded Warehouse Ltd in 1974, initially to supply bottled spirits for the company’s 25 shops. After the shops were sold off, the bottling operation continued.  Under the Bulloch regime, Loch Lomond Distillery Company was the second-largest family-owned Scotch whisky producer in Scotland.

DISTILLERIES & BRANDS

Clansman
HIGHLAND BLENDED SCOTCH WHISKY
Craiglodge
HIGHLAND SINGLE MALT SCOTCH WHISKY
Croftengea
HIGHLAND SINGLE MALT SCOTCH WHISKY
Crown of Scotland
BLENDED SCOTCH WHISKY
Dumbuck
LOWLAND SINGLE MALT SCOTCH WHISKY
Dunglass
LOWLAND SINGLE MALT SCOTCH WHISKY
Glen Catrine
BLENDED MALT SCOTCH WHISKY
Glen Douglas
HIGHLAND SINGLE MALT SCOTCH WHISKY
Glen Scotia
CAMPBELTOWN SINGLE MALT SCOTCH WHISKY
Glengarry
HIGHLAND SCOTCH WHISKY
High Commissioner
BLENDED SCOTCH WHISKY
Inchfad
HIGHLAND SINGLE MALT SCOTCH WHISKY
Inchmoan
HIGHLAND SINGLE MALT SCOTCH WHISKY
Inchmurrin
HIGHLAND SINGLE MALT SCOTCH WHISKY
Littlemill
LOWLAND SINGLE MALT SCOTCH WHISKY
Loch Lomond
HIGHLAND SCOTCH WHISKY
Old Court
BLENDED SCOTCH WHISKY
Old Original
BLENDED SCOTCH WHISKY
Old Rhosdhu
HIGHLAND SINGLE MALT SCOTCH WHISKY
Scotia Royale
Scots Earl
BLENDED SCOTCH WHISKY
ASSOCIATED COMPANIES

Loch Lomond Distillers
Loch Lomond Distillery Company
The Littlemill Distillery Company

Loch Lomond
Into the wild: Loch Lomond’s northern environs offer quintessential Highland scenery
Stand on Conic Hill and look south-west: a succession of islands emerges from the surface of Loch Lomond in a plumb-straight line: Inchcailloch, Torrinch, Creinch, Inchmurrin. On the same bearing, the gentle slopes of Ben Bowie can be seen on the far shore.

There’s more to this vista than a pleasing symmetry. You’re seeing a physical manifestation of the Highland Boundary Fault, the centre of a battle some 400 million years ago between the rock on your right and the rock on your left. When the former rose up and the latter receded, the Highlands and the Central Lowlands were created.

Turn and look around, and you can see the results. There’s an unmistakable gentleness to the landscape extending southwards into the Vale of Leven, while the loftier peaks to the north – including Ben Lomond, the most southerly of the Munros – are often cloud-shrouded and forbidding.

It’s such a peaceful scene today – hikers and pleasure boats, the distant throb of a jet-ski – that you’d be forgiven for thinking that nothing much has happened here since all that seismic activity during the Devonian age.

Surprising, then, to read the verdict of Dr Samuel Johnson, who wrote this following his visit to the loch’s islands in 1773:

‘Had Loch Lomond been in a happier climate, it would have been the boast of wealth and vanity to own one of the little spots which it encloses, and to have employed upon it all the arts of embellishment.
‘But, as it is, the islets, which court the gazer at a distance, disgust him at his approach, when he finds, instead of soft lawns and shady thickets, nothing more than uncultivated ruggedness.’

Then again, Johnson may have unwittingly touched upon a hidden truth: for all its photogenic qualities, this border country is steeped in violence, intrigue – and illicit whisky.

Highland Fault Loch Lomond

Highland fault: The view from Conic Hill over Inchcailloch, Torrinch, Creinch and Inchmurrin

Loch Lomond’s islands offer a microcosm of Scottish history, reinforced by their strategic location on the cusp between Highlands and Lowlands. Some of them aren’t strictly islands at all, but are centuries-old, man-made crannogs, including Inchgalbraith, constructed by the Clan Galbraith because they were so fed up with being attacked every time they held a gathering on the loch’s shores.

Inchlonaig is called ‘island of the yews’ because Robert the Bruce reputedly ordered yew trees to be planted there – providing the raw material for the bows wielded at the battle of Bannockburn.

The islands also provided a means of correction or punishment: Luss was once known as ‘prison island’, while Inchmoan was an impromptu ‘rehab’ centre for alcoholics and a place of reform for ladies of easy virtue (presumably not at the same time).

It’s not hard to see why the islands were also once a hotbed of illicit whisky production. Beyond the advantages of isolation, all the raw materials were on hand: wood to fire the stills, peat on the island of Inchmoan, grain from the Vale of Leven.

There are traces of stills on the island of Inchconnachan, and Inchfad was home to large-scale illicit distillation as far back as the 17th century, until a government revenue cutter swept through the loch in the mid-19th century. The island then hosted a legal distillery, complete with canal, the ruins of which are still visible.

Like the loch itself, modern whisky distillation in the area spans the Highland Fault: the original Loch Lomond distillery operated at the northern end of the loch, near Tarbet, but today’s plant sits beyond its southern shores in the town of Alexandria (confusingly, Loch Lomond is still classed as a Highland malt because the whisky boundary with the Lowlands lies further south).

Loch Lomond dusk

Mood lighting: The loch’s scenery offers a contrasting and changing picture

Here the picturesque scenery of the loch gives way to the industrial heft of the Vale of Leven, epitomised by the grandiose façade of Alexandria’s Argyll Motor Works, which at one point was the busiest car factory in Europe, employing 2,000 workers and holding the World Land Speed Record before its closure in 1914. A young chap called John Logie Baird was once an engineering apprentice here.

Textiles, however, were the prime industry, with Alexandria’s Croftengea works winning Europe-wide renown for its production of the sought-after, vivid red and colour-fast ‘Turkey Red’ dyed yarn from the 1820s.

Alexandria’s textile industry was consolidated into one site at Croftengea, known as ‘The Craft’, before its eventual closure in 1960. The vast site was given over to various new uses including, in 1964, the construction of a new Loch Lomond distillery, which became operational two years later.

From the start, things were always done a little differently at Loch Lomond. Opened by Littlemill owner Duncan Thomas and Chicago-based Barton Brands, the new distillery copied Littlemill by installing a pair of pot stills with long, straight necks containing rectifying plates (indeed, it took Littlemill’s stills too when that distillery closed for good in 1992).

But things stepped up a pace in 1986, when Sandy Bulloch’s Glen Catrine business took over the by now mothballed plant. Refusing to be reliant on the whims of the industry giants when it came to purchasing grain whisky and reciprocal trading, the producer of the High Commissioner blend and Glen’s vodka set about transforming the distillery in order to make it self-sufficient.

More straight-necked pot stills were added, then continuous stills to make grain whisky, a pair of pot stills with traditional swan necks, and then another continuous still to produce grain whisky from 100% barley.

Loch Lomond cooperage toasting

Hot toast: Loch Lomond distillery reconditions casks at its own cooperage

The result is a Heath Robinson operation that has even seasoned whisky experts scratching their heads. Throw in extended fermentation times, the use of wine yeasts, different filling strengths and varying peating levels and you have a single distillery capable of producing more than 10 different styles of spirit. Oh, and it has its own cooperage too.

What was once both a necessity and a gesture of defiance (not to mention a means of producing a fast-maturing spirit) has been transformed into a virtue by Loch Lomond’s new owner, private equity firm Exponent, which bought the plant in 2014.

‘Never follow’ is the motto as the business is gradually transformed under CEO Colin Matthews into a more conventional (in decidedly relative terms) Scotch whisky company.

An estimated £25m has been invested in the past 18 months, upgrading facilities at Glen Scotia in Campbeltown, and adding new stills and warehousing at Alexandria. The entire range of products has been rebranded, and a company that had previously operated in 30 countries now sells its wares in more than 100 markets.

There’s a renewed focus on single malts: as well as the eponymous Loch Lomond range, the fruit-driven Inchmurrin and the earthy smoke of the peated Inchmoan pay tribute to the nearby loch’s history-laden islands.

But perhaps the most obvious sign of Loch Lomond’s fresh ambition is the imminent release of a 50-year-old, single cask single malt that ran off those straight-necked stills on 19 November 1967.

‘It means we want to be among the best,’ says operations director Bill White. ‘With the change of ownership there was an obvious change of mentality at this business. If you want to be an internationally-regarded distiller, you can’t have inferior liquid out there.’

Loch Lomond stills

Heath Robinson: Loch Lomond’s quirky collection of stills can be confusing

But for that change of ownership, Loch Lomond 50 Year Old might never have been bottled. ‘I had my first taste of this probably close to 10 years ago now, and at that point the company wasn’t all that interested in single malts,’ recalls master blender Michael Henry.

‘Every year or two I’d give it a quick nose, a quick taste to see how the flavour was developing, making sure the cask was in the right conditions and the right warehouse.

‘You don’t get to taste a whisky like this very often. To be able to taste a liquid that is 10 years older than I am is something special. It kind of comes with a mixture of privilege and pressure. You have to be very precise in what you do with it – you can’t afford to make any mistakes.’

Matured in an American oak hogshead for 31 years, the whisky was moved into a European oak hogshead in 1978 to add some spice, complexity and mouthfeel. Remarkably, it has retained some of the intense fruity characteristic of those idiosyncratic straight-necked stills.


LOCH LOMOND TO RELEASE 50 YEAR OLD MALT
02 October 2017
Loch Lomond is set to release its oldest whisky to date: a 50-year-old single malt produced in the early months of the distillery in 1967.

Loch Lomond 50 Year Old
Half-century: Loch Lomond 50 Year Old was created soon after the distillery opened
The whisky – limited to only 60 decanters worldwide – was made using Loch Lomond distillery’s unique, straight-necked pot stills on 19 November 1967, shortly after it began operating in Alexandria, Dunbartonshire.

The stills are fitted with rectification plates in their necks and are currently used to produce the company’s Inchmurrin single malt.

The whisky, which will be bottled at 46.2% abv, spent 31 years in a refill American oak hogshead, before being transferred into a European oak hogshead in 1998.

Loch Lomond 50 Year Old is due to be released in December 2017 – it cannot be bottled as a 50-year-old until 19 November – and is priced at £12,000 a bottle.

It will be packaged in a hand-blown Glencairn crystal glass decanter, housed in a hand-made ‘Tempest Chest’ created by Method Studio near Edinburgh, run by husband-and-wife team Callum Robinson and Marisa Giannasi.

The chest, carved from oak with a distinctive sculpted shape designed to mimic the waves of Loch Lomond, is indigo-dyed until almost black, leather-lined and fastened with a solid brass key.

It also contains a turned brass, glass-lined vial, reminiscent of the straight-necked stills, which contains a sample of the whisky.

‘The expectations are high when you are working with a whisky as special and scarce as this, and it came with great responsibility, but selecting and perfecting this single malt was a true honour,’ said Michael Henry, Loch Lomond master blender.

‘Our stills are synonymous with the fruity notes they give to the whisky. The Loch Lomond 50 Year Old has been granted the time to truly concentrate that character, resulting in a rich, tropical fruit flavour.’

Packaged in a remarkable, indigo-stained Tempest Chest designed by West Lothian-based ‘architects of objects’ Method Studio and with 60 decanters priced at £12,000 each, Loch Lomond 50 Year Old should be on the market by the end of the year.

Its release, and the bigger changes at this most versatile and fascinating of Scotch whisky distilleries, signal the start of another new chapter for an area that has a remakable, shifting and sometimes contradictory character – whether we’re talking about its whisky, its history or its geology
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