Bought: Master of Malt, 2nd August 2017
93/100 – Whisky Bible 2017
78.52/100 – Whiskybase (average from 33 member votes)
It seems the only reason this single grain from the Loch Lomond distillery isn’t single malt is because of the continuous distillation process, which is a ‘single grain’ thing. It’s exclusively made from malted barley, which ticks the single malt box. According to a Whiskybase member who visited the distillery, “it has aged for around 4-5 years in first fill bourbon casks (around 20 per cent of each batch) and the remaining 80 per cent come from refill bourbon casks.” On the back of the tube it says “soft fruits and creamy vanilla with a hint of smoke and peat.” Peat as well! Blimey! And at 46% this is far from being a typical budget single grain.
Scoring 78.5/100 on Whiskybase is the sort of score I’d expect to see for a good, if a bit young, single malt. How appropriate considering that’s what this Loch Lomond nearly is. Comments online include “nice, easy drinking, every day dram”, “a real surprise, never had such a malted grain style whisky before and to be honest – I like it” and “sweet & spicy and easy-drinking with an interesting malty twist”. No mention of peat though.
93/100 in the Whisky Bible means that Jim Murray thinks the Loch Lomond Single Grain is “brilliant”! He says about the taste, “the sugars on the nose are indicative of a sweet grain, for the delivery centres around the maple syrup lead. The oak is something like most anchors at work: barely visible to invisible”. He summaries with, “elegant grain; keeps the sweetness controlled”.
Tasting notes from Master of Malt:
Nose: Plenty of sweet, fruity grain character here. Citrus peels, icing sugar, a little bit of grassiness.
Palate: Pineapple starts to develop on the palate, with a touch or two of oak spice keeping it from becoming overly sweet.
Finish: Continued fruity freshness.
Bought: Auriol Wines, 8th August 2016
81.5/100 – Whisky Bible 2016
78/100 – Malt Box (video review below)
77.74/100 – Whiskybase (average from 25 member votes)
Sometimes I buy bottles of whisky from local shops on impulse and when I get home I think “what were you doing?! Are you mad?!” Here we have the Loch Lomond ‘Original’. To be kinder on myself I wanted to upgrade my miniatures from Loch Lomond but I didn’t want to spend a small fortune on a 70cl example from this mediocre distillery. With Loch Lomond you can’t even rely on age being a guide to quality as the 21-year-old (from 2004) limps in with a lowly 76.5/100 on Whiskybase. The distillery’s Inchmurrin brand fairs a little better but the 18-year-old only scores 78/100 and costs £81! £25 for the ‘Original’ is starting to look quite reasonable until you realise it’s the same price as the Highland Park 12yo (when on discount at supermarkets or Amazon, which is often).
81.5/100 in the Whisky Bible classifies this single malt as “good whisky worth trying” so it’s not all bad news. The author, Jim Murray, says “surprisingly feisty, though the really wide cut does ensure a huge number of flavours. A distinctly German style to this.” Comments on Whiskybase include “definitely a dessert whisky”, “initial taste is not my favourite, but I found the finish pleasing” and “not flawless, but not as bad as I suspected. But on the other side: it’s young and very sweet, and quite one-dimensional.”
Here’s Andy of Malt Box with his review on You Tube (April 2016):
Bought: Online Whisky Auction, 20th May 2015
67.75/100 – Whiskybase (average from 4 member votes)
69/100 – Malt Maniacs (based on 1 member vote)
Whenever I read about old versions of Inchmurrin, I wonder if the whisky was created so people would realise what bad whisky really tastes like. A benchmark of badness to work up from. Tasting events across the globe had attendees remarking “at least it’s not as awful as an Inchmurrin”. A reviewer on Whiskybase summaries this whisky with “a very light new make spirit, tamed down to the level of super bland.” Oh dear!
In fairness to Loch Lomond distillery who produce the Inchmurrin, they’ve worked hard in recent years to improve their quality of spirit and packaging. Back in 2006 the Whisky Bible rated the Inchmurrin 10yo 81/100 but in 2015 the 12yo & 15yo bottles get marks in the mid to high 80s. The latest Inchmurrin 18yo scores 92.5/100, which classifies it as ‘brilliant’. It’s on my wishlist. I’ll be interested in comparing the old Inchmurrin to the new.
Bought – Online Whisky Auction, 22nd December 2013
63/100 – Malt Maniacs (average from 4 reviewers)
75/100 – Whiskybase (average from 4 member votes)
My first example of a single malt from the Loch Lomond distillery and I was disappointed to see the rating on Malt Maniacs. Then I took a look at the marks for other Loch Lomond malts and realised there was a theme here – they all mostly rate average to poor. In 2006 the Whisky Bible gives the Old Rhosdhu 5-year-old (which I believe replaced my NAS bottle) 77/100 and said “big, ungainly, molassed, caramelised chewing whisky”. So even the new version in 2006 wasn’t much of an improvement! But at least it ticks Loch Lomond distillery off the collection list.
75/100 on Whiskybase doesn’t seem so bad until you start to read the comments, “tastes like a cheap, bad blend”, “borderline ‘down the sink’ territory due to there being very little going coupled with a poor start and finish” and “in my view not worthy to be labelled a single malt”.
Tasting notes provided on Whiskybase:
Nose: Smells like sunflowers and metallic also a little musty. There is some fruity sweetness but it is in the background.
Taste: Very weak and bitter with a few banana & custard notes. Cardboardy, there are a few pineapple notes.
Finish: Short, a little weak and a little zesty
Bought – Online Whisky Auction, 22nd December 2013
I can’t say I’m surprised that I couldn’t find a review of this ‘quiet’ blend from the Loch Lomond distillery. Glenshiel appears to be discontinued now but, when it does appear in auctions or select shops, it commands a very low price. I get the impression that if a 70cl bottle of Glenshiel was on sale today it would be less than £20, in the budget range. I’ll be interested to see what it tastes like, and if it reminds me of anything else, either blend or malt.
Glen Shiel is a rather attractive part of Scotland, in the north west. Not exactly close to the Loch Lomond distillery which is a 3 hour drive to the south. So obviously the name wasn’t picked by the distillery because it was close at hand. Perhaps it was chosen because of the battle of Glen Shiel in 1719. A fight between the British and the combined Jacobite and Spanish force. Except the British won, so it’s hardly a whisky to celebrate a famous Scottish victory! Maybe the Loch Lomond distillery made the blend for the English market? So it’s probably got cyanide in it. I’d best be careful! 🙂