Whisky Advocate

Bruichladdich installs Lomond still

February 3rd, 2010

We interrupt our daily awards postings to bring you this press release from Bruichladdich. The Lomond still lives to distill another day! Ugly indeed!

Press Release:

The One and Only… Ugly Betty

“An oversized, upside-down dustbin made of copper”

Tom Morton described it in his excellent Spirit of Adventure.

Bruichladdich is pleased to announce the installation of an unusual fifth still during recent still house renovations.

A Lomand still, a defunct experimental cross between a Coffey and a pot still, was designed with a thick column-like neck with removable sections inserted.

The aim was to create more character and variety of styles of spirit by imitating the effect that different lengths of still ?neck? would have.

The versatile still had plates, like Roman blinds, which could be ?opened? and varying the angle of the lyne arm for lighter or heavier spirit.

The first Lomand, a spirit still, was installed in 1956 at Inverleven, part of the ginormous Dumbarton grain distillery complex, on the banks of the Clyde .

Inverleven was closed in 1991 and raised to the ground in 2004. But not before we nipped in and removed, among other things, the Lomand.

So, fittingly, the first shall be last: the original, the only authentic Lomand in existence, lives to fight another day.

True to its founding principal, it is being fitted with Jim?s newly designed neck section, the “Silver Gattling”. It may be the only one of its type left, but she?s no oil painting. Welcome to Ugly Betty.

30 Responses to “Bruichladdich installs Lomond still”

  1. David D says:

    I thought Scapa still had a Lomand still?

  2. B.J. Reed says:

    So does Loch Lomand but cannot tell you if it is “original” but believe they have several

    Good old Bruichladdich – Another toy for Duncan to play with and I get to see it up close in about a month!

    • Alex says:

      B.J., Read the Bruichladdich blog to see what Duncan and crew had to do to install this – sure hope it works well for them.

  3. bgulien says:

    It is a Lomond Still and yes, Scapa had one working as a wash still. I think. Don’t know for sure, if it is still working.
    BTW, the name has nothing to do with the Loch Lomond distillery

  4. Monique at the Dell says:

    Way to go Bruichladdich. Can’t wait to see her in action!

  5. sam k says:

    Awesome! Nice to know that “quirky” is still acceptable, the new SWA regs notwithstanding…I guess they won’t be able to distill single malt in it.

    • I am suprised the SWA would even allow this.

    • bgulien says:

      Would be interesting to see how Mark Reynier will react to the SWA – police, when they tell him that he can’t use the Lomond still for single malt.
      He is the most vocal anti SWA in Scotland and Bruichladdich is no member of the SWA.

  6. Henric Molin says:

    Great, a working lomond will give the Laddie a wonderful possibility to give their good range of barrels some different varieties of spirits to mature. Congrats again to the Ileach’s for showing a supreme initiative. Regarding Scapa, yes, they have a lomond, working as wash still, but it is stripped inside, so it is generally just an ugly pot still. However making a very good malt. Loch Lomond actually works a lomond still, but also have two pot stills, they claim to make 8 different varieties of malt. Another side is how the new regulation affects the production of lomond malt? On the other hand, if it taste good it should not matter what the label says.

  7. thomas mckenzie says:

    John, I have rad some stuff on those still, and seems like they are not a lot different from the hybrid still used by a lot of microdistillers. If I was in Scotland, and had my way I would love to try a heavy peated wash run one time through a lomand still. Maybe one day.

  8. MrTH says:

    Mr Picky arches his eyebrow. It’s “Lomond”, not Lomand, yes? And that’s “razed”…you can’t raise something to the ground. And “ginormous” is just embarrassing….

    Wish them luck with this thing, anyway. Reminds me I’m overdue for a visit.

    • John Hansell says:

      MrTH (AKA Mr. Picky): That’s funny you should bring that up. I always thought it was “Lomond” not “Lomand”. And in my original draft, that’s how I spelled it, even though the Bruichladdich press release spelled it “Lomand.” In deference to the press release, I spelled it “Lomand”, but I just changed it back to the way I am used to spelling it. (Ironically, if you Google them, you will see it being used both ways.)

    • brian bradley (brian47126) says:

      I find the use of “ginormous” to add a certain amount of whimsy to the topic. Being pedantic serves no purpose other than to draw negative attention.

      I once had a superior at work condescend when I playfully used the very same word. He was fired a month later. Apparently people found him too egotistical work with.

      • MrTH says:

        People who write press releases ought to be able to spell properly, and know the difference between “raze” and “raise”, for example. If not, they are not competent for the job, and don’t reflect well on their employers. Honestly, a release about a Lomond still that misspells “Lomond” is embarrassing.

        Mr Picky is not opposed to whimsy, and in fact considers himself a whimsical creature. He is not alone in thinking “ginormous” abominable, but he will admit that his view may be colored by his belief that Will Ferrell is one of the least funny persons alive.

      • bgulien says:

        I thought the word “ginormous” was always attached to Jay leno

    • Henric Molin says:

      Ginormous was entered in Websters 2007 but dates back to 1948.

      Main Entry: gi·nor·mous
      Pronunciation: j?-?no?r-m?s
      Function: adjective
      Etymology: gigantic + enormous
      Date: circa 1948
      : extremely large : humongous

      Anyway the word is older than the still.
      The “Scapa Lomond” was first installed in Dumbarton 1956, then moved to Glenburgie and finally Scapa. The GINORMOUS Lomond still from Dumbarton was the second to be installed there, to my information it was installed in 1957.

      Still, the products must be more important than the “lingo”, and there the Laddie have it covered. I do not personally love all their products, but I have GINORMOUS respect for their knowledge and variations.
      Cheers

    • MrTH says:

      It was not my intent to make a humongous thing of this.

    • I_SPEY says:

      I don’t like drooling, I hate it ! So neither this time, but you’re absolutely right Mr. TH. What an ego’s!?

  9. kallaskander says:

    Hi there,

    interesting and confusing.

    I seem to remember a press release from Bruichladdich announcing they fetched the Inverleven equipment especially for the rebuilding of Port Charlotte distillery.

    Now they install the Lomond still at Bruichladdich?

    What is the status of Port Charlotte then?

    On their own blog they were reporting about the installation of a repaierd 130 year old still

    http://www.laddieblog.com/laddieblog/Blog/Entries/2010/2/1_Precarious_work.html

    It was said that Port Charlotte distillery ran into some trouble with the neighbours who that it was to big for the neighbourhood and now with money so tight everywhere it would be understandable that they put PC on hold. But installing one of the stills at Bruichladdich leaves them short of on still for PC.

    John can you post a link to the press release? I was not able to find it on the internet yet.

    Anyway, Loch Lomond distillery claims it is not using Lomond stills.

    http://www.lochlomonddistillery.com/malt.htm

    They are related to the original design but the rectification part of the stills at Loch Lomod distillery is much bigger than the originals. Some do call them Lomond stills but Loch Lomond distillery does not.

    Scapa has a Lomond still in use but the “Lomond” part is no longer functional so that it works as a wash still witout the variable copper plates in the neck part in action.

    Greetings
    kallaskander

  10. Neil Fusillo says:

    That should be fun for Bruichladdich. They already come out with some amazing experiments (and some not so amazing) in their whisky. Having the Lomond should allow even MORE creativity. Of course, it just means that now I have to wait YEARS to see what fruits shall come of this.

  11. Red_Arremer says:

    Clearly, most operations have not found the versatility of the Lomand still to be useful. All that refitting is probably a pain. And the saleability of a fine-tuned consistent product has been the typical objective of distilleries.

    I’d like to see Bruichladdich make big a point of exploiting the idiosyncratic possibilities that are offered by this thing– using it to produce at least two or three different kinds of spirits.

  12. brian bradley (brian47126) says:

    If there is any company that CAN exploit this machine to its fullest, it would be Bruichladdich. They seem to have an almost magical way of turning the rules on their head and making amazing products. I may not love them all, but, there is something for everyone within their releases.

  13. kallaskander says:

    Hi there,

    no sweat John it will surface somewhere.

    What I know about Lomond stills is that they did not really deliver.

    The holes in the copper plates in the rectifying neck tended to congest and had to be cleaned much too often.

    What I find interesting, though is that tasting notes of malts like Glencraig and Mosstowie which were made for a time with Lomonds tend to have very floral and Lowlandish descriptors in their tasting notes. That was not what they were after when they intsalled Lomond stills.

    But it may just be a tasters artifact and nothing else.

    Here a bit of history

    http://www.celticmalts.com/journal.asp?cat=74&hierarchy=0|4|9

    Gretings
    kallaskander

  14. lawschooldrunk says:

    Can’t wait to see how they integrate this and get around any SWA labeling problems…

    • Red_Arremer says:

      I’m sure they’ll make a compromise with no trouble at all. They know that as long as they’re allowed to write BRUICHLADDICH on the tin in huge block letters there’s someone who will buy it regardless of how the drink is classified. Remeber Celtic Nations?

  15. […] other news, Bruichladdich has installed an unusual Lomond still (the spelling might be “Lomand”…) for undeclared purposes […]

  16. […] other news, Bruichladdich has installed an unusual Lomond still (the spelling might be “Lomand”…) for undeclared purposes […]

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