Loch Lomond: One Distillery Making a Multitude of Malts
August 24, 2021 –––––– Susannah Skiver Barton
Most single malt distillers are specialists: They aim to do one thing well. Enter Loch Lomond, a whisky wonderland that produces multiple styles and profiles—including both single malt and grain—under one roof. On the single malt side, Loch Lomond starts by using unpeated malt, as well as heavily and medium-peated malts. Fermentation includes four types of yeast, running a whopping 92 hours—double the time of many other distilleries—to allow for secondary fermentation, which generates complex esters.
But it's the stills that work the most magic. Loch Lomond has traditional swan-necked stills, as well as unique, straight-necked stills—pot stills with columns on top. “They're more flexible,” says distillery manager Derrick Smith. “They give you a clean spirit.” With a straight-necked still, Smith can dial into specific ABVs when condensing spirit, bringing out different congeners and flavor molecules. Thus Loch Lomond makes eight styles of single malt spirit: high-strength (81% to 85% ABV) and low-strength (63% to 67% ABV) cuts of heavily peated, medium-peated, and unpeated spirit on the straight-necked stills, as well as peated and unpeated spirit on the swan-necked stills. “While other distillers can only use wood or age to create different expressions, we put the work in at the start and develop all these flavors by how we distill,” says master blender Michael Henry.
Loch Lomond's wide-ranging offerings reflect that diversity of flavor, while always retaining a signature estery note: fruity, floral, and cleanly sweet. The distillery recently unveiled a revamped lineup, including 21 and 30 year old whiskies, and has more on the way, meaning fans will soon have even more to enjoy.