...where distraction is the main attraction.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Where's the Love? Loch Lomond Batch 1 That Boutique-y Whisky Company Single Grain Whisky

Well this is a nice little triangle, isn't it?  In one corner, there's the oft troubling messy whisky from Loch Lomond.  In the next corner is the indie bottler whose samples (sold by their own retailer) always come out weirdly.  AND!  This is an NAS single grain.

Some random trivia:
--Loch Lomond is often cited by Tintin fans as Captain Haddock's booze of choice.  Well, it ain't this Loch Lomond.  Captain Haddock was introduced in 1940.  The distillery wasn't built until 1965, with production commencing in 1966, and the whisky not entering markets until around 1970.  So the make-believe character was drinking make-believe whisky.  Blistering barnacles!
--Loch Lomond distillery is not a member of the Scotch Whisky Association.  So that's kinda punk.
--There's a hand-knitted stuffed stegosaurus next to my computer right now and he's trying valiantly to make it look like he's not interested in what I'm typing.

Distillery: Loch Lomond
Owner: Loch Lomond Distillery Company
Independent Bottler: That Boutique-y Whisky Company (TBWC)
Age: damfino
Maturation: yes
Type: Single Grain
Region: Highlands (Western)
Alcohol by Volume: 52.4%
Limited Release: 191 bottles
(Sample purchased from Master of Malt by Tetris and donated to D4P. Thank you!)

The color is gold.  The nose is......unique.  I've never smelled a whisky like this, grain or malt or blend.  At first it was pine sap, citron, and lychee.  And then WHAM, this huge note of mango seed.  Having gnawed on my share of mangos (awesome in salsa, btw), I've discovered this intense sourness when I get to that that big-ass seed in the middle.  This whisky smells like that flavor.  While that scent doesn't go away entirely, some caramel and cinnamon join it after some time.  Kristen found a butterscotch note when she sniffed.  The palate has a mellower version of the mango seed thing.  There are larger notes of Red Hots candies, burnt wood, and especially fresh ginger.  The usual blah grain note is well hidden under all of this excitement, but it does gradually emerge.  And along with it comes an ever growing note of juniper.  Soon it's just juniper, ginger, and mango seed.  And that is exactly what carries through in the finish: juniper, ginger, and mango seed.

WITH WATER (a little below 40%abv)
The nose mellows out.  Citron, mango seed, caramel, cinnamon, and now some bread crust.  My first note about the palate: "barrel-aged gin".  Juniper, lime, ginger, mango seed, cinnamon, sugar, and caramel.  The finish doesn't change much other than getting sweeter.

I swear this is barrel-aged gin.  And I was about to write a whole big paragraph about it since I though I was being so original, but then I discovered that someone on Master of Malt's site already made this same observation.  So click here (and scroll down to the User Reviews) for the guy or gal who discovered it first.

But unlike the person who left that review, I kinda like this stuff.  Not necessarily as a whisky, but instead as an experience.  While I'd be totally happy to hate on TBWC and Loch Lomond, I can't here.  This is weird enough to be cool.

Unfortunately, it seems to be totally sold out.  It does make me wonder how Loch Lomond's grain whisky fares in general.  MoM has an 18yo single cask of LL's single grain, but $140 for 18yo grain whisky?!  No thanks.  If you've had any experiences with Loch Lomonds single grains, let me know in the comments below.  This one was a hoot!

Availability - Sold out?
Pricing - was €47.50 or £37.95 two years ago
Rating - I don't really know how to grade this.  I dunno, 80?


  1. There's some research to do on the Tintin stuff. He/they updated their strips often. The original ones were with Johnnie Walker, which later became Loch Lomond. I don't know whether the Loch Lomond predated the distillery itself. In a few years you'll be reading this stuff to your daughter. Books are better than the movies (though the full-feature movie is quite good).

    1. You bring up an interesting point. Just did some quick internet snooping and found the following references...


      ...that said he originally swapped Johnnie Walker out for Loch Lomond in the English language publication of the Black Island in 1966. Though that was a few years before that whisky actually hit the market and I'm not sure if Loch Lomond's blend brand was even called "Loch Lomond" when it did come out. One fella says "it was felt better to fictionalize the name so that there was no need to ask for permission to use it", others say something similar, more or less that Herge just used the name because it was already known from song. But that's all info from the Interwebs without any citations.

      I haven't read a Tintin in almost 25 years. I'm looking forward to going through the canon again someday, even if Mathilda doesn't want to. :)

    2. I'm more of an Asterix & Obelix fan myself.

      Has Loch Lomond ever released any of their "Silent Malt"? Single malt made in a column still is very much on my To Try List. I think Nikka released a Coffey Malt recently.

    3. Not sure, though Nikka's Coffey Malt would probably be easier to find. It's that column still malt that got Loch Lomond into trouble with the SWA. Since they've chosen not to be a member, I wonder what's keeping them from releasing some sort of exclusive premium bottling of the illicit malt.

  2. The WhiskyBase Shop has it in stock right now. Can't imagine it's going to fly off the shelves.


    1. Yeah. Who exactly is going to pay 52euros for a 50cL of NAS Loch Lomond grain?