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Monday, May 23, 2022

Croftengea 16 year old 2005 The Whisky Trail, cask 272

(Loch Lomond cluster homepage)

I wish Croftengea received its own official 12 year old release alongside its three sibling malts, Inchmurrin, Inchmoan and Loch Lomond. It's often the hardiest, heaviest and dirtiest of the distillery's whiskies. Meanwhile Ballechin, Ledaig and Port Charlotte have frequently had more success than their own distilleries' unpeated whiskies.

So how about it, Hillhouse? No? Well, I'm glad we had this constructive talk.

This Croftengea Week will go backwards, from the oldest of the three whiskies to the youngest. Today's single malt was released within the past year, which is kinda out of character for this blog.

Distillery: Loch Lomond
Style: Croftengea
Owner: Loch Lomond Distillery Company (Hillhouse Capital Group)
Region: Highlands (Western)
Bottler: Elixir Distillers
Range: The Whisky Trail
Age: 16 years (28 February 2005 - 13 April 2021)
Maturation: ???
Cask #: 272
Outturn: ???
Alcohol by Volume: 56.2%
(from a bottle split)


The nose leads with heavy, fishy, seaweed-y peat, with wet sand, Vegemite and ripe brie. Oh yeah, that's the stuff. But wait, there are also toasted oak spices, limes, honey and peaches in the background. The palate starts in a similar manner with antiseptic, menthol and heavy industrial smoke. Cynar amaro and tart limes in the midground, ginger beer and sweet citrus in the background. It finishes with that big dark smoke, Cynar and tart limes.

DILUTED to ~46%abv, or 1⅓ tsp of water per 30mL whisky

Somehow the nose gets wilder. Add some horse manure to the peat. Lots of beach notes. Brie and grapefruit. It's alive. The palate has become intensely bitter, which works will with all the tart citrus, and a hint of ginger candy, all of which sits on a pillow of seaweed peat. Peated oranges finishes it off.


I would gladly choose this style over nearly everything coming from Islay today. It is zany (and probably technically imperfect) whisky, but it's a delightful twist on brawny peat. That this still thunders after 16 years makes me hope indie bottlers are holding onto some casks to see what happens as Croftengea ages another decade. And may those casks let the spirit live, like it does in this whisky.

Availability - I think it's still around in Europe
Pricing - €110?
Rating - 89