loch lomond steam fire review

Loch Lomond Steam & Fire (2023)

With a name like Loch Lomond Steam & Fire, I’m not quite sure what to expect. Certainly not a well-rounded whisky, no? It sounds like a bold, possibly overwhelming kind of creation. And yet, it isn’t. As I sat down to review the Loch Lomond Steam & Fire, it turned out to be a thoughtful single malt.

There’s a good explanation for the name. After an initial maturation period in first-fill bourbon casks and refill American oak casks, the Loch Lomond Steam & Fire was finished for 10 months in heavily charred casks. That typically means “a 4 to 5 minute burn on the charring machine”, as master blender Michael Henry explains it. “Time is judged by the cooper based on the flame colour.”

That quote was borrowed from this excellent article on Dramface. Below it, Michael Henry responded to a remark from the author. Being the polite and ever-helpful person he is, Henry explained in detail the recipe for his Loch Lomond Steam & Fire.

It is made from three unpeated spirit styles and one peated (only about 5% of the spirit composition). The unpeated styles are the straight-neck still with a narrow spirit cut (with a new make of 85% abv), straight-neck still with a wide spirit cut (new make of 65% abv) and spirit from the traditional pot still. Each was 7 to 10 years in age.

The peated spirit used for the Loch Lomond Steam & Fire was distilled in the straight-neck still with a wide spirit cut. The barley was peated at around 50PPM and the resulting spirit matured for 5 years.

Now that’s transparency I can get behind.

loch lomond steam fire bottle

Loch Lomond Steam & Fire (46%, OB, 2023)

Nose: A burst of vanilla sweetness but not without some gentle citrus acidity to balance things. Lime zest, lemon peels, as well as underripe pineapple. Also light floral notes, some toffee and crisp apples. Wonderfully fresh.
Taste: Buttery mouthfeel. A touch of processed sugar and cotton candy, as well as a light bitterness, more along a certain hoppiness and maybe even some pink grapefruit. But the fruity citrus, both orange marmalade and lemon pith, remains one of the main characters.
Finish: Short to medium. Leafy, grassy and a gentle bitter note.

It loses steam there at the end, but overall the Loch Lomond Steam & Fire is a fine whisky. I may not be a fan of the branding, but the result is a fruity, fresh, crisp single malt with sweeter elements, yet never too sweet.

Sample provided by De Monnik Dranken

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