Lochlea is a very inspiring distillery located in Ayrshire not far from Glasgow. I was quite fond of their inaugural release, which was launched early last year, but haven’t kept up with the Lochlea’s seasonal releases since. There’s been a Sowing, Harvest, and Fallow edition, but the latest in this series is the Lochlea Ploughing Edition, which I’ll review today.
I’ve written semi-extensively on Lochlea before, including an interview with distillery manager John Campbell, formerly of Laphroaig. It was published in Whisky Passion, but should you want to learn a little more about Lochea, just check out my review of their First Release. In short, Lochlea is a farm distillery that will be self-sustainable once they put in the floor maltings.
I’m not entirely sure if they have distilled any peated malt yet. If so, they haven’t released it yet. However, the First Crop of the Lochlea Ploughing Edition does have some peat influence. This was achieved by maturation in ex-Islay barrels and peated quarter casks. Campbell told me these were ex-Laphroaig barrels and called it “a happy coincidence.”
Nose: I don’t often comment on colour, but this is extremely light (much more so than the picture above). It suggests a certain spirit-forwardness. I enjoyed the maltiness of the First Release, which makes an encore here. Also hints of zesty lemon, sour apples and a sort of fruity peatiness, if that makes sense. Just a sliver of dried seaweed, macadamia nuts, and citric acid. Taste: Somewhat ashy. Drying too. The mouthfeel is lacking – a bit thin. Sweet barley husks and soft lemon touches. A hint of processed sugar and a gentle caramel note. Finish: Relatively short and somewhat simple. Ashy, not much fruitiness and some cereal touches.
I can't help but feel the peated casks don't do the Lochlea spirit any justice. Why do some brands feel the need to finish or mature their whisky in ex-peated casks? I've not yet experienced a whisky that tasted as if it was improved by it.