A day at Lochlea Distillery – Tour & Tasting

PR invite // All thoughts and opinions are, of course, my own. 

I was very excited to be invited to visit Lochlea Distillery in Ayrshire as it was a brand I’m not too familiar with but it has been popping up here and there in the last couple years.

This is a distillery that really has farming and grain in its DNA as the distillery is located on a farm, the grain comes from the surrounding fields and they’ve even produced some batches of floor malted spirit, with plans to possibly set up a permanent malting floor for future production.

Lochlea has a core release under the name Our Barley, a cask strength bottling and also seasonal releases. I love the fact that each of the seasonal releases are coming out alongside the seasons of farming and are names Ploughing, Sowing, Harvest and Fallow. Each of the colours for this bottles are created to both match the natural colour of the whiskies but also inspired by the seasons with Ploughing having a light blue of frosty winter skies, Sowing which features a green for the growth of crops, Harvest which has a coral red for the clay soil around the farm and Fallow with the deep purple representing autumn leaves. Each batch is also named First Crop, Second Crop and so on and we are currently on the year of the Second Crop of releases. I love little details like this that are clever and makes so much sense for the brand.

During our visit we had a tour through the distillery and also a tasting. I can also recommend stopping by the Ayrshire Food Hub if you’re in the area as we had a lovely lunch here (the Maltesers traybake as also really tasty!).

During the tasting we tried our way through the range, but started with comparing the floor malted barley new make and the “normal” new make and there’s certainly a difference in flavour where the floor malted new make felt more sweet citrus and even in texture the floor malted new make feels creamier.

Our Barley

If you are only going to try one whisky from Lochlea then I’d say it has to be Our Barley. It’s a great example of spirit style and is a very straight forward core release with it’s first fill ex-bourbon, STR and oloroso cask maturation. It has notes of sweet barley sugar and feels very fresh.

Cask Strength

The cask strength has more toffee notes than the others and in spite of being bottled at 60.1% it doesn’t feel harsh at all. This whisky has a maturation of first fill ex-bourbon and oloroso casks, about a 69/31 split.

Sowing (Second Crop)

Sowing has a maturation of 100% ex-bourbon and here you get custard creams and all those lovely fresh fruits meets vanilla bourbon derived characters.

Harvest (Second Crop)

Besides using ex-bourbon and STR, Harvest also incorporated ex-port casks and is one of my favourites from this line up, alongside with Our Barley, with it’s marmalade and dried fruit tones.

Fallow (First Crop)

The Fallow has been matured in 100% Oloroso casks so would likely be the favourite for any sherry-fans out there. It has wood meets sherried fruits and red apples without being too dry or sticky, and is instead quite fresh.

Ploughing (First Crop)

Matured in ex-Islay casks and peated quarter casks, this Ploughing bottling stand out in the crowd as there’s definitely smoke on both nose and palate. The sweet and slightly woody smoke, goes alongside a green apple fruitiness that once again makes it feel like a really fresh whisky.

Fresh with influences of sweet barley sugar and apple fruitiness seems to be quite the signature for Lochlea on this tasting.

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Moa Nilsson

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