Lochside 13 Years Old 1991 – Connoisseurs Choice (Gordon and MacPhail)
43% ABV, £50 for 70cl or £4.90 / dram @ The Whiski Rooms Edinburgh
What they say:
Lochside Distillery began life as a brewery in the 1890s. After closing in the 1950s the site was bought by Joseph Hobbs, who also ran the Ben Nevis Distillery and converted it into Lochside Distillery. The new distillery contained 4 pot stills and a 21 metre high Coffey Still. Lochside Distillery was one of a few distilleries which produced both malt and grain whisky. Following the death of Joseph Hobbs, his son, also Joe, ran the distillery until it was acquired by Destilerias y Crianza, of Madrid, in 1973. The main purpose for the distillery was to produce Scotch Malt to blend with their own Spanish spirit. After years of industrious production Lochside Distillery fell victim to the drinks industry over-production problems of the early 1990s.
Colour : Light gold.
Cask Type: Refill Bourbon barrels.
Style: Subtle Highland malt balanced with the sweetness from the bourbon casks.
AROMA without water: Sweet, scented, hint of camphor and a toasted maltiness.
TASTE without water: Sweet and spicy, malty notes again present.
AROMA with water: Perfumed with nutty aromas, the sweetness is now in the background.
TASTE with water: Smoky initially with earthy/herbal notes.
What I say:
During a recent shopping trip in Edinburgh, Paula and I decided to finally sample the Whiski Rooms in Edinburgh for a spot of lunch. I had been wanting to try it for ages but unfortunately the last opportunity had been Burn’s weekend (a night is no longer enough for the famous bard!). As such everywhere in Edinburgh was serving set Burn’s meals with Haggis (which I love) but we felt wouldn’t give a true representation of the place’s cuisine. Anyhow, after a fantastic lunch we perused their lengthy whisky menu and picked out a couple of choice drams for dessert. I opted for this Lochside simply because I had never sampled this closed distillery and stocks of Lochside whisky must be getting reasonably low enough to mean that I may never have tried it if I didn’t hurry up about it!
Pale gold (indicative of its refill bourbon barrel maturation)
Biscuits and cereals, freshly baked plain scones; fruity peaches and apricots and a little earthen peat with hints of nuttiness
An initially spicy cinnamon gives way to fruity and peaty bodied flavours that felt a little thin, the cereal and biscuit flavours from the nose returned on the palate but I was left with a sense of abrasiveness, perhaps 13 years is still a little young on this spirit?
Sharp and prickly then distinctly heart-warming; settles down to a long fruity jammy finish with hints of strawberries
Would I buy it again:
While it was definitely a pleasurable experience to sit and sip whisky from a lost distillery, whilst watching the world go by to the backdrop of the heart of Edinburgh, I am unsure if I would purchase a full 70cl bottle of this even if one were available. At auction, Lochside whiskies – including this 13 year old from Gordon & MacPhail – must be fetching a pretty penny these days. This seems to be one for the collectors as it tasted a little young and brash but with a lot of potential in it. Lets hope there is still some Lochside stock sitting maturing away somewhere in Scotland and maybe again one day our paths will cross. For the privilege of tasting a slice of Scotch whisky history at under a fiver – this was an absolute bargain; especially as I got to cross another distillery off my ‘to-taste list’.