Loch Lomond, unfortunately not available in the United States, offers an NAS entry-level malt for bottom dollar. In my unending quest to taste all of the budget drams no matter where they are sold, I sought a sample from Master of Malt’s Drinks by the Dram program. Loch Lomond is a small distillery that quietly churns out product, and that product goes by many names including Loch Lomond, Inchmurrin, and Old Rhosdhu (among others). While classified as a Highland (or West Highland) distillery based on its location in Alexdandria, near Dumbarton, it is literally just up the road from Glasgow. Its style is also in line with Lowland malts: simple, subtle, light, and crisp. This 40% ABV, no-age-statement bottling was aged in ex-bourbon casks.
Note: Loch Lomond has recently revamped their line and renamed their core bottlings. This review sample was from the older bottle with the blue label (pictured). The replacement is called “Loch Lomond Original”.
Nose: Very light and floral aroma, with some stronger notes of honey, lavender, green banana, lemon peel, and fresh unmalted barley.
Palate: Medium bodied. Honeyed, with a tinge of tongue burn despite the low ABV. Flavor profile is mostly grain-based, with homemade yeasty bread, mashed bananas, malted cereal, and oatmeal with honey.
Finish: Very short. A reprise of the cereal notes, plus a bit of that lavender and honey, crushed peanuts, and musty hay. Pleasant enough, and not bitter. Fades with some barky oak, although it leaves behind a patina on the tongue of wet cardboard.
With Water: A few drops of water release a note of aloe on the nose, but dampens the florals. It has no discernible effect on the rest of the experience. I’d skip the water.
Overall: A mild, unassuming dram. It reminds me of a slightly less successful ex-bourbon cask Balvenie. The nose is floral and clean, while the palate could use a few high notes and less bland malt. The finish is a bit weird, but all of this is nitpicking for an NAS malt priced under $30. In a constrained budget situation, I would put it up against Speyburn 10 and and be equally happy with either.
Regarding its age, I’d hazard a guess that it’s around 8 or 9 years on average.