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Lochlea Distillery Debuts Inaugural Cask Strength Single Malt

Scotland’s Lochlea Distillery is a grain-to-glass operation, and now the Scotch brand said recently it is launching its first ever cask strength single malt whisky.

It’s part of a new series of annual special bottlings from the Ayrshire distillery.

A statement from the whisky maker notes that this inaugural high proof release, called Cask Strength Batch 1, was selected by Master Blender John Campbell and his team, and bottled straight from the cask at 60.1% ABV.

Lochlea Cask Strength Batch 1
Scotland’s Lochlea Distillery is a grain-to-glass operation, and now the Scotch brand said recently it is launching its first ever cask strength single malt whisky. (image via Lochlea)

The final iteration of the Scotch was aged in first-fill ex-bourbon and Oloroso Sherry casks that can stand up to the higher strength whisky, while amplifying the fruit, nut and cereal flavors that form part of Lochlea’s house style.

This Cask Strength expression follows on the heels of other unique expressions from the barley farm-based distillery since it introduced its first single malt whisky for Burns Night in January of 2022.

Lochlea celebrates the passing of the seasons that determine Lochlea’s own farming practices with several limited-edition whiskies throughout the year. They’re all made from the distillery’s own barley. Those seasonal edition releases are Sowing, Harvest, Fallow and Ploughing Editions.

Master Blender Campbell said, “Here at Lochlea we are passionate about the quality and traceability of our whiskies and this is reflected in every stage of our whisky-making process. From our own barley fields surrounding the distillery and our traditional wooden washbacks, to our sourcing of the finest casks available and racked warehouse storage, there are absolutely no compromises on our quality.”

He said their new cask strength whisky shows an amplified version of their signature Lochlea style. “A bold, yet elegant spirit made with a contemporary approach alongside respected traditions.”

David Ferguson, Lochlea’s commercial director, said, “It’s been a quick 18 months for us since the launch of our first whisky. The recent award wins for our core expression Lochlea Our Barley have been milestones for the distillery. Lochlea Cask Strength Batch 1 brings the Lochlea flavors that our customers have grown to love, but amps them all up a level. I look forward to allocating these bottles across our valued UK on and off-trade partners, and our importers across 20 markets in Europe, North America and Asia Pacific.”

Lochlea was originally a 222-acre livestock farm before being purchased by Neil and Jen McGeoch in 2006. In 2015, the couple transformed the land, then the existing farm buildings into a fully operational distillery.

The farming side of Lochlea paves the way for the distillery to be one of a handful of grain-to-glass distilleries in Scotland. Lochlea also has a wee bit of Scottish heritage with links to Robert Burns, the bard having worked and lived on the farm during his formative years from 1777 to 1784.

Cask Strength Batch 1 distiller’s notes:

On the nose, the whisky has a concentrated fruit punch note leading to soft cigar notes and aromatic coffee beans. It then develops with more signature Lochlea fruit, a hint of Brazil nuts and finishes with a moreish orange syrup mixed with aged oak shavings.

The casks used were a 70/30 split between first fill ex-bourbon and Oloroso Sherry.

Cask Strength Batch 1 is available from selected specialist whisky retailers for a suggested price of £65.

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