Lochside 18yo 1991/2009 (56.7%, Gordon & MacPhail, Reserve, Refill Bourbon Barrel #15220, 106 bottles)

Yet again we have one of the many 1991 Lochsides, and one of the many that were issued as a Gordon & MacPhail Reserve. This one was picked by Dutch retailer Van Wees. Gordon & MacPhail code for this one is JI/ACAC. The spirit was distilled on September 18th, 1991 and eventually bottled on October 15th, 2009. Picked by Van Wees in July 2009. Those of you that meticulously read this blog probably had a Deja Vu experience. We know this bottle, we know this lay-out. Well yes and no. February 4th 2013, I published a review of quite a similar Lochside, opened by Master Quill’s Apprentice (like this one). That was Cask #15217, here we have sister cask #15220, distilled and filled on the same day. This one was bottled some five months earlier, so here we have a chance to compare the two, to see what the effects are of another, but similar cask, and almost half a year of maturation…

Color: Gold (ever so slightly fuller in color)

Nose: Clean and fruity. Distant wood. Clay and organic. Dusty with smoked ham. All in good balance, but nothing pops out. A very quiet Lochside. The esters I remember from the “other” Barrel, are here too. Vanilla from the wood. The yeast is way down in this one, and there is no peat, rubber or petrol. It’s easier on the nose (more balanced), more rounded out, but also less complex. When nosing this a long time, slightly more (sour) oak comes along, but still not a lot, and it gets fresher, but in a mint and menthol kind of way. Also cherry liquor bonbons. The chocolate from them are in this Whisky too.

Taste: Sweet and farmy, with a great sweetish attack. Definitely less woody, at first, than the other Barrel. A nice peppery bite, next to the sweetness and the fruity, farmy notes. Again a nice big body, aided by the ABV. Honey and a great balance. Here too a chocolate liqueur bon-bon. Big body with a matching long and balanced finish. The wood is a lot more contained within this Lochside. Less vanilla though, so the wood reacted differently, it gave slightly more color, but less wood and vanilla. If you let it breathe for some time, the wood does play a larger role, and overall this is less “deep”.

You can’t go wrong with these kinds of Lochsides. There are a lot of 1991 bottles around, but they all are slightly different. sure the family resemblance is there, but I’ve tasted more of the 1991 G&M Reserve, and they all are variations of a theme. I feel it’s safe to say that some four or five months of extra maturation has a smaller effect on the maturation of a whisky, than te particular staves that were used making the barrel. Maybe I’m wrong. I just can’t imagine that the differences between cask #15217 and #15220, come from the small difference in maturation time. Here the “younger” one is more balanced but also less complex. For me I prefer the nose of barrel #15220 over #15217. Considering the taste, this one is easier, and less complex, but it has a better balance. All in all it’s definitely the same family, but the easiness, better balance and containment of the wood, the added farmyness and the difference in fruityness, makes me score this even two points higher. I just like this one better!

Points: 88

Thanks go out to Erik for providing yet another Lochside sample.


Lochside 1991/2003 (43%, Gordon & MacPhail, Connoisseurs Choice, JC/FG)

I once tasted the 2007 version of a 1991 Gordon & MacPhail Connoisseurs Choice Lochside and really wasn’t too happy about that. It was very light as opposed to the Lochsides chosen for the Gordon & MacPhail Reserve range. I don’t know if its only reduction that shows the difference, or maybe better casks are chosen for the Reserve range. I said ‘better’ as opposed to ‘different’ since I know that in both ranges Refill Bourbon Barrels were used. If you want to compare this 2003 Connoisseurs Choice bottling with a Gordon & MacPhail Reserve bottling, Please take a look at Cask #15217 I reviewed earlier. There is a difference of almost 17% in ABV between these two!

Lochside 1991/2003 (43%, G&M, CC, New Map Label, JC/FG)Color: Light Gold.

Nose: Fruity and light, maybe slightly sweet. Hints of distant smoke. Slightly waxy and more yellow fruits. Peach, apricots that sort of fruit. Not banana’s! Slightly malty, but its a young Whisky. Besides this, it also has a powdery and dusty side to it. Hardly any wood and very clean and easy. Still I can’t get rid of the image of diluted sugar in the back of my mind. Clay and a little bit of wood after a few minutes in the glass.

Taste: Well this starts with, …wood and some clay! Something I would have never guessed smelling this. It starts with wood and some character building bitterness. Than a quick brake-down and very short finish. This all happens very quickly. Let’s try again and see what else is in this. Very malty and watered down yellow fruit syrup, again in the apricot part of the garden, but not very sweet. Floral again. Do I detect some smoke in the taste of this Lochside? It isn’t a rounded out Whisky. It has some markers and that’s it really. Unbelievably short finish, with more bitterness than expected.

Your un-complex and summer malt this is. Very light and inoffensive. light, clean and fruity and dare I say, feminine? It the Whisky worlds answer to Lemonade (just without the acidity). The sour part is replaced by some fruity sweetness and a floral perfume. On the palate the wood does its magic. Spicy and a bit bitter.

For me this Whisky really did suffer from reduction. When compared to other 1991 bottled by Gordon & MacPhail (at cask strength), this can’t match up to those. Is it the reduction, or the casks chosen for use in the Connoisseurs Choice range and the Gordon & MacPhail Reserve range?

Points: 80

Lochside 18yo 1991/2010 (59.7%, Gordon & MacPhail, Reserve, Refill Bourbon Barrel #15217, 149 bottles)

Here we have one of the many 1991 Lochsides, and one of the many that were issued as a Gordon & MacPhail Reserve. This one was picked by Dutch retailer Van Wees. Gordon & MacPhail code for this one is AJ/JBEC. The spirit was distilled on September 18th, 1991 and eventually bottled on March 8th, 2010. Alas we don’t know exactly the date when Han van Wees tasted it and picked this ;-). Kudos to Gordon & MacPhail for all the information on the bottle and back label.

Color: Gold

Nose: Clean and farmy or organic. The wood is upfront too. Slightly yeasty and estery, which makes it a bit fruity. But the fruit isn’t here in abundance. Actually it is pretty dusty and comes across as dry. Do I detect some fatty peat in here? Small hints of rubber and smoke. This definitively is one to work with, and then the best things are in the details. There are some hidden treasures in this. Some vanilla, cream and petrol. Complex and nicely balanced. The longer I nose this the better it gets. Definitively peat and clay in here. Salty too. I’ve got to stop nosing this, otherwise this will never end…

Taste: Sweet and woody. On the precipice of bitterness. Still the bitterness is controlled by the sweetness. Nice big body, and the ABV helps with this. Creamy vanilla again, but with a bite from the wood. In the depth there is some sugared dried yellow fruits, Apricots are the most recognizable. The sweetness is also aided by some late acidity, that transports the hint of yellow fruit. It seems to me as if someone squeezed some lemon into this. peppery, woody attack. The finish is slightly off-balance, but overall this is a very good malt.

It seems to me you can’t go wrong with these kinds of Lochsides. There are a lot of 1991 bottles around, but they are all different. sure the family resemblance is there, but I’ve tasted more of the 1991 G&M Reserve, and they all are variations of a theme. Even the reduced Connoisseurs Choice are very drinkable summer whiskies. If that is the case I would say that these 1991 Reserve’s are more of your winter dram. Recommended.

Points: 86

Thanks go out to Erik for providing yet another sample.

Lochside 28yo 1981/2009 (56%, Blackadder, Raw Cask, Cask #617, 202 bottles)

One from the (in)famous Raw Cask series. A lot of ‘stories’ are told about this one. For instance that Blackadder just throw any toasted cask trash they can get their hands on in there during bottling.  That would be a shame wouldn’t it? Blackadder are also the people who bring us bottlings from the Aberdeen Distillers series and the Clydesdale series in the dumpy bottles.

The whisky in the bottles was distilled on the 23rd of February 1981 and was bottled in june 2009. Why do we know the day of distilling, but not the day of bottling? And why does anyone bother to put ‘Oak Cask’ on the label? What else is there? Plastic, Japanese Fig? Still, Blackadder gives us more information than a lot of others…

Lochside Distillery commenced as a Whisky Distillery in 1957, but before that is was a brewery. The side was mothballed in 1992 and demolished twelve years later. Most bottles that are around today are from 1981 and 1991 and come from all kinds of casks, no, not plastic and Japanese Fig, but Bourbon and Sherry. Barrels, hogsheads and butts.

Color: Gold with a slight greenish hue.

Nose: Fresh, spicy, but not very woody. Fat make-up powder. Vanilla with old paint. Licorice. Hints of a damp cellar. Flowery and you would expect it to be dry in the taste. After a while it develops in the glass. Sweat and dry construction wood or sawdust. If you give it some time and work it a bit, than it can be a very rewarding smell. In a laid back or introvert way. Again vanilla ice cream. Nice balance.

Taste: Wow, full body and spicy, Vanilla with apricot sauce. Nice! Yeah, this is it. Slightly beer like bitterness in the finish ánd black pepper. Alcoholic cherry bon-bon. Blueberry juice and creamy vanilla. Yes this has it all. When the bottle was opened at the Genietschap Lochside tasting, this was very closed and hard to score, but it has now opened shop. Very good. Like the nose, you have to work it a bit and give it a chance, but when you focus on the details, this is a gem!

Points: 91