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