Well, it is the third day of The Open today, and so we are looking at a third release by Loch Lomond as part of their continued allegiance with golfing masters: the Vintage 2002. This whisky has been created in collaboration with Kerr Cellars – a fine wines business set up by top US golfer Christie Kerr. The winery specialises in Napa and Sonoma Valley Californian wines, and this whisky has been matured in red wine casks from the winery for the final 3 years of its life. As the name suggests, the whisky was originally distilled in 2002 at Loch Lomond using a combination of spirit from their straight neck and swan pot stills. The batch has then been finished in the Kerr Cellars’ 2016 Calera Close Pinot Noir French Oak red wine casks. The release is limited to 4,000 bottles and has been captured at 48.1% ABV. The 70cl bottle is available via Loch Lomond Group for RRP £200.
Aaaaaaand we’re back to the golf course here, with those lovely grassy notes and a medley of fruit flavours bursting out of the vapours, particularly pineapple and watermelon. With a little time those summer fruits are joined by orchard fruits here too. After the initial sugary notes, there’s a burst of apples, pears and even oranges too. In fact, it is more like a chocolate orange. There is a distinct smell of almonds behind it all too. A little peaty/earthy smell in there somewhere as well. Just when you think you’ve got into the swing of it – a dire golfing reference there for you – it keeps on changing!
What a delivery. It is soooo soft and creamy on the palate. The fruit notes just glide across the tongue. It is definitely a dessert style of whisky, because there are just so many pudding-like flavours, and this would go down well after any meal. There’s the smell of numerous fruits, cream, biscuits, and custard. It is basically a malty, boozy, fruit-packed trifle. Well, I say boozy… it is actually quite understated in that department despite being 48.1%. Some stealthy alcohol percentage play. Fig rolls come to mind too.
The Loch Lomond oak makes its appearance on the finale. Despite all of those flavour profile notes above it is the cask history and oak flavour itself that is lasting and lingering ingredient. [I’ve resisted another ‘wood’ related golf reference here]
Soooo silky and smooth in texture. If it wasn’t £200 a pop and in such limited supply, I would be buying this whisky on the reg. It feels like a single malt whisky for a true dessert lover, with a really jammy type of body and sweetness. The alcohol is stealthy. Dangerously so. There are very few whiskies that I’ve tried that have ever invited another sip so quickly just to keep that fruity and sugary sweet flavour going on. It has a great combination of red wine flavours influencing the already fruity Loch Lomond spirit but also displays the oaky flavours that you’d experience in a red wine rather than those that you’d ordinarily get from a whisky cask, and it’s the cask that is the lasting and lingering note here. What I particularly like about this release is that it is a collaboration between a female golfer and a female business owner, which stands out in an industry and a sport that have both historically been so dominated by men. It is our solid belief at Whisky Unplugged that no sport or whisky (or any drink for that matter) should be marketed to some groups at the exclusion of others. As we have seen with the recent divide of opinions over the ‘Jane Walker’ releases, there is a fine balance to tackling this issue inclusively. That’s our 2p’s worth anyway. Loch Lomond haven’t sounded any bells or whistles about the creative forces behind this whisky and have simply put out a really delicious dram. Long may it continue.
Sample disclosure: This sample was received as part of a Tweet Tasting event hosted by The Whisky Wire, and a promotional event with Loch Lomond whiskies in advance of The Open Championship 2019. All tasting notes however are intended as an honest, fair and independent review of the whisky.