The tidy up operation was almost complete at the inaugural Fife Whisky festival and a memorable day was drawing to a close. As part of the volunteer team, we had given up our free time to hopefully assist in a successful event. It was refreshing to be part of the crew and for this experience, I didn’t ask for anything.
Once the stalls were packed away and the vendors merrily on their separate ways, various opened bottles were left behind as a thank you. I’m not sure what else was on offer, but I was drawn to the Inchmurrin from Loch Lomond distillery. Eighteen is such an iconic age for any distillery and apart from the twelve year old, I hadn’t had much experience with this style of Loch Lomond spirit.
For the record, Inchmurrin comes from the Lomond stills that feature rectifying heads. The use of these stills has dwindled in recent decades with only a few working examples left in production – Scapa is such an example – due to their constraints. Former distilleries and lost styles of malt include Inverleven, Mosstowie (at Miltonduff) and Glencraig (at Glenburgie), which took advantage of the flexibility the still design granted when introduced by Alistair Cunningham in 1955. Possibly the Lomond style of still is making a comeback with the new Inchdarnie distillery having such an example installed to assist with any triple distillation, as well as producing the first rye whisky to be distilled in this way. A small taste at the Fife Whisky Festival of the rye new make confirmed its potential.
The use of a trio of internal neck plates allowed the distiller to change the degree of reflux and interaction with the copper that in turn affected the style of spirit produced. The lyne arm could also be tilted to increase the reflux or not. The aim at Loch Lomond with these stills – arguably now more advanced than the original Cunningham design – is to create a lighter style of spirit, emphasising different flavours and characteristics to the more traditional Loch Lomond still style. It’s a recent arrival on the Scotch whisky scene having debuted in 2013 with the eye-catching packaging of another Loch Lomond revamp.
Thankfully the Day-Glo forest styling is no more and instead we have another visual revamp echoing a traditional approach and stylish footing. In many ways, this reflects the new confidence and ambition around Loch Lomond and its various styles of whisky. Don’t fear I’m not going to try and work my way through the labyrinth of expressions and styles that are produced within this adaptable complex which goes into double figures now.
This Inchmurrin 18 year old will set you back around £83 or it’s on Amazon currently for £80.78 and according to the official Loch Lomond website has matured in the finest hand-selected casks for this minimum period. It is non-chill filtered, but does feature colouring. Overall a mixed bag, but potentially an interesting whisky that’s more focused on a lighter, sweeter style without resorting to wine casks or virgin oak.
Inchmurrin 18 year old – review
Colour: stewed apple.
On the nose: candied orange peel immediately springs to mind, followed by lots of sugary sweetness with elments of icing sugar due to its drying nature and Rich Tea biscuits. Ageing banana skin, green mangoes, ginger root and dried strawberries towards the end. Returning after time, there’s a malted loaf dynamic now and white chocolate – it’s a very sweet nose upon reflection – water unsurprisingly brings about a lightness. Now evident are lemon pips, boiled confectionary and marzipan.
In the mouth: very chocolatey arrival with memories of a rich high percentage dark chocolate. There’s an enjoyable texture here which drifts past before wine gums on the finish. Prior to that lasting finish, there’s a dried oaky characteristic with walnuts, all-spice and a decayed vanilla. The addition of water I didn’t find to be very beneficial.
This Inchmurrin has a very interesting nose with some intriguing features, whether this is worth the circa £83 asking price is open to debate. There are few official bottlings from distilleries nowadays that I would pick up without too much thought. Surprisingly, this Inchmurrin is another potential entry on the list once you discover its charms.
Image kindly provided by The Whisky Exchange as is the commission link that will buy Noortje some new Jenga blocks, or the Amazon link – we have to keep the blocks replenished!