Whisky Magazine Issue 3
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Neil Wilson vistis Loch Lomond Distillery, where four pot stills and a continuous still add up to seven single malts and a soon-to-be-released single blend. And it's done with technology, not mirrors
On one of my trips north to Speyside some years ago I recall an American visitor asking the be-kilted Australian tour guide at Glenfiddich what a ‘double malt' was. Her confusion had been prompted by the fact that so many distillers referred to ‘single malts'. I sympathized with her entirely.
All of this came back to me when I was talking to Gavin Durnin, sales and marketing director of the Loch Lomond Distillery Company. ‘We're making a single blend here, you know,' he said.
‘What?' I said.
‘A single blend: that means our own malts married to our own grain whisky.' Now, the problem is this: I knew that Loch Lomond possessed four curious pot stills, which allowed it to create differing styles of malts, and I knew it had a state-of-the-art grain distillery. It produces, in fact, all the grain whisky (around 10 million litres of grain alcohol a year) it needs, and it has some over to sell as well; it also has its own cooperage. But a viable blend needs more than just four malts and a grain. Many blends use far more: perhaps 20 or 30 malts, which might include some Speyside, some Islay, some Highland – you get the picture. Loch Lomond's four pot stills would, on the face of it, seem inadequate to the task.
The pot stills themselves are odd by any standards. Don't look for graceful swan necks and sweeping lyne arms here; these stills are real rarities in today's distilling world. The system employed is a throwback to the one which was first used in Dumbarton by...