Scotch whisky distillery Lochlea has revealed the first whisky in a new annual seasonal range and details of its inaugural core single malt.
Lochlea Distillery is the result of a more than £6 million (US$7.8m) investment. Production of the liquid started in August 2018 with the first casks filled and stock laid down in their on-site warehouse.
The new annual limited edition series is inspired by the changing seasons at Lochlea Farm in Ayrshire, Scotland.
The first expression in Lochlea’s new seasonal range is the 48% ABV Sowing Edition whisky. The product reflects spring, when the distillery starts sowing the seeds for this year’s barley.
It was matured in first-fill Bourbon barrels and is non-chill-filtered and bottled at natural colour.
John Campbell, Lochlea production director and master blender, said of the Sowing Edition: “We chose 23 first-fill Bourbons hand selected from the first filling the distillery completed in September 2018. We chose 23 very flavourful casks, combined them together and bottled them at 48% ABV.”
Campbell said the flavours expected from Sowing are “vanilla, and lots of green apple in Lochlea, its signature fruit”. He added: “It gets a wee sweeter with Bonbon flavours and grassy flavours from the cereal, it smells a bit like straw and then leads to cooked biscuits and gentle aromatics. There’s a nice bit of spice coming through from the cask.”
The release of Sowing Edition follows the distillery’s inaugural bottling, Lochlea Single Malt First Release, which launched on Burns Night (25 January) this year, with 7,500 bottles and sold out within 24 hours.
Lochlea Sowing Edition is available from whisky and spirits shops around the UK from 21 March, priced at RRP £50 (US$65). It will also be available in 10 export markets.
Sowing Edition will be followed by a summer release, Harvest Edition, then Fallow Edition in autumn, and Ploughing Edition in winter.
There will be 7,000 bottles of Sowing Edition available, while the rest of the range will have around 9,000 bottles available, Campbell said.
Campbell said the new range will focus on different cask styles. Harvest Edition will use European oak and be double matured in Port casks, while Fallow will be a first-fill oloroso Sherry cask. Finally, Ploughing will be a nod to Campbell’s past and will be matured in ex-Laphroaig whisky barrels.
Campbell joined Lochlea in November 2021, after more than 25 years at Islay producer Laphroaig, where he most recently served as distillery manager.
Campbell said it was “exciting to get out of my comfort zone” and define the character of Lochlea. “The main reason I’m here is I wanted to be responsible for creating new liquid and push and be different. Going from heavily peated to unpeated also presents different challenges,” he added.
Campbell said Lochlea plans to release its first permanent whisky in July, which will be aged for nearly four years and made with a combination of different cask styles.
He said: “We’re 90% of the way to completing our recipe, it will be Bourbon, European oak and oloroso Sherry casks. There’s some nice vanilla coming through, green apple and grassy notes. There’s floral aromatics from the European oak and nice dry fruits coming through from the Sherry casks.”
Campbell is also planning for the long term and aims to release several age statements in the future, including a 25-year-old.