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I first sampled this Lochside at The Whisky Show last year when it was still yet to be released. Even among the sheer deluge of wonderful drams tasted that day it still stood out, partly by virtue of the sheer individuality and characterful nature of the spirit that Lochside produced and also as a result of excellent cask selection.
Nose: A little edgy, flighty and flinty at first which, in my experience, is typical of Lochside; pink grapefruit, beautiful passion fruit and tart red currant at the fore with tangerine underneath. A little paraffin oil and limestone sharpness sits behind. There are some nice mentholated suggestions with eucalyptus and a dry, slightly bitter background nuttiness; walnuts/almond oil. Water smoothes over some of the sharpness and brings out blood oranges and hints of dried apricot.
Taste: Richer than expected on delivery but still with an edgy, grassy quality and again the typical lochside fruits; grapefruit, a little passion fruit and orange pith. The nutty background found in the nose is also present, still all on walnut/pecan and bitter almond. A spicier presence starts to build with a touch of nutmeg but the tannins remain restrained with some dusty hessian and chalk. A faint touch of sweet fennel shows late on.
Feel: Rich, supple and silky, medium bodied.
Finish: Some toasted oak, white pepper and sustained, though faint, fruits. Medium length.
I tasted this bottling alongside two other 1981 Lochside’s, in the form of a Blackadder Raw Cask c#617 and a 2009 Gordon and MacPhail bottling for La Maison du Whisky. They were all lovely, with the Blackadder being notable with regard to complexity, however the example from The Whisky Exchange stood out for me. The added influence of the European oak seemed to add depth and interest without taking anything away from the spirits overt and beautiful “lochsideness”.
Many thanks got to Tim over at The Whisky Exchange for the sample.