This inaugural high proof release - Lochlea Cask Strength Batch 1 - has been carefully selected by master blender John Campbell and his team, bottled straight from the cask at 60.1% ABV.
The final spirit has been aged in first-fill ex-bourbon and Oloroso sherry casks that work particularly well at higher strength, amplifying the fruit, nut and cereal flavours that form part of Lochlea’s house style.
The casks used comprise approximately a 70/ 30 split between first fill ex-bourbon and Oloroso sherry.
Cask Strength follows an array of releases from the barley farm-based distillery since it introduced its very first single malt whisky for Burns Night in January 2022 – Lochlea First Release Single Malt Whisky.
Last summer also saw an exciting permanent addition to the range – Lochlea Our Barley.
The unpeated single malt is a marriage of three different casks: first-fill ex-bourbon barrels, Oloroso sherry butts and STR barriques, all of which add depth of flavour to the spirit.
Launched in July 2022, Our Barley has received much acclaim and multiple awards as a superb example of a young non-age statement (NAS) whisky made entirely from the distillery’s own home-grown barley.
In celebration of the seasons that govern Lochlea’s own farming practices, the distillery has also released limited edition seasonal whiskies throughout the year, all made from the distillery’s own barley.
The seasonal edition releases are: Sowing, Harvest, Fallow and Ploughing Editions. 2022 saw the first edition or ‘Crop’ of each season release with a follow up of each to be revealed again in 2023.
John Campbell, master blender said: “Here at Lochlea we are passionate about the quality and traceability of our whiskies and this is reflected in every stage of our whisky-making process.
"From our own barley fields surrounding the distillery and our traditional wooden washbacks, to our sourcing of the finest casks available and racked warehouse storage, there are absolutely no compromises on our quality.
"Our new Cask Strength whisky enables this quality to shine through in every dram, showing an amplified version of our signature Lochlea style for those whisky-lovers looking for an extra special something: a bold, yet elegant spirit made with a contemporary approach alongside respected traditions.”
David Ferguson, commercial director added: “It’s been a quick 18 months for us since the launch of our first whisky.
"The recent award wins for our core expression Lochlea Our Barley have been milestones for the distillery, and we’re now following these up with our first ever Cask Strength release.
"Lochlea Cask Strength Batch 1 brings the Lochlea flavours that our customers have grown to love, but amps them all up a level.
"I look forward to allocating these bottles across our valued UK on and off-trade partners, and our importers across 20 markets in Europe, North America and Asia Pacific.”
Lochlea was originally a 222 acre livestock farm before being purchased by Neil and Jen McGeoch in 2006.
After much consideration of the future of the farm and a successful trial to grow its own barley in 2015, the couple transformed the land and existing farm buildings into a fully operational distillery in 2017 and started distilling the following year.
The farming side has remained a huge part of Lochlea, with the move into barley production paving the way for Lochlea to be one of the very few grain-to-glass distilleries in Scotland.
It also has a rich Scottish heritage with strong links to Robert Burns, with the bard having worked and lived on the farm during his formative years from 1777 to 1784.
Ahead of the first whisky release in 2022, the team has focused on getting the distillery and business up and running - its quietly confident, yet ambitious approach since being established is starting to make its neighbours sit up and take notice.
Cask Strength Batch 1 begins with a concentrated fruit punch note leading to soft cigar notes and aromatic coffee beans. It then develops with more signature Lochlea fruit, a hint of Brazil nuts and finishes with a moreish orange syrup mixed with aged oak shavings.
Cask Strength Batch 1 launches on Wednesday 31 May and will be available from selected specialist whisky retailers, RRP: £65.