March saw another first for The London Whisky Club, a hosted tasting by the good people at Loch Lomond Group. To be more specific by Ibon, the brand ambassador for the Loch Lomond Group. As a young club it is really exciting to see these events come together and provide even more opportunities to enjoy and share whisky. For the first brand led tasting we couldn’t have asked for more from Ibon, who was refreshingly honest and thoroughly entertaining throughout the evening.

Loch Lomond is one of the more interesting distilleries gracing the Scottish landscape. It’s relatively modern, having been built in the 1960’s. It is designed with flexibility built into its DNA and houses a variety of stills, meaning it can produce many different styles of distillate depending on requirements. Combine this with long fermentations and experimentation with different yeast strains and the flavour possibilities are endless. All these things were covered by Ibon on the night and we went home having learnt as much as we’d drunk.

As has become normal now, the event was well attended with a full room of people all eager to tuck into some tasty and interesting whisky. This time we were back at the Melody Whisky Bar in Hammersmith and we are very grateful for their hospitality throughout the evening.

Ibon poured a selection of whiskies on the night. We started with the Loch Lomond Single Grain, which is a 3 year old whisky made using 100% malted barley distilled in a column still. This was a first for me and many in the group and I was taken aback by how enjoyable it was for such a young age. We then moved on to the staple of the scotch age statement world, the 12 year old Loch Lomond. Ibon talked us through the various processes that make the spirit unique and worthy of investigation, not least the long fermentations and experiments with yeast. The 12 was very pleasant and a great way to warm up. Next we tried the 17 year old Organic whisky which hadn’t been released in the UK. Another interesting selection and many in the group picked this out as a favourite by the end of the night. Next up was a claret wood finished single malt at 19 years old. This was another favourite within the group and the cask had been subtle enough that it didn’t overpower, but integrated well with the spirit and gave some lovely fruit complex notes. We then moved into the realm of peat, first with the 12 year old Inchmoan. Again, the whisky geeks in the room got treated to lots of information about the different types of spirit produced at Loch Lomond and it was a great segue into one of the best peated whiskies released in 2017. The 1992 Inchmoan was a total delight and if you can find it for a reasonable price it is well worth picking up. The whiskies poured were as below:

Loch Lomond Single Grain

Loch Lomond 12 year old

Loch Lomond 17 year old Organic

Loch Lomond 19 year old Claret Finish

Inchmoan 12 year old

Inchmoan Vintage 1992

It was a great line up that worked well in its own right. There was enough variety that not only could everyone find something that suited their own palate but the flexibility of the distillery and variety of spirit produced was represented nicely. However, the one factor that made all the difference was Ibon himself. Never have I met a better ambassador for a brand of whisky. He was open, honest, humorous and clearly passionate about what he was doing. Once the event was finished it became a bit of a theme to hear people speak about how much they had enjoyed Ibon’s approach to the evening. I hope other companies take note, honesty and openness are some of the best marketing tools out there, and most of the time they’re free!

Looking forward there is much to get excited about. In April we have two events planned, the first being another brand led tasting by the Mackmyra distillery in Sweden, a distillery very much doing things the right way and making a good name for themselves in the process. That will be on the 17th, followed by a “whiskies under 10yo” evening on the 24th. Having seen some of the lineup it will definitely be one not to miss.