A rare grain whisky from a Highland distillery that fell silent in 1992 is set to be the next ultra-limited release from boutique bottling company The Last Drop Distillers – and it’s a beauty. Only 106 bottles (£2,400 each) – or what remains of a single cask – of Lochside Single Grain 1972 are being made available from the surviving stocks of the short-lived Lochside distillery, which closed its doors after just 35 years in production.
This whisky spent more than 44 years in cask before it was discovered by The Last Drop team, and yet it remains remarkably lively and supple. On the nose vibrant, slightly green, aromas of nectarine, celery seed and wet bracken lend freshness to more mature, oaky notes of custard creams and white truffle. On the palate a touch of characteristic grain silkiness is contrasted with peppery yuzu and fragrant peach slices, softening to a long, mellow finish redolent of spice-dusted egg custard and smoky mocha.
Like all Last Drop whiskies, Lochside Single Grain 1972 has been hand-bottled, direct from the cask, at its natural strength of 44 per cent abv. Yet it tastes more intense than that – in fact, a drop of water is really essential to tease out this whisky’s complexity.
Grain whisky is often written off as simple filler for blends, but this remarkable dram demonstrates how beautifully it can age if it’s given time in the right cask. In this instance, that cask was a second-fill ex-bourbon barrel, resulting in a much more nuanced vanilla/oak character than one usually finds in grain whiskies.
Each bottle of Lochside Single Grain 1972 comes presented in its own chocolate-brown leather case with an accompanying 50ml miniature, as well as a certificate of authenticity, a tasting booklet and a custom-made stopper.