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Glenlochy

Glenlochy

Originally based in the western highlands near Ben Nevis and Fort William, Glenlochy (pronounced: glen-LOK-ee) is another of those wonderful yet sadly lost distilleries. Much more consistent in its product than many of the other, more wacky, closed distilleries, it is a great example of an old school highland malt. There are not as many bottlings of Glenlochy as we might like but the quality of the ones that do exist is pretty high across the board. Some are utterly exceptional.

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Glenlochy Distillery

Founded: 1898
Closed: 1983
Stills: 1 Wash 1 Spirit
Owners: Diageo

1960-1983: A Rufty Tufty West Coaster

Glenlochy, like most of the distilleries that closed in the early eighties was a small two still affair. It was moderniesed between 1965 and 1971, first with the introduction of mechanical stoking then steam heating. Other than this it still remained a fairly robust and old school malt for the majority of its lifetime.

The character of Glenlochy from the earlier years is one of big industrial oily, smoky and flint driven waxiness. There are subtle white fruits, resinous peaty notes and often a few coastal notes as well. The best bottlings are a 1952 49yo by Douglas Laing (very hard to find), a 1963 sherry cask by Signatory and a Rare Malts expression from 1969. These are all tricky to find these days, the majority of bottlings hail from the mid seventies onwards. There was an excellently old style 1974 13yo by Sestante at a massive 67%, it was a full on, mineral laced, fruity, waxy, oily, citrusy highland spirit, it can still be found for good prices.

By the early eighties the character was drier and more austere but big notes of wax, cereal, citrus, smoke, engine oil, farmyard and coastal asects were all common. The best examples again come from Signatory with some excellent casks from the SMWS as well.

As with many of these closed distilleries, the best time to try them is now before they start to disappear forever or become unfeasibly expensive. Glenlochy is one of the best, and most obscure, examples of the old highland style, and as such it is well worth trying. Hopefully there are still a few bottlers with stock but only time will tell.

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