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Lochside (pronounced: LOK-side) is one of several greatly lamented losses in the world of Scottish whisky. Lochside has become a cult distillery, one whose make has seduced many whisky lovers with its profound elegance and intense fruitiness. Bottlings are still appearing thankfully and there seems to still be a good supply of aged stock so hopefully it is not yet time for Lochside bottlings to join the pantheon of ridiculously overpriced and unobtainable closed distilleries.
Stills: 2 Wash 2 Spirit
Water Source: Drill holes beneath the distillery
Owners: Pernod Ricard
1957-1992: A Short Life
Lochside was born out of a rapidly expanding whisky industry in the late fifties. It was originally a brewery but owners Macnab Distilleries converted the buildings into a distillery that would produce both malt and grain whisky. The distillery was kitted out with modern fixtures from the start, including steam heated stills and steel washbacks. It is curious then that the distillate it produced for so many years was characterized by so much old school fruitiness. The wood used at Lochside was almost all ex-bourbon casks but there are a few notable sherried exceptions, several of which are fantastic.
There are several stunning aged bottlings of Lochside from a variety of bottlers. The best are notable for their extremely concentrated green and tropical fruit characters. They can also be quite spicy, full-bodied and elegantly complex. Go for the aged bottlings from the late sixties if you can but there are many great bottlings these days from the early eighties that also show wonderful fruitiness. There was a 10yo official bottling for several years that can still be found at good prices and, depending on the batch, it can often be very good with trademark elegance and lushness of fruit.
By the late eighties/early nineties, Lochside's character had been tamed a little and the intensity of the fruit was more subdued. The style from these years is more austere, sweet and oily with the spice having a louder voice. Sadly Lochside was demolished in the mid nineties and is gone for good. This is a great shame as it was a phenomenal dram, capable of great intensity of flavour and one of a long dead breed of old style highland malts that were not so much about show as substance.