Most Lochsides I’ve tried have been from 1981. Both Lochsides I’ve owned are from 1981. There are some older versions out there, but most of these were from before I was interested in whisky of this caliber.
Lochside is one of those closed distilleries that weren’t very popular for a very long time. Then, for some reason, every bottler out there started releasing 1981 vintages (that is an awesome year, obviously). Somehow, it seemed, that was when Lochside peaked, before dwindling into closure in 1992.
What’s even more strange, is that I’ve not seen any Lochside releases from after 1981, but still in the eighties. Have those all been blended away over the decades? Even on Whiskybase there are 60 releases from 1981, and only 7 from the rest of the decade.
Anyway, to me Lochside means fruity bourbon cask matured whisky. Fruity as in pineapple, pear, apples, the yellow kind of fruit. I like the yellow kind of fruit.
Straw and a mountain of the well liked yellow kind of fruit hit me straight away. Apples and pear mostly. Some spices and some lactose, milky. Typical Lochside from 1981, with a hint of vanilla too.
The palate has some bite to it. There’s pepper and dryness, the fruit comes back a tad later. Sweet apple and pear, and canned pineapple. Tropical and syrupy. Even a hint of banana towards the end.
The finish is beautiful and even more fruity than before. Apple, pear, pineapple, banana. Some straw too, and it’s long.
I cannot say this is a surprisingly good whisky. What I can say is that this is a really good whisky. It’s just not very surprising. It is exactly what I expected and hoped it would be, and the kind of Lochside that’s popular.
The fruit forwardness of the whisky reminds me of why the older Irish expressions are so popular right now, since this is a rare thing and these whiskeys are doing that too, but slightly different.
The addition of some spices on the palate and straw throughout makes this more interesting, otherwise it would have been too simple. It is a tad simple as is, but the high quality of what’s there makes up for some of that.
Lochside 21, 1979-2000, 50%, Old Malt Cask, Douglas Laing