The Whisky Exchange have been bottling some nice stuff over the last couple of months. The most recent one, apart from this Croftengea, is an Old Pulteney from 2004, which I *just* realized I haven’t reviewed yet. Shame on me. Luckily they don’t need my post for selling it since it was sold out before I even got the sample. (I’ll review it soon, I promise)
Now, they’ve gone and bottled a Croftengea. Where is that, you ask? It’s one of the brands from Loch Lomond Distillery in Alexandria, just above Glasgow. This brand is their heavily peated one, where Inchmurrin and Loch Lomond are unpeated, and Inchmoan is lightly peated. If I am not mistaken, this is made the same way as Inchmurrin in regards to distillation process, but I’ll not bore you with that here.
So, a heavily peated single malt from a distillery that’s making waves by suddenly releasing a lot of much better whisky than they used to. Rather interesting, if you ask me. Just a shame the price of their bottles has caught up with the market too. Can’t blame them, but I prefer things cheaper, if possible…
The ‘heavily peatedness’ of this whisky isn’t as heavy as I expected. There’s definitely some smoke there, but it’s not a punch to the jaw like some Ardbegs have. The peat is more of a highland style than it’s like Islay whiskies. There is a hint of salt, but apart from that it’s more a woody, plant like smoke instead of seaweed and moss. I get some thick and heavy pastry cream and milk. A tiny hint of some lemon zest too, with quite some oak.
The palate is tingling with some chili pepper heat. Quite some oak again, with some wood smoke and charcoal. I get some malted barley and light citrus, some smoke and burned wood. Grass and straw, milk and vanilla. Slightly salty again. Maybe some cured ham too?
The finish is a bit warmer than the palate was, and a bit dryer too. The smoke is a bit more gentle, with less vanilla than before. There’s still oak, some lemon and milk.
It’s always interesting to see what a distillery claims to be heavily peated. In some cases it’s insanely peated (Bruichladdich), in other cases it’s slightly more peated than they normally do, and in others there’s a whiff of peat which is only heavily peated because all their other stuff is completely unpeated. In this case, I think it’s more or less in the middle. It’s not as heavy as some Islay whiskies, but it’s definitely more peated than the majority of the mainland whiskies, and Loch Lomond’s other products.
Anyway, the whisky itself is rather tasty. There’s quite some different flavors going on and even though I think it’s a rather light whisky, it does have that charcoal, thick peat smoke and cured meat thing going on.
I rather like it, especially for a whisky that’s only nine years old. I had expected there to be less wood influence and more spirit, but the balance between those two is rather well done. A good whisky, for a good price!
Croftengea (Loch Lomond) 2008-2018, 9yo, 54.8%, OB for The Whisky Exchange. Available from The Whisky Exchange for 80 euros/70 pounds.
Thanks to The Whisky Exchange for the sample!