Lochlea, the acclaimed farm-to-cask distillery nestled in the picturesque landscapes of Ayrshire, Scotland, is set to enchant whisky enthusiasts with the unveiling of their third seasonal limited edition - the Fallow Edition (Second Crop). This exquisite release marks the crescendo of their quartet of seasonal whiskies, each designed to celebrate and encapsulate the essence of a particular period in the farming calendar.
The Fallow Edition is an ode to autumn, a time when the farmlands breathe a sigh of relief and rejuvenate after the strenuous harvest season. This period is not only critical for the land but also an integral facet of Lochlea's sustainability practices, a central component of both the farm and the distillery.
Following nearly five months of barley cultivation, the bountiful harvest in September, the team at Lochlea employ a methodical approach to nurture and restore the land. They plant cover crops consisting of mustard and radish, which serve a dual purpose. These crops not only enhance the soil by preventing erosion but also provide essential sustenance for grazing sheep. The aftermath of this process results in enriched organic material, integral to maintaining the farm's natural and sustainable practices.
In a remarkable commitment to eco-conscious practices, Lochlea contributes by providing neighboring farmers with straw bales, a by-product of their barley growth. These bales, repurposed as cattle bedding, return as manure, which, in turn, is spread onto the barley fields during winter before the ploughing season, further enhancing the farm's ecological harmony.
Owner and farmer of Lochlea, Neil McGeoch, underlines the significance of the Fallow Edition in conveying their farm's unique story and the dedication to sustainable practices. He notes, "Fallow season within our farming calendar is a vital time of year for us to regenerate the land ready for our barley to grow well in the spring and summer. This release is so important to us, as it gives us a chance to tell the story of the farm and explain some of our sustainable practices."
The flavor profile of the Fallow Edition reflects the commitment to excellence and innovation. The whisky is matured exclusively in a blend of Oloroso and Pedro Ximénez sherry casks, with the Pedro Ximénez casks accounting for 55% and the Oloroso casks for 45%. This unique maturation process gives the whisky a distinct character, rich with sweet and spiced notes, making it an ideal companion for the dark, cozy evenings of autumn.
John Campbell, the Production Director at Lochlea, elaborates on the process, "In this ‘Fallow Edition’ (Second Crop) - the third in our new set of four seasonal limited editions – we have used a combination of Oloroso and Pedro Ximénez (PX) Sherry Butts. The introduction of the PX casks this year creates a very different flavor profile to our first release of ‘Fallow Edition’ (First Crop) last year, which saw us use only Oloroso casks."
Describing the tantalizing notes found within the Fallow Edition, Campbell reveals, "This warming and unctuous whisky starts with aromas of rich manuka honey, moving to luscious golden syrup and ground coffee beans. Layers of sweetly spiced candied ginger follow on the palate, leading to the finish offering hints of freshly crushed almonds."
With an alcohol by volume (ABV) of 46%, the Fallow Edition will be available to discerning consumers for £51.50 (approximately US$63) per 700ml bottle, commencing on October 26th.
The seasonal limited edition releases from Lochlea each serve as a tribute to a distinct time on the farm:
- Fallow Edition: Celebrating the fallow period in autumn, when the fields rest after the harvest.
- Ploughing Edition: Released during winter, this edition pays homage to the fields being ploughed in preparation for the upcoming spring.
- Sowing Edition: Inspired by the spring, this release marks the time when seeds are sown for the year's barley crop.
- Harvest Edition: Reflecting the annual harvest on the farm, this edition captures the essence of a fruitful season.
In addition to these seasonal delights, Lochlea offers a core whisky expression known as "Our Barley," available throughout the year. This unpeated single malt is a harmonious fusion of flavors, matured in a combination of three distinct casks: first-fill ex-bourbon, Oloroso sherry casks, and STR barriques. Launched in July 2022, "Our Barley" has garnered acclaim for its embodiment of a young, non-age statement (NAS) Lowlands whisky, proudly crafted from Lochlea's own home-grown barley, reinforcing the distillery's commitment to authenticity and excellence.
About The Lochlea Distillery
Lochlea Distillery is a relatively new addition to the world of Scotch whisky, located in the heart of Ayrshire, Scotland. Established in 2017, this distillery is part of a resurgence in craft whisky production in Scotland and adds to the growing list of whisky producers in the country.
The name "Lochlea" is inspired by a farm once occupied by the family of the famous Scottish poet Robert Burns, providing a connection to the region's rich literary and historical heritage. The distillery's location in Ayrshire is known for its lush farmlands and scenic beauty.
While it may take time for the whiskies produced at Lochlea to mature and become widely available, their commitment to producing high-quality Scotch whisky is evident. The distillery focuses on crafting its whisky in small batches, ensuring attention to detail and a hands-on approach to production.
As with many craft distilleries, Lochlea's emphasis on terroir and locally sourced ingredients is a hallmark of their production philosophy. They use the surrounding barley fields and water sources to create a unique sense of place in their whiskies.
While Lochlea Distillery may not yet have the long history of some more established Scottish distilleries, its dedication to craftsmanship, the use of local resources, and the connection to the legacy of Robert Burns make it a promising player in the world of Scotch whisky production. Whisky enthusiasts can look forward to future releases that reflect the character and traditions of this beautiful region in Scotland.