Our regions of Scotch whisky campaign continues with a trip around southern Scotland to the Lowlands. It doesn’t always get the spotlight of the likes of Islay and Speyside, but there’s whisky aplenty here to enjoy and the area is thriving with new distilleries and drams to get stuck into.
Nothing lowly about the Lowlands
For years, whisky fans will have told there’s a few distilleries in the Lowlands reliably churning out a brand of light, floral, and grassy malt whiskies, and maybe something about Auchentoshan doing triple distillation. But this region dates back to the end of the 18th century when it was first defined and was once home to over 100 distilleries, and today is a hotbed of new talent. It’s also a region that has always had a thriving grain whisky scene, with the likes of Cameronbridge keeping the whisky world flush with blending stock and single grain bottlings.
There are now 17 whisky distilleries, with more in the pipeline – perhaps most excitingly, the resurrection of Rosebank, which closed in 1993. Joining established names like Bladnoch, Glenkinchie, and Littlemill are the likes of Annandale, Daftmill, Eden Mill, Kingsbarns, the Glasgow Distillery Company, and Lindores Abbey establishing unique spirit characters in tourist-friendly sites surrounded by all the barley you can shake a blade of barley at. The Lowlands may have once been the dusty back page of a whisky menu, but that’s all changed now.
Whiskies to try:
Glenkinchie 12 Year Old. A fantastic introduction to the region, Glenkinchie 12 Year Old has all the characteristic lightness and grassy elements that Lowland whiskies are known for with a very fruity profile full of stewed fruits, dessert wine, apple peels, and honey.
Lochlea Our Barley. The first single malt to join the Lochlea’s core range and a great example of how the region is thriving. Matured in a combination of bourbon, oloroso sherry, and STR (shaved, toasted, and re-charred) barriques, this whisky has honey, sugared orange peel, and soft notes of grassy malt.
Annandale Man O’Sword Vintage 2016 – Sherry Cask (cask 541). Peated Lowlander here from Annandale, matured in an oloroso sherry seasoned hogshead before being re-racked into a refill hogshead. It’s rich and fruity, with spiced mince pies, vanilla fudge, and soft smoke.
You can also win a trip to The Lowlands at Ailsa Bay, a distillery that doesn’t usually take visitors, by purchasing either: Ailsa Bay Release 1.2 Sweet Smoke and Ailsa Bay Release 1.2 Sweet Smoke Gift Pack with Glass.