Loch Lomond finishes whisky in infrared-toasted barrels

by Melita Kiely

Scotch distiller Loch Lomond Group has unveiled a new single grain whisky that has been finished in infrared-toasted barrels.

The new single grain whisky, called Spearhead, is made at Loch Lomond’s distillery in Alexandria, Scotland, using a continuous Coffey-style still. The whisky was matured in ex-Bourbon barrels, before being finished in a mix of fire- and infrared-toasted virgin American oak barrels. The infrared barrels allow for an ‘exact level of toast’ to extract the natural flavours of the wood, which are then caramelised to give a ‘complex range of sweet notes’. Loch Lomond Distillery is currently the only site in Scotland to use infrared barrels to finish whisky. Calum Leslie, head of innovation at Loch Lomond Group, said: “We have been working very hard to create an innovative new Scotch whisky and we are pleased to finally launch Spearhead to market. “While this style of whisky is very popular in the Irish and American markets, there isn’t anything comparable in the Scotch sector. Spearhead is one of a kind, championing the single grain, something we know will resonate a lot with people. “Adopting our 200-year history of distilling, Spearhead has been created with the same level of care and expertise that goes into each and every one of Loch Lomond Group’s expressions.” Bottled at 43% ABV, Spearhead can be purchased online in the UK for an RRP of £30 (US$42), and will be available globally from summer 2021. Tasting notes include aromas of violet floral notes, blackcurrants, blackberries, vanilla pods, caramel and dark chocolate, leading to a ‘velvety mouthfeel’ with red apple, lime citrus, vanilla fudge and light brown sugar. The finish is said to be long, smooth and sweet. Spearhead single grain whisky will be distributed in the UK by Mangrove UK. In April, Loch Lomond released one of its rarest expressions to date, a 45-year-old single malt.