In 1953, the Distillers Company Limited
(DCL, a predecessor of Diageo) purchased the assets of
Train & MacIntyre Limited from its American owners, National Distillers Products Corporation and
Glenlochy distillery was transferred to the Scottish Malt Distillers entity (SMD, a subsidiary of DCL).
Also included in the sale were a number of other Scotch whisky distilleries; Glenesk, Benromach
and Glenury Royal. In 1968, the Glenlochy distillery was closed once more - along with Oban and
Glen Garioch. In April 1986 an application to demolish the distillery buildings was made to the
Lochaber District Council - but the application was rejected at the time.
Fortunately (I'm using the phrase sarcastically in this case), the economic crisis of the early 1980's
came in handy for the corporate owners of the Glenlochy distillery. In May 1983 they got another
opportunity to close down the Glenlochy distillery - along with Banff, Brora, Dallas Dhu, Glen Albyn,
Glen Mohr, Knockdhu, North Port and Saint Magdalene. All these distilleries were indeed closed
and the distillation equipment was removed from all of these distilleries within a few years.
1) The Glenlochy distillery became operational on April 4th, 1901 (although it was established in 1898).
2) The current owner of the remaining Glenlochy buildings is the Lochaber Housing Association.
The only distillery buildings that have survived are the kiln and the maltings; the rest was demolished.
3) The nearby Loch Morar (North-West of Fort William) is the deepest loch in Scotland.
It reaches down 1,077 feet (328 meters) and is ranked the seventeenth deepest lake in the world.
4) Glenlochy is one of the rarest single malt whiskies on the market.
There are only a few dozen expressions on the Malt Maniacs Monitor.
Glenlochy 24yo 1980 (58.6%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society, 6.211)
Nose: 'Serious', but not very expressive. Apple pie. It improved with some time and water.
Taste: Feels good on the palate, although just like the nose it's not very complex or expressive.
Score: 80 points - which makes this whisky from Glenlochy recommendable, but just barely...
Glenlochy 27yo 1974/2002 (53.3%, Signatory Vintage, 29/11/1974, 11/11/2002, C#4459)
Nose: Sweet and polished with some sherry - but not too much. They have got the balance just right.
It was just delightful on my tongue; sweet and creamy. Lovely stuff! A highly recommendable whisky.
Score: 87 points - which I have to admit was a surprise; most obscure distilleries are obscure for a reason...
Glenlochy 49yo 1952/2001 (43%, Douglas Laing Old Malt Cask, Bourbon Refill)
Nose: Wood & tobacco. Heavy fruits. You can smell the time. Maggi! Pipe smoke? Crayons? Clay? Pine? Sorrel?
Taste: Oy... A tad perfumy in the start. Mellow fruity centre. Salt. Bubblegum. Something faintly metallic.
Score: 88 points - by far the oldest whisky from Glenlochy I've ever tried was also the best so far.
Glenlochy 1977/1994 (40%, Gordon & MacPhail Connoisseur's Choice, 70cl)
This whisky was bottled in 1994, which makes it around 17 years old.
Nose: The nose was very restrained for a malt way in its teens. A hint of smoke and cigar tobacco. Coffee?
Taste: The taste was very soft as well. Sweetish, with a little smoke. Just not enough character.
Quite a disappointment considering its age (this one is almost twenty years old) and its steep price.
Score: 67 points - OK - this proves that age doesn't improve everything. Certainly not this Glenlochy...
These were not all (official & independent) bottlings of Glenlochy Scotch whisky I've tried over the years.
Besides, these tasting notes only reflect my own, personal opinion; your tastes might be different from mine.
Fortunately, you can find the scores and tasting notes from up to two dozen other whisky lovers in the 'Malt Maniacs Monitor' - an independent whisky database with details on more than 15,000 different whiskies from Scotland and the rest of the world. Visit the Glenlochy page on the MMMonitor and select 'scorecard view' if you want to know how other whisky lovers felt about the few dozen of Glenlochy expressions that were released in recent years. However, if you'd like to learn more about whisky in general (and single malt Scotch whisky in particular), you might want to check out the Beginner's Guide to Scotch whisky (10 chapters filled with everything you need to fully enjoy and appreciate a glass of single malt whisky) or the mAlmanac (sort of a rudimentary whisky shopping guide.)
Glenlochy (Pronounced: Glen LOCK-key)
56°49'37.06"N, 5° 5'6.75"W
Ben Nevis (Further away: Oban & Dalwhinnie)
Inactive - Glenlochy was closed in 1983
1 Wash still, 1 Spirit still
Diageo > SMD / DCL (since 1989)
North Road, Inverlochy, Fort William, Inverness-shire
Below, on WhiskyFun and on the Malt Maniacs Monitor
Scores & tasting notes:
The Glenlochy distillery
in the Highlands was founded in 1898
by David McAndie of the Glenlochy-Fort William Distillery Co. The
distillery gets it name from the Lochy river that flows through
the town of Fort William at the foot of Ben Nevis mountain.
Apart from Ben Nevis and Glenlochy, there used to be another
distillery in the area; named 'Nevis'. These days Ben Nevis is
the only remaining active distillery in this part of Scotland.
Glenlochy was one of the many distilleries that were founded
during the 'whisky boom' at the end of the 19th century - and
unlike many other malt whisky distilleries that were founded in
the same period it managed to remain operational afterwards.
Glenlochy was silent from 1919 to 1924 and from 1926 to 1937,
during which period the distillery changed hands a few times.
The ownership was transferred to DCL / SMD in 1953, but they
didn't manage to turn it into a winner. Glenlochy was closed in
1983; the typical distillery buildings are now used as offices.
Those were the highlights of the (relatively brief) history of Glenlochy.
There's not much else to tell, but here are a few more nuggets of information about the Glenlochy distillery which you might find of interest.
For a few years, the remote town of Fort William was home to no less than three malt whisky distilleries; Nevis, Ben Nevis and Glenlochy. Nowadays both the Nevis and Glenlochy distilleries are closed and decommissioned; Ben Nevis (owned by Nikka from Japan) is the last surviving distillery in Fort William.
The Glenlochy distillery has been silent during World War I, in the period
from 1919 to 1924 and from 1926 to 1937. That means that the distillery
has been active for just a little over sixty years. This short history doesn't
make it the most short-lived malt whisky distillery of Scotland by a
long shot - but Glenlochy's 'track record' isn't very impressive either.
In 1937 Glenlochy was purchased by Train & MacIntyre Ltd. (One of its
shareholders was Joseph Hobbs who also owned Ben Nevis Distillery.)
In 1992 the pagoda and maltings were sold to West Coast Inns. The surviving distillery buildings were converted into flats for sale and rent. Like the buildings of Saint Magdalene they now offer the ultimate shelter for whisky lovers.
Is the distillery or