Lochside distillery

Where to find Lochside

Lochside Scotch Whisky

Lochside  (Pronounced: just like it's written)
Eastern Highlands
5643'47.40"N, 227'51.40"W
North Port - Brechin, Glencadam, Glenesk
1957
Closed (in 1992, demolished in 2005)
Drill holes beneath the distillery
2 Wash stills, 2 Spirit stills
Unknown
Pernod Ricard > Allied Domecq (since 2005)
Montrose, Angus DD10 9AD, Scotland, UK
-
No
No
Only a 'MacNab' 10yo OB from the early 1990's
Below, on WhiskyFun and on the Malt Maniacs Monitor

Lochside location

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Lochside whisky

Lochside distillery in the new millennium

2005 - The old buildings of the Lochside malt whisky distillery which was closed in 1992 are demolished.
 
2009 - Almost two decades after the distillery was closed, the occasional independent bottling of Lochside is still released. Many bottlers (like Berry Brothers, Cadenhead's, Douglas Laing and Murray McDavid) seem to have run through (most of) their stocks in the early noughties, but other bottlers like Blackadder, Gordon & MacPhail or The Whisky Fair still manage to bottle the occasional cask of the Lochside malt whisky. The last bottling of the grain whisky that used to be produced there was the Lochside 42yo 1963 (45,2%, Douglas Laing, The Clan Deny, C#HH243)
 

Lochside distillery, Scotland

Lochside (located North of Montrose in the eastern Highlands)
was rebuilt in 1957 from Deuchars' Beer Brewery as a malt and
grain whisky distillery by Macnab Distilleries. The Coffey still that
produced the grain whisky was removed in 1973. During the
time that the distillery was owned by MacNab the distillery
even had its own bottling line
 
Lochside was bought in 1972 by a subsidiary of Domecq, who
were in turn acquired by Allied Distillers in 1992. The distillery
was closed down right away in 1992 and the warehouses were
closed five years later in 1997. The distillery equipment was
dismantled around that time as well. For a long time permission
for the demolation of the remaining buildings was not granted,
but just after permission arrived in 2004 Lochside burned down.

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Trivia about Lochside

1) The Lochside distillery started its life as a brewery which was built in 1781. James Deuchar & Sons Ltd. (a brewery based in Newcastle upon Tyne that would later grow into Scottish & Newcastle) owned the brewery buildings during the 19th century.

2) Murray McDavid used a nickname for Lochside; they called it "Springbank of the East".

3) One of the shareholders of Macnab Distilleries Ltd. was Joseph W. Hobbs who also owned the Ben Nevis distillery in Fort William. Just like Ben Nevis Lochside used to produce both malt and grain whisky.

4) Lochside is located circa 60 kilometres north of Edinburgh - in the Eastern Highlands.
 

Lochside single malt whisky

Lochside 29yo 1981/2010 (51,8%, The Nectar Daily Dram)
Nose: Very heavily sherried. Raisins and smoke. Passion fruit emerges after a minute. Grows more perfumy.
Taste: Fruity with a hint of peat. Very smooth, but like some Bowmores of the past its VERY perfumy in the finish.
Score: 81 points - it could almost be a Bowmore Darkest with the combination of smoke and perfume.

Lochside 1981/2009 (56.1%, Gordon & MacPhail Cask for La Maison du Whisky, refill sherry hogshead #803)
Nose: Grainy for a few seconds before it opens up. Fruits, spices and a hint of dust. Light, open and accessible.
Passion fruits. Quite complex, but it lacks the development over time it would need to reach the upper 80's.
Taste: Big, fruity start. Sweet centre with many layers. Passion fruit. Excellent mouth feel; beautiful balance.
Just a tad dry and gritty in the finish, which keeps the score in the lower 80's in my book.
Score: 84 points - the nose started off very complex, but it grows simpler after a few minutes.

Lochside 28yo 1981/2009 (56%, Blackadder Raw Cask, Cask#617, 202 Bts.)
Nose: Hints of oil and dust. Some development over time, but not a lot. Very faint spices.
Crisp and clean. Grows fruitier and sweetens out a bit over time, but it remains fairly bland.
Taste: Light fruits in the start. Fairly dry finish and centre. Just like the nose, it sweetens out a little over time.
The generic fruitiness grew into specific passion fruit. At the very end of the long finish some brilliant tannins.
Score: 82 points - but if we hadn't agreed to 'freeze' MM Awards scores I would have raised it to 84/85 later.

Lochisde 40yo 1966/2007 (54.4%, Signatory Vintage, cask #7536, 213 bottles)
Nose: Leather. Rubber? Quite expressive and SO interesting that I got lost and forgot to make notes ;-)
Taste: Wow! Extremely rubbery start. Then peatier notes. Smoke. Sweeter in the centre.
Very dry, tannic finish. Makes it to silver based on individuality. Love It Or Hate It...
Score: 85 points - a malt whisky that will likely divide opinions, but nobody can deny it's interesting.

Lochside 42yo 1963 (45,2%, DL, The Clan Deny, Grain whisky, C#HH243) - tasted blind for MM Awards 2006
Nose: Sweet & polished. Sherry & fruit. Wood. Harsh in the nose. Needs a little time to open up.
Taste: Quite flat on the palate at first (grain whisky?), but beautiful sweet & dusty notes.
Strong tannins and once again the wood is very apparent. Gains depth over time - a well-deserved silver medal.
With a little more 'oomph' on the palate (and without that disturbing hint of paint) it could have reached the 90's.
Score: 89 points - It climbed from 88 to 89 points after round two... Very good for a grain whisky.

Lochside 1991/2004 (46%, G&M for La Maison du Whisky, C#15189)
Nose: Light, grainy and fairly sharp. Not a lot of definition, although it opens up.
A very faint fruity sweetness. No obvious flaws, just a little bit dull for my tastes.
Taste: Very sweet with a bitter undercurrent. Burnt caramel? Something fruity.
Just like the nose, it's very light. After a while I found some liquorice on the tongue.
Score: 71 points - it wasn't too interesting to begin with and became quite bitter.
This seems to be one Lochside whisky that doesn't live up to the big reputation.

Lochside 1981/2004 (46%, Berry Bros, Casks #610/613)
Nose: Very light with maybe a hint of oil. Opens up a bit, but not much. Spices.
I added a few drops of water but all that did was turn it a little sweeter. Nutty. Oil?
Smoother and creamier over time. Now I get something coastal and almost peaty.
Taste: Soft, sweetish start, growing fruitier and woodier in the centre. Quite bold.
It's a tad bitter towards the finish, but not unpleasantly so. Chocolat? A little winey.
Score: 84 points - some emerging organics in the nose finally lifted it into the lower 80's.
This seems much more entertaining than the 1991/2004 from LMW. What's more, it confirms that this seems to be the only distillery in the area that managed to produce some good malts in its time. Two Connoisseurs Choice bottlings I've tried before managed to earn a score in the 80's as well. Unfortunately, the distillery was closed in 1992, but I imagine there are still quite a few casks lying around.

Lochside 1991/2003 (43%, Gordon & MacPhail Connoiseurs Choice, JC/FG)
Nose: Oily with hints of citrus. Sweetness of early fruits. Paint thinner. Maltier & more organics. Dusty. Spices.
Taste: Weak, gritty start. Then a dusty, fruity explosion. Dry. Powdered milk. Rough & gritty on the palate.
Score: 82 points - recommendable, but not that impressive for a Lochside single malt whisky.

Lochside 22yo 1981 (50%, Lombard, Jewels of Scotland, Bottled +/- 2003)
Nose: Mellow at the surface, but there's a suggestion of something more beneath that. A little farmy and veggy.
Taste: Lightly peated. A little oily & salty. Some melon swetness but not quite sweet enough for my tastes.
Score: 80 points - it barely reaches the 80's; the palate is  little herbal and not very well integrated.

Lochside 35yo 1966/2002 (51.3%, Premier Malt, cask #7541)
Nose: A lovely 'Sweet & sour' character. Atjar. Lemony. Ginger. Toffee!
Taste: On the palate it seemed quite fruity with sugar cane and a ditinct rum character. Fabulous!
Score: 92 points - my brief notes on this one don't reflect how much I enjoyed this malt.
However, I think my score of 92 points does. The best Lochside I ever had...

Lochside 10yo 'MacNab' (40%, OB, Bottled +/- 1991, 75cl)
Nose: Oily. A little sweet. Raisins. Slightly grassy. A little smoky. A hint of smoked nuts after a while.
Taste: Malty start. Warm, but not sweet. One-dimensional. Sweeter after a while. Bitter; dry & gritty finish.
Score: 65 points - just like Cardhu this appeals more to Spanish palates than to mine.

Lochside 20yo 1965 (40%, Gordon & MacPhail Connoiseurs Choice, Bottled +/- 1985, 5cl)
Nose: Oooaah. Sherry and furniture polish. Much more sherry with time.
This is far more extreme than many 'identikit' CC bottlings from the 1990's.
Not a hint of the oil I found so disturbing in the 10yo MacNab bottling.
Not the most extreme or most complex sherry monster I've ever tried, but it's very approachable.
It sweetens out after a while. Is that rubber? Oh, boy - this just keeps getting better and better.
This is a malt that calls for a lit fireplace and a good book.
Taste: Oy, that's too bad. A little bit flat and woody at first. No body.
Fortunately, it develops into a mellow, fruity centre. Easy on the tongue.
Menthol freshness with maybe a hint of coconut. Sweeter with time.
Definite improvement over time, gaining more gravitas and complexity.
But then it falls apart again in the finish, losing one or two points.
Score: 89 points - it's no olympic athlete on the palate - it has a false start and some weak moments.
However, then it reaches a fairly exhausted finish. But the nose redeems the Lochside.

Lochside 17yo 1965 (40%, G&M Connoisseurs Choice, Old brown label, Bottled +/- 1983, from Craig Daniels)
Nose: Antiquity, and lots of it. A classic profile. Not too complex (or too subtle for me), but very enjoyable.
Taste: A lovely palate; sweet and smooth on the surface, but potent as well. Wood. Hint of coconut?
There's some smoke as well in the background, but it's merged beautifully with fruit and tannins.
Score: 89 points - a lovely example of the greatness that 'antique' single malt whiskies used to offer.
 

And there's more to tell about Lochside...

These were not all (official & independent) bottlings of Lochside 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 Lochside page on the MMMonitor and select 'scorecard view' if you want to know how other whisky lovers felt about the dozens of Lochside 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.) 
 

Lochside 10 years old whisky by MacNab
Lochside 1964 Scotch malt whisky

Fortunately, Glencadam was revived a few years later,
which kept at least one distillery in the area alive (two
if you count the Old Fettercairn distillery that's located
a few miles to the North). Even Glenury Royal (slightly
further to the North) was closed a few years ago.

The permission for demolition didn't actually involve all builidngs; the tower (at the left of the picture above) should have remained intact. However, since it was severely damaged in the fire that broke out in January 2005 there was no point in trying to protect any of the remaining buildings. Needless to say, this was very convenient for the developers that planned to build houses where Lochside distillery had been.
 
For a while it looked like whisky production in this part of Scotland would cease altogether. Most distilleries in the region were closed down in recent years, including the Clencadam distillery that's located not far away from Lochside. In fact, when the previous owners (Allied Domecq) mothballed the nearby Glencadam distillery it almost seemed like distillation in this corner of the Eastern Highlands of Scotland had ceased.

The only (semi-) official bottling of Lochside single malt whisky that has been
available in recent years was a 10 years old 'MacNab' bottling - it seems to
have been popular in Spain in particular. The malt whisky distilled at Lochside
was an important component of Sandy Macnab's blended whisky – which was
also successful primarily in the Spanish market.
 
Both the blend and the single malt were distributed by a company named
Destilerias y Crianzas del Whisky, (DYC), part of Pedro Domecq sherry. The
Scottish group of whisky distilleries Allied Distillers took over Pedro Domecq in
1992 and changed their name to Allied Domecq. Supposedly the acquisition of
a sherry producer in Spain would secure a reliable source of sherry casks.
Pernod Ricard purchased Allied Domecq in 2005.
 
After a refit during its earlier years Lochside was fitted with a cast iron mash
tun and open, stainless steel washbacks. If my information is correct the spirit
that was produced at Lochside was matured exclusively in ex-bourbon casks.
That means that they did not use their special relation to the Spanish market
to try and get their hands on sherry casks for their whisky. That's a shame, I
would say. And that's about it as far as Lochside is concerned...

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