July's Whiskies of the Month - The 152nd Open

FORE!!! This month Royal Troon will be the hosts of the 152nd Open Championship for the tenth time in its illustrious history. To celebrate this, we have carefully selected six of some of Scotland’s finest whiskies, each of which have their own special links to Scotland’s other biggest export; golf.

Whiskies of the Month for July. Themed with golf balls and tees.
A bottle of Lochlea Harvest edition. Pictured on a maroon leather background with gold balls and tees.

Lochlea Harvest

This year’s Open Championship will be held at one of Scotland’s most prestigious golf courses: Royal Troon. Located on the Ayrshire coast in the Southwest of Scotland, the course is within putting distance of the recently formed Lochlea Distillery.  For centuries, Lochlea had been a dairy farm until the owners, Neil and Jen McGeoch, made the decision to change things. Construction began in 2017, converting the former piggery, byre, and midden in the heart of the farm steading into the distillery, and repurposing the cattle sheds into bonded warehouses. In 2018 distillation began in what is now one of Scotland’s newest and smallest distilleries.

Rooted in Scottish history, Lochlea can even claim to have been the home of Robert Burns throughout his formative years, from 1777 until his father’s death in 1784.

Matured in Port, STR (whisky geek alert! meaning = shaved, toasted & re-charred) and first-fill Bourbon casks resulting in a beautifully fruity and creamy dram. Ripe red grapes, thick-cut marmalade and dates stand out on the nose with pink peppercorns and dried fruit on the palette and a lingering creamy finish.

A bottle of Loch Lomond 18yo edition. Pictured on a maroon leather background with gold balls and tees.

Loch Lomond 18 Year Old

Proud sponsors of the 152nd Open Championship and located just south of the ‘bonnie, bonnie banks’ of Loch Lomond, Loch Lomond distillery produces not only single malt but grain whisky as well. This is not something that many distilleries around the world can claim. In fact, it is quite the site, being one of only four distilleries in Scotland to have their own on-site cooperage where they carefully prepare their casks for their next maturation, a pivotal stage in the flavour and style of any whisky.

Aged in three types of American oak casks, Loch Lomond 18 year old is bottled at 46% and is non-chill filtered to keep things as nature intended.

Loch Lomond 18 year old has mouth-watering notes of baked apple and rich toffee with gentle wood smoke on the finish in the typical style of Loch Lomond whiskies.

A bottle of Glen Spey Flora and Fauna. Pictured on a maroon leather background with gold balls and tees.

Glen Spey Flora & Fauna

Let’s journey back through time: the year is 1878 and a small site just north of the small town of Troon, Ayrshire was deemed perfect for a golf course. Although only five holes were built to begin with, this was soon added to and eventually one of the world’s greatest Links courses was established, Royal Troon. During this same year, the Speyside distillery of Glen Spey was built by James Stuart & Co. under the name ‘Mill of Rothes’. Glen Spey has released only a handful of official bottlings during its lifetime, and in 2001 The 12 years old of the Flora & Fauna series appeared.

A smooth, pleasant, and lighter style of Speyside single malt with tropical and fruity notes of ripe peaches, pineapple, and hints of lemon. Fresh, green nose with a light, smooth sweetness balancing to a dry finish.

A bottle of Laphroaig 16yo. Pictured on a maroon leather background with gold balls and tees.

Laphroaig 16 Year Old

As this year’s Open is being held at Royal Troon, what better way to toast its royal designation than with a dram of the King’s favourite whisky itself?

Troon was awarded its Royal designation in 1978 during the reign of the late Queen Elizabeth II. Sixteen years later, in 1994, the then Prince of Wales visited Laphroaig Distillery on the beautiful island of Islay. During this visit, Charles gave Laphroaig his Royal Warrant making them the only Scotch whisky to receive such an honour.  The royal coat of arms is also inscribed on the 200-year-old walls of the original buildings and His Royal Highness even signed the Visitors’ Book and parted, saying: “I hope you continue to use the traditional methods. I think you make the finest whisky in the world.”  King Charles is the current Lord of the Isles, making this an especially fitting dram to enjoy during The Open.

Initially released as a special edition whisky to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the distillery, Laphroaig 16yo has since become an occasional small-batch offering. This whisky retains the classic medicinal and maritime qualities of Laphroaig’s signature spirit, but with additional ageing, it gains a smoother and more subdued character. It features a blend of spicy peat smoke, the comforting aroma of aged leather, and the gentle sweetness of vanilla.

A bottle of The Guard Bridge. Pictured on a maroon leather background with gold balls and tees.

The Guard Bridge

The Guard Bridge is a Blended Malt Scotch produced and blended by Eden Mill Distillery in St Andrews, the home of golf. The town of St Andrews is, of course, synonymous with the heritage of golf but the town also boasts a strong history of distilling and brewing. With the Guard Bridge though, we are exploring the contemporary world of distilling in St. Andrews. Founded in 2012 as a brewery, Eden Mill started distilling whisky and gin in 2014 making it Scotland’s first single-site distillery and brewery.

Situated right next to an old paper mill in the Guard Bridge area of St Andrews, the distillery only produces approximately 100,000 litres of spirit per year making it not only one of Scotland’s newer distilleries but also one of the smallest.

Eden Mill’s Head Distiller Scott Ferguson has carefully combined single malts to create The Guard Bridge, seamlessly marrying the sweet, grassy and floral profile of the Lowlands with the robust, spicy and fruity flavours found in Highland whiskies. Enjoy the taste of creamy vanilla with barley sugar and a cereal sweetness leading to mellow oaky spice and light sherry fruit. The whisky finishes with sherried fruit and light warm gingerbread.

A bottle of Aultmore 25yo. Pictured on a maroon leather background with gold balls and tees.

Aultmore 25 Year Old

For our final dram we would like to take another journey back in time: the year 1895 was a very busy one for golf! Three tournaments made their debut: The U.S. Open, U.S. Amateur, and U.S. Women’s Amateur (there wouldn’t be a U.S. Women’s Open until 1946). Also, the first public course in America—Van Cortlandt Park in Bronx, N.Y.—opened. Closer to home, St Andrews builds the new course giving the Old Course its new title and in one of the first examples of golf’s new ruling body flexing its muscles, using a pool cue as a putter was banned after someone actually tried it in that year’s U.S. Open.

Also in 1895, the Aultmore Distillery in Speyside was founded, with construction and distillation commencing in the following two years. Aultmore is a hidden gem amongst the many distilleries in Speyside and one of the industry’s best-kept secrets. It’s a whisky that is rarely found, but once discovered it is loved, and for good reason! Located in the town of Keith, Aultmore whisky is a key component in many blends, including Dewar’s, and releases only a small percentage each year as a single malt.

The Aultmore 25 year old, the oldest expression in the distillery’s core range, is the jewel in Aultmore’s crown. It is a rare treat to enjoy a taste of this as it is infrequently bottled and in very small quantities. A complex dram, with every sip you will pick up something different. A wonderful mix of savoury and sweet, the palate is packed with raspberries, candied orange peel, vanilla cream and spiced apple.