Lochlea 5 year old

June 28, 2024

For this review, it’s all about the number five. I’m checking in on an anniversary release from the Lochlea distillery, located in South Ayrshire Council, southwest of Glasgow, in the Lowland region of Scotland.

I believe in second chances. Back in Whisky Zone review number 24, I reviewed the Lochlea Sowing Edition First Crop and, to be honest, I was not a big fan. But those things happen. And it’s been a couple years so I decided to see if there’s something new that I can find to enjoy from this high profile, independent distillery. Because…I’m rooting for them.

The Lochlea distillery was established in 2018 and to mark the occasion of their 5 year anniversary they created their first-ever age statement release - a 5 year old - that is made up of a vatting - or combining - of five different barrels of their own whiskey. Now, when a whisky like this is given this particular age statement, it means the youngest whisky has to be at least 5 years old. But since the distillery is only 5 years old, we also know the oldest whisky is also 5 years old.

You know, math.

Those five barrels selected were two first-fill bourbon casks, a first-fill Oloroso sherry cask, a double-matured Oloroso sherry cask, and a double-matured PX sherry cask, and it was bottled at a nicely flavorful 50 percent ABV. By researching online I confirmed that this special release is non chill filtered and has all natural color but it would be nice if they respected my time and didn’t make me hunt that information down Just print it on the label.

I will say I did like the thing they did with the inside of the box top, which details each of the casks used.

And that natural color they let happen on its own is quite nice. It’s like a light tea, or if you liquified some chestnuts, I’m thinking it might look like liquid chestnuts.

And ooooh, the viscosity! There are some slow, oily legs in the glass


There are scents of root beer coming off the glass followed by a very pleasant butterscotch note. The sweetness on the nose continues with the smell of caramel. This is followed by a strong malt sensation and then something very much like apples or pears.

And If this is your first whisky sip of the day, congratulations! I think it’s a good idea to allow your taste buds an adjustment period - say, at least one sip - to adjust to the alcohol hit. Then, you’ll be judging it the way the whisky makers wanted you to judge it.


I first get a chocolatey spice on the tongue. Then I pick up a strong, rich buttery taste. And that root beer scent I got on the nose has turned to coca-cola on the tongue. I get a nod to the lemon, like lemon zest. There’s cinnamon, and also sweetness like raisins marinated in liquid toffee.

It’s quite flavorful as is, but at 50 percent ABV I think this review benefits from the addition of a little water.

Nose + Water:

The water reveals a little more lemon scent. And then a friendly, warming smell, like an apple pie before you put it in the oven.

Palate + Water:

The water opens up a bit more of the cola taste, and also some spiced cherries.

To be honest, the water may have knocked off a bit of the alcohol but didn’t add much in the way of flavor reveals. I think you’d be OK without adding it.


The finish is pretty mild, but tasty. Sticky toffee pudding, orange marmalade, coffee cough drops, and cherry cola.


I’m feeling pretty confident in saying that this Lochlea release has made a serious rebound from the first one I reviewed back in 2022 which means Production Director John Campbell and I may finally be seeing eye-to-eye on Lochlea’s direction. (As if he cares what I have to say!) Anyway, it’s got a big mouthful of flavor and the vatting of these five different casks was done masterfully. Now, it’s a limited release, with only 2,000 bottles produced, so you’ll have to scramble to locate one. But do it. You’ll thank me. Now, is it the best whisky from the Scottish Lowland region out there? Hard to say. But is it delicious? Oh yeah. I’m happy to give the Lochlea 5 year old anniversary release a nine finger pour.

Age Statement: 5 years

ABV: 50 %

Chill Filtered: no

E150a caramel coloring added: no

Average Price (700ml): $125 (US)