This month is part two of our little experiment in which we compare and contrast 2 whiskies from the same distillery whose only difference is the length of time in the cask. The Inchmurrin 12yo and Inchmurrin 18 Year Old.

Well, how good was the Inchmurrin 12yo? A great big grassy fruit-bomb of a whisky. Plenty of flavour and so smooth despite the 46% abv. And so this month we compare and contrast the Inchmurrin 12yo to the Inchmurrin 18yo. Two whiskies that share everything except age. The new make spirit, the wood and the alcohol content are all the same – and as we found out – what a difference a day (or 6 years in this case) makes!

I introduced the Loch Lomond distillery in the last newsletter so I won’t repeat myself. Instead, I’ll dive straight into the comparison. New members can read about the origins and history of the Loch Lomond Distillery (as well as the official distillery tasting notes for the Inchmurrin 12yo) in last months newsletter.

Inchmurrin 12yo
A very big hit of fruit, grass and floral notes on the nose. Mango, sultana, paw paw and apples. The fruit just keeps on going on the palate. Very sweet with some caramel and coffee. Very little/no peat to speak of. The finish is long and satisfying with more fruit, and spicy vanilla. A lovely whisky that would feel right at home on a sub tropical summer evening.

Inchmurrin 18yo
The fruit and grass is still there on the nose – but is more subtle with individual notes much more distinguishable. The palate is a much more rounded with greater depth than the 12yo. Fruit is very much toned down and has changed from a fresh fruit taste to more of a baked fruit quality. Once again – no peat to taste here. The vanilla is more evident and compliments the baked fruit beautifully. Chocolate, coffee and butterscotch marshmallow on the incredibly chewy and sustained finish.

To be honest, I was expecting a much more subtle difference. I assumed the bulk of the ‘work’ would have been done by 12 years with only subtle differences to be found after 18 years. How wrong I was. These are two completely different whiskies. All the flavour elements are shared between them, but expressed in vastly different ways. The 12yo is a precocious, grassy fruit-bomb all right (and I mean that in a very good way) – whereas the 18yo is still fruity – but in a much more refined and complex way. The flavours in the 18yo tend to come in layers rather than (as in the 12yo) presented all at once in a rush.

So which would I rather?
Well, overall the 18 is a richer, more rounded whisky so I’d probably say that I prefer it over the 12. BUT – on a warm summers evening on the veranda, the 12yo would shine. Even throw a piece of ice in it if it’s especially hot. The 18yo’s more caramalised, ‘warmer’ notes lend it more suited to ‘traditional’ whisky drinking weather and heartier food accompaniments. Both fantastic whiskies by any means.

An absolutely fantastic experience to be able to compare two whiskies separated by nothing other than age. This was so interesting I’m already looking into running another series along the same lines. The video was hard to edit – Daniel and I spent almost an hour chatting and comparing the two, so I had to chop a fair bit out to prevent it becoming a movie-length epic. I hope you enjoy our ramblings.

DISTILLERS NOTES – Inchmurrin 18 Year Old

ABV: 46%
Bottle Size: 700ml
Region: Scotland
Peated: No

Named after an island rich in meadow and woodland, our Inchmurrin 18yo has a strong oak character, with hints of summer grass, tropical fruit and zesty citrus notes. Our master cooper back then was Tommy Wallace, who carefully selected the finest casks to mature the liquid for a minimum of 18 years allowing time and nature to bring out the sweet character of the wood. Inchmurrin 18 year old is non-chill filtered to keep things just as nature intended.

Nose: Rich, deep aromas of heather honey perfectly balanced with crafted oak wood notes.
Palate: Full bodied with strong oak character in harmony with tropical fruit of pineapple, mango and kiwi. Zesty citrus notes emerge in the background.
Finish: Long and warming, elegant oak and stem ginger.

Glen Scotia Ruby Port Finish


The island of Inchmurrin is rich in woodland and grassy meadow – and the tasting notes we’ve read suggest this whisky is well named as grassy notes abound in the Inchmurrin range.

Interestingly, the original Loch Lomond distillery was located in Arrochar but that was founded in 1814 and only lasted 3 years. The present Loch Lomond Distillery is located in Alexandria and is a relatively young one being founded in 1964. The two distilleries share nothing except the name.

Today’s Loch Lomond distillery began production in 1965 and ran until 1984 when it was mothballed. Re-opening in 1987, it was expanded in 1993 by the installation of 2 new malt stills and a grain distillery. It was the first distillery in Scotland to produce both grain and malt is one of only two today that do so (Girvan Distillery being the other). It remains the only distillery in Scotland to run 3 sets of stills.

Inchmurrin 18 year old
Inchmurrin 18 year old

Loch Lomond is one of the few distilleries to incorporate a cooperage in the distillery. Casks are made, repaired and fired in-house. This gives Loch Lomond distillery complete control of all facets of distilling – from milling the malted barley right through to the wood it is aged in.

One more piece of Loch Lomond trivia – it is the favourite whisky of Captain Haddock from the Tintin books. I knew I’d heard the name long before in my distant childhood. Sadly though – it cannot be the same Loch Lomond [as we will be tasting] as the Tintin books were written well before the current Loch Lomond Distillery was built. BLUE BLISTERING BARNACLES!