June 2024 – Lochlea Cask Strength Batch One

Summerton Whisky Club’s June 2024 Club Bottle
Lochlea Cask Strength Batch One Single Malt Scotch Whisky

The team at Lochlea were kind enough to write our letter this month. As they know what they do better than anyone, I thought it better than anything I can share:


“Lochlea is an independent family-owned farm and distillery based in the heart of Ayrshire, Scotland. We are one of very few distilleries in Scotland that grows and harvests our own barley on-site, using it to make our single malt whisky. This creates a distinct flavour profile for our new make spirit, and it ensures full traceability of ingredients.


Ayrshire/Burns Link

Located amidst the picturesque Ayrshire countryside, Lochlea enjoys proximity to major towns and cities. Ayrshire boasts stunning landscapes and fertile agricultural land, deeply intertwined with nature and renowned for its local ties to premium food production and world-class golf courses. This exceptional micro-climate also plays a crucial role in shaping the unique flavour profile of our spirit.

Rooted in Scottish history, we are very proud that Robert Burns called Lochlea his home throughout his formative years, from 1777 until his father’s death in 1784. We are the only distillery with a legitimate claim to Burns. The relationship with Burns is deep rooted and authentic, but in the sense that he was a thoughtful, progressive, sociable, and highly literate figure, who was not afraid of hard work and pushing boundaries.

By day, Burns worked hard on the farm and in the evening, he enjoyed the company of his friends, debating at the Bachelors’ Club in nearby Tarbolton. The ground here has inspired the honest, passionate, and progressive nature of Lochlea whisky.


Distillery History

Lochlea had always been a dairy farm, up until 2006, when owners Neil and Jen McGeoch moved here. They farmed pedigree beef cattle until 2014, when they decided that for a farm of this size to be viable, they needed to do something very different.

Barley had historically been grown on the farm, mainly as livestock feed, and so in 2015 they embarked on an experiment: growing 50 acres of malting barley.

Working away quietly, learning from their (not too frequent) mistakes, exploring the possibilities and making contacts in the malting industry, gave them the confidence to make a big decision: they’d develop and operate a single malt distillery here at Lochlea.

Construction began in 2017, converting the former piggery, byre, and midden in the heart of the farmsteading into the distillery, and repurposing the cattle sheds into bonded warehouses.

They secured all the licences in 2018, and the distillery was commissioned in August 2018.

Since then, they have been growing our barley across 222 acres, and the distillery team have been skilfully and patiently making spirit.

Beginning with just a small team of 3 in 2018, we have now expanded to 15 team members.


Distillery Facts
Our first expression was released in January 2022. Production is 100% single malt, with a 2-ton semi lauter mash tun, 6 Douglas Fir wooden washbacks, 2 bespoke copper stills, racked / dunnage warehousing, high quality ingredients, the finest casks sourced direct, and a hands-on process.

The team also fill and store every cask at Lochlea. This approach to becoming a fully single estate operation led to us being awarded Global Singe Estate of the Year in 2023, and Scottish Single Estate of the Year in 2024 at the Icons of Whisky Awards.

Cask Strength Batch 1
Lochlea Cask Strength Batch One is the first in an annual series of limited-edition bottlings. Each batch will be bottled straight from the casks without dilution, like trying samples straight from the warehouse itself. Carefully selected by the production team, Lochlea Cask Strength Batch One is matured in first-fill Bourbon barrels and Oloroso Sherry casks that work particularly well at high strength, amplifying the fruit, nut and cereal flavours that form our house spirit style.”


Member’s Photo Competition

Don’t miss this month’s Member’s Photo Competition. Ten winners will receive a dram from my whisky cupboard.

To enter, share a picture with your bottle on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, tag us @SummertonClub) and use #SummertonWhiskyShots. Every picture you share gets you an entry and there’s no limit to how many times you can enter.

Entries start from the afternoon of Monday 24th June, please don’t post before as it might ruin the surprise for other members.