Category Archives: Loch Chaim

Loch Chaim Aberlour 16yo Single Cask

Speyside region – 43%ABV – $65

It’s been a while since I’ve done a kosher certified whisky and being that the one year anniversary of the Jewish Single Malt Whisky Society blog is getting ever nearer (it’s tomorrow, by the way), I thought it was about time I review another whisky that’s targeted toward the Jewish consumer.

The Loch Chaim line of single cask whiskies has so far proven itself to be a line that’s good for Jew and Gentile alike.

So, what make this kosher?  Well, put simply, whisky is kosher by nature as long at it’s matured in anything other than an ex-sherry/wine/port/madeira cask.  All whiskies in the Loch Chaim line are matured in barrels which previously held bourbon.  Bourbon, by US law, needs to be matured in new charred oak barrels; therefore, there is no sherry/wine/port/madeira influence on the whisky whatsoever.

If you want to know more about the ins-and-outs of why a whisky can be considered kosher or not kosher – you can read this great article by Alan L.

Click here to see all of the Loch Chaim whiskies I’ve reviewed

On the nose Scented candle shop filled with Christmas wreaths and holly berry scented candles.

Yeah right, like you see a lot of Jewish Latke scented candles at those shops…

A bag of assorted Halloween candies (or Purim candies I suppose).

Soy sauce and some potted house flowers (big begonias).

On the mouth Very similar to the nose and a thick mouth feel to boot!

Beyond what’s listed in the Nose section is an interesting note of fresh vidallia onion.

White pepper and a bit of bay leaf (like a nice autumn stew).

Increasingly peppery.

Hints of black licorice.

Finish Ends on a big red peppery note, perhaps a little bit of 9-volt bite.

In sum Fresh and light like an early summer’s day however very much an Autumn malt.  I liked this.  I think Aberlour shines with their sherried product but take the name Aberlour out of the picture and this is a solid dram.

Loch Chaim Macallan 18yr Single Cask

Speyside region – 43%ABV – $96 – $127

As you may or may not know, I am part of a whisky blogging group called The Whisky Round Table.  We’re a group of 12 whisky bloggers who bring up a new topic every month to discuss.  Each month one of us fearless knights (of the Whisky Round Table) comes up with a question and we all have to answer it on that questioner’s blog.  You can follow our twitter feed here: @whiskyknights

Why do bring this up?  Well, Ruben of recently brought up a great question about Independent bottlers (you can find it here as well as our answers to his question) and Loch Chaim, as I am finding, is one of these great indy bottlers we all discuss.

This next expression is a great example of a well chosen cask by an indy and another reason why independent bottlers should not and can not be ignored.

Color This is an 18 year old whisky?

I don’t normally rate color but this so light, like a Sauvignon Blanc.

Obviously, there’s no sherry influence here but even with a bourbon cask I would have expected more color.

On the nose Again, this is an 18 year old whisky?

Very aggressive nose filled with a boat load of spice and vanilla.

Some toasted coconut notes.

Lemon essence water.


Chamomile tea.

On the mouth Nice entry; slight viscosity.

More chamomile tea with an extra teaspoon of sugar.

Perhaps some green apple and star fruit.

Finish Tea and coffee.  A bit fizzy.

In sum Do not go into this thinking you’re going to experience your typical (read: sherried) Macallan.  This is as near the antithesis of a standard bottle of Macallan you can find.  However, this is not a bad thing.  Oh, I found this whisky to be very light and refreshing!  I could wake up with this stuff, it’s most invigorating.  Very much a springtime whisky.

Loch Chaim Linkwood 17yr Single Cask

Speyside region – 46%ABV – $73 – $92

Here we go again, delving a bit further into the not so wide world of kosher certified Scotch whiskies.

“What would make a whisky not kosher?” you ask.  To make a long story short, whisky matured in a non-kosher wine or sherry cask, to some Jews, renders said whisky non-kosher.  To some Jews, myself included, this is not a relevant statement.

To make a short story long, read this well written piece by Alan L that I’ve been meaning to post for some time now…part 1 and part 2.

You know, I don’t think I’ve met a Linkwood I didn’t like.  So, what about one with no sherry influence?  Let’s see…

On the nose Oak and oats.

A bit of a vanilla bomb here.

Fizzy white wine.

Sweet and low.

For 43% ABV, this is a bit stingy in the nose!

Dollar store, no-named powdered sugar candies…

Like Smartees with less of a fruity influence, more sugar than anything.

On the mouth Here we go.

Great mouth feel, coating my tongue with Hostess apple pie goo.

Honey and breakfast cereals (muesli).

Toasty almonds (slight, more of a bitting marzipan note here actually).

Flaky sugar coating (again, from that Hostess pie)

Finish Short to medium yet nice and warming.

In sum Yup, it’s true, I haven’t met a Linkwood I haven’t liked and this one is no exception.  A nice whisky for Jew and Gentile alike.  Perfect for a chilly night in lieu of a sherried whisky.

Loch Chaim Arran, Single Cask, 13yr old – the Bar/Bat Mitzvah dram

Islands region – 43%ABV – $84

Being that the Jewish New Year began last night (L’Shanah Tovah to all of my Jewish readers — health and happiness to all of my readers), I figured I’d begin a new limited series focusing on kosher certified whiskies.

Loch Chaim whiskies are Single Malt, Single Cask whiskies (not cask strength, all taken down to 43% ABV) specifically bottled for kosher keeping Jews (but happen to be completely delicious for anyone who loves good whisky).

Being single cask, you can imagine that the availability of these whiskies is limited.  You can find this line throughout New York, New Jersey and in pockets of Washington DC & Los Angeles.  You know, the Little Israels of the US. 🙂

All of these single cask expressions are matured in ex-bourbon (or, at least non-wine influenced) barrels.

I’ve got five different Loch Chaim whiskies and I thought it’d be good to start with the 13 year old Isle of Arran:

On the nose Big bourbon fresh nose!

Salted green tomatoes.

Browning lemons (perhaps the largest component here) and pear notes.

Rhubarb preserves.

Light and inviting.

Not the most complex nose but…nice.

Something slightly earthy about this nose too…

On the mouth Very peppery.

Barbecue sauce and sweet ketchup (where in the blue F did this come from!?).

Fruit jams comprised of slightly more bitter fruits.

Cinnamon, nutmeg and a bit of cardamom.

Finish The pepperiness continues.

There’s a decent length here.

In sum So while I was trying to figure this one out (what with the strangeness from the bourbon light fresh nose to the family barbecue pallet), I realized what’s happening here.  This is, after all, a 13yr old whisky AND a kosher whisky.

What happens to Jewish boys & girls at age 13??  You guessed it, the become a Bar or Bat Mitzvah.  This whisky became an adult!  It became a Bar Mitzvah in my mouth.  Hmmm, that doesn’t sound right…