Distillery Lists

Whisky Fundementals

Social Links

Lochlea distillery

Lochlea distilled their first fresh whisky in 2018, putting them in good company in the Lowlands.The Lowlads region is enjoying a significant revitalisation, as no other whisky region has seen more new whisky distilleries founded in recent years. Lochlea is particularly proud of its regional connections. Only barley from their own cultivation is used for the single malt distilled so far.

The Lochlea Distillery’s whisky is produced under the motto “dare to be honest”. This means that the single malt should be traceable from harvesting its own barley to bottling. The barley in particular is the unique selling point at Lochlea. The fact that John Campbell (formerly Laphroaig), a proven expert as manager and master blender , is on board and that the whiskies also have an exciting cask selection is almost forgotten.

The distillery

The distillery can be found in South Ayrshire, around 30 kilometers south of Glasgow, not far from Kilmarnock. Unlike many new distilleries, Lochlea decided not to focus on public relations initially, which is why the distillery was very quiet for the first three years of production. Lochlea does not want to open a visitor center in the near future either.

Lochlea Distillery is located on the grounds of Lochlea Farm. Neil McGeoch bought it in 2006 as a cattle ranch, but with 222 acres of farmland, a pure cattle ranch cannot be run economically and he looked around for alternatives. In earlier times pigs were kept on Lochlea and crops were grown. Incidentally, an important name appears in these “earlier times” of the farm: Scotland’s national poet Robert Burns lived and worked here from 1777 until the death of his father in 1784. Robert Burns and whisky somehow belong together and so in 2015 McGeoch started growing grain on 50 acres and began talking to consultant Malcolm Rennie about building a whisky distillery. In 2017 the conversion of the old pigsty and other farm buildings into a warehouse and distillery started. In the middle of 2018 they were finished and could start production.

Lochlea whiskies

The Lochlea Our Barley was released as the distillery’s first regular bottling. This Lowland single malt was allowed to mature in first fill bourbon barrels, Oloroso sherry casks and STR oak barrels. Most recently, the limited Lochlea Seasonal Releases “First Crop” were released. The series will initially include three bottlings:

  • The first whisky in the series was the Lochlea Sowing Edition (dt. sowing) with maturation in first-fill bourbon barrels.
  • The second whisky will be called Lochlea Harvest Edition. It was matured in first fill bourbon barrels, Oloroso sherry and port casks.
  • The Lochlea Fallow Edition will conclude in winter 2022.


Lochlea is a farm or single estate distillery that grows all the barley it needs on its own fields, for the moment the distillery is growing Loreate which is malted externally by Bairds without peat. The 2-ton semi-loud mash tun delivers 10,000 liters of wort, is fermented between 66 and 110 hours in six washbacks, and distilled in the two Forsyths stills with 10,000 and 6,300 liters. The heart of the run is cut between 66.5 and 69.0%. The annual capacity of the distillery is said to be around 200,000 liters of New Make.

Lochlea Single Malt is matured entirely on the distillery’s premises. Mainly bourbon barrels (from Maker’s Mark) and sherry casks from Jerez de la Frontera are used. In addition, there are other casks in the warehouses, such as port pipes, quarter casks from Laphroaig or Cabernet Sauvignon casks. Lochlea bottles their spirit naturally without caramel or chill-filtration. The whiskies are bottled above 46% alcohol, unfiltered and uncoloured.


Two different yeasts are used for long fermentation. This Lochlea whisky is intended for shorter maturation, for bottling in the next few years. For the other New Make only one yeast is used and the cut points are a bit wider. It is intended for whiskies that should then be stored for a good 12-15 years. The two characters can be clearly smelled and tasted. They are both fruity, but one has a slightly “lighter” aroma, while the other offers a somewhat broader aroma profile and more cereal notes.

History of Lochlea distillery

Lochlea Distillery was founded in 2015 by Neil McGeoch. The first production steps were managed by Malcolm Rennie, who has now switched to the recently built Rosebank Distillery. The first whisky was distilled in 2018. His successor was found in 2021 in John Campbell, who became well known in the whisky scene for his years of commitment to Laphroaig on Islay. The first Lochlea whiskies were released from the beginning of 2022 and are now regularly supplemented by further bottlings. The first regularly available standard is the Lochlea ‘Our Barley’.

Lochlea factsheet

Name Pronounced AKA Region Country of Origin
Lochlea Scotland
Status Active Whisky Type Website Tours Available
Active 2018 - Present Malt Lochlea Not Available
Manager Distiller Blender Owned by Parent Group