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Ten low-profile whiskies that deserve high praise

If stunning scenery and ample outdoor activity options aren’t reason enough to visit Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park in central Scotland, perhaps we can interest you in some whisky. The area in and around the park, which includes the Highlands, Lowlands, and Campbeltown, is home to some of the finest Scotch producers in all the land. While they may not all be household names, these fine labels are certainly deserving of a place on your home bar.

Inchmurrin 18 Years Old

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The crown jewel in the Loch Lomond Distillery’s just-released Inchmurrin range, the Inchmurrin 18 Years Old ($US110, or about $A145) was a Double Gold winner at the 2016 San Francisco World Spirits Competition. It entices with sweet heather honey on the nose, then closes the deal with a medley of intense oak flavor, tropical fruit, and vibrant citrus notes. (lochlomondwhiskies.com)

Aberfeldy 21 Years Old

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Don’t let the bronze colour fool you — this Aberfeldy 21 Years Old ($180) is a gold-medal-worthy whisky that, despite being long in the tooth, is full of vim and vigour. You’re likely to detect spent fireworks on the nose. On the palate, rich flavours from across the spectrum, from orange-honey to molasses to biscuits. It’s a bit oily, with a touch of cigar box on the finish. (aberfeldy.com)

Littlemill 25 Years Old

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The Littlemill Distillery opened for business on the banks of the River Clyde near Glasgow in 1772. Sadly, it was dismantled in 1997 and burned to ashes in 2004. Ah, but luckily, a wee bit of the precious spirit survived. Littlemill 25 Years Old ($US3000 or about $A3965) is an ultra-rare expression from the now silent Lowland distillery and possesses a subtly floral nose with a wink of vanilla. On the palate you get baked apple, cedar, and brown sugar. A must-have for the serious collector. (lochlomondgroup.com)

Glengoyne 21 Years Old

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The culmination of almost 200 years of whisky-making experience awaits inside the bottle of Glengoyne 21 Years Old ($US170, or about $A225), an absolutely marvellous, 100-per cent sherry-cask-matured, unpeated Scotch. Glengoyne famously uses the “slowest stills in Scotland” to coax as much flavour as possible from the barley. There’s plenty of apple (a brand staple) and hazelnut in this rich, gold-amber whisky. Spices warm the side of the mouth, but there’s no unpleasant burn. A finish as smooth as the surface of a pebble. (glengoyne.com)

Glen Scotia Victoriana

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Founded in 1832, Glen Scotia is one of only three distilleries still producing in Campbeltown, which once upon a time billed itself as the “whisky capital of the world”. This Glen Scotia Victoriana ($US91, or about $A120) is also one of the few Scotches from that region currently available for purchase in the US. Bottled at cask strength (51.5 proof) without chill filtration, this is a purist’s single malt. A cult classic. It’s big and chewy, with black currant, smoke, and crème brûlée flavours all playing nicely together. (glenscotia.com)

Auchentoshan Three Wood

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Glasgow’s closest distillery triple-distills every drop of its single-malt Scotch. En route to the bottle, the Auchentoshan Three Wood ($US70, or about $A92) rests in three different cask styles — American bourbon, Spanish Oloroso sherry, and Pedro Ximenez sherry — imbuing it with rich wood flavour and complexity. This is a medium-bodied whisky, with butter, caramel, and a scooch of peach on the palate. It ends with a lingering, oaky sweetness. (auchentoshan.com)

Glengoyne 18 Years Old

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The Glengoyne 18 Years Old ($US120, or about $A158) is yet another brilliant, unpeated whisky made at what is often called the most beautiful distillery in Scotland. Glengoyne uses low-yield, high-quality Concerto barley, which imbues the raw spirit with a graham-cracker flavour. After nearly two decades resting in first-fill sherry casks, out came a caramel-coloured whisky that tastes like apple pie with a dollop of vanilla ice-cream. (glengoyne.com)

Springbank 21 Years Old

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Springbank 21 Years Old ($US330, or about $A436) will not be an easy bottle to find, but it is absolutely worth the effort. Springbank, perched on the edge of Campbeltown Loch in the west of Scotland, is an iconic producer whose whiskies are coveted by collectors, and with good reason. This sterling single-malt is robust and creamy, with notes of cereal grains, fresh strawberries, and cinnamon. There’s a delightful touch of peat on the finish. (springbankwhisky.com)

Loch Lomond 18 Years Old

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The Loch Lomond 18 Years Old ($US100, or about $A132) is non-chill filtered, which essentially means Loch Lomond is keeping it real — leaving behind the chemical compounds or “impurities” that just so happen to add character (and cause your whisky to get cloudy over ice). There’s plenty of green apple and grapefruit on the nose, along with a hint of honey. This is a powerful whisky, with a smooth, smoky flavour complemented by hints of tart berries and dried tea. (lochlomondwhiskies.com)

Oban 14 Years Old

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From one of Scotland’s most diminutive distilleries comes a whisky that is large on taste. Oban 14 Years Old ($US65, or about $A86) is a semi-dry, floral, full-bodied west coaster highlighted by green herbs, cloves, light smoke, and some seaweed. Sweet honey and violets bring it home. (thewhiskyexchange.com)

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