Glen Scotia 21 Year

Duncan Taylor: Glen Scotia 21 Year: Dimensions (Scottish Campbeltown Single Malt Single Cask Whisky: 21 Year: 52.8% ABV)

Visual: Dark bronzed colour.

Viscosity: Very slow, very thin streaks.

Nose: Butterscotch. Very light peppermint. Madeira cake. Plums. Toffee. Water adds sulphur and earthy touch. Orange liquore.

Body: Waxy. Very strong alcohol with a burning feel. Raisins. Spice. Red wine. Water soothes to Madeira, touch of gingerbread. Rich raisins and orange.

Finish: Mint leaves. Alcohol burn and burnt brown sugar. Treacle toffee. Warming. Tarry and sulphur touched when water is added. Sweet orange comes out.

Conclusion: Glen Scotia has always had a distinct feel to it, texture wise. Well, by always I mean the one other expression of it I have encountered, it still counts. This one pushes it even further with a very waxy, very thick and slightly oily mouth feel. The alcohol is very strong, even with water, and without it can easily numb the tongue. Furthermore it throws a sulphur and slightly earthy touch into the mix, making it distinct before you even get onto the main flavour elements.

You need to give this one some time to get the best out of it, let it stand still for a while, let a few drops of water help. Once you have given it time to rest the thick texture starts becoming useful, bringing out dark fruits, orange liquore and sweet wine. The time lets it seem smooth rather than burning, but without losing that oiliness.

The texture actually reminds me of Ben Nevis in texture, the only other whisky that has seemed so waxy. This however plays a very different flavour range, the sweetness is thick and slightly treacle like, there’s spice and gingerbread behind making it feel like the dark fruits have been soaked in strong spirits.

Of the five rare whisky’s had tonight this probably is the least distinctive for flavour, it seems like a polished whisky while the others feel quite unique, however it does have that texture I keep mentioning to make it stand out. I would say it is very competent, but not special, despite its immense rarity, and that I still don’t quite get along with the Glen Scotia style, though that may change with an expression in the future.

Overall it is enjoyable, complex and very thick. I am glad to have tried it, if for the opportunity to say I have if nothing else, but for the price it is merely very competent rather than a true gem.

Background: This was drunk at the amazing Independent Spirit Rare Whisky event at Circo. When they say rare they mean rare. This is one of only 66 casks in the world. (From cask 710394 – a quarter cask). We had five whiskys that night, with other guests, my friend Matt, and Chris from Independent spirits all giving their thoughts. Since I know how easy it is to get psychosomatic flavours after someone else mentions them consider the above a view of the general opinion on the whisky so I can call it a feature rather than a bug. Due to the nature of the event my notes were somewhat haphazard, but hopefully I’ve managed to put them together into something readable.

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