Glen Scotia: Victoriana (Scotland Campbeltown Single Malt Whisky: 51.5% ABV)

Visual: Deep dark gold.

Viscosity: A mix of slow to fast, thick to thin steaks. Ok, all kinds of streaks.

Nose: Chocolate toffee and gingerbread. Choc orange. Marshmallows. Light spice. Wood shaving and oak dust. Water makes more oaken and more ginger bread. More water adds coriander and coffee cake.

Body: Warming alcohol heat. Orange crème. Chocolate toffee. Water adds honey and make lightly waxy. Lime notes. More water gives light grassy notes and a touch of peaty beef mix. Coffee cake.

Finish: Tingling alcohol. Moderate oak. Fudge. Water makes for toffee, lemon cakes and mild coffee cake. Still lightly waxy. More water adds coriander, beef slices and more coffee cake.

Conclusion: Me and Glen Scotia have had an odd relationship. By which I do not mean to imply that anyone at Glen Scotia actually know I exist – I’m not that egotistical. Just that I love half of the distillers in Campbeltown – by which I mean Springbank. I want to love Glen Scotia, I love the idea of the Campbeltown area and its small dedicated few distilleries, but none of the Glen Scotia whisky have really clicked with me. Until now.

The aroma on this is excellent, mixing deep liqueur like chocolate notes with light airy marshmallow and a mix of spice and oak. The body doesn’t initially seem to follow though with that – at over 50% abv the alcohol kills the tongue too quickly to get any of the subtle notes.

Water, as it almost always does, brings out the more subtle notes. In this case subtle variants in chocolate notes, and that waxy character that seems to follow Glen Scotia, a style that gives a lot of grip to its flavours. Now it also has a slight grassyness which I have to admit I think of as the trademarked Campbeltown style. What brings it all together is the coffee cake backing – it makes if feel more classy, a touch luxurious, like a high class chocolate box done Campbeltown style- and it all leads out into a similarly balanced, but just slightly smoky, finish.

In fact the finish is where the water has done its job the most – initially overly oaken it now lays down spicy, grassy and coffee cake noes that give a mellow and savoury send off against the sweeter main body. It is all restrained, classy, and complex. Finally, the Glen Scotia whisky for me.

Background: Grabbed in mini, this is towards the more expensive end of Glen Scotia’s main range, and is a no age statement whisky bottled at quite high abv. Seen at Independent Spirit this seemed a good chance to give the not commonly found Glen Scotia another try. Drunk while listening to Massive Attack: Mezzanine, great even for Angel alone, which is a genuine legend of a song but a solid album on top of that.

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