Tag Archive: Glen Scotia

Glen Scotia 15 Year

Glen Scotia: 15 Year (Scottish Single Malt Campbeltown Whisky: 15 Year: 46% ABV)

Visual: Deep bronzed gold.

Viscosity: Quite a few fast, thick streaks.

Nose: Golden syrup cakes. Gingerbread. Light alcohol presence. Chestnut honey. Coffee cake. Nutty. Milk chocolate.

Body: Light up front. Coffee cake. Gritty. Alcohol at the back. Dry honey. Water brings out grassy and slightly waxy character. Apricot. Vanilla toffee.

Finish: Gritty. Bitter. Shredded wheat. Coffee cake, Grassy. Chocolate malt drinks. Sour dough. Water makes waxy and slight brown bread. Dried apricot and light spice.

Conclusion: Darn it, just when I thought I was getting into Glen Scotia. On the nose this looked to be another one playing a binder. In fact looked good on the eyes as well. It all looked set to take a deeper, darker set of flavours to play amongst the native grassy, slightly waxy character.

Yeah, well, the body didn’t deliver that. I’ve given it both time and water and neither helped that much. For such a strong aroma, and for a respectable 46% ABV, the body actually comes in very light up front. Behind that initial light impression it is then a tad gritty – you do get some apricot and coffee notes but generally it Is emptier and yet also slightly rougher than expected. I can like rough but with big flavour. I can live with a light front for a smooth character. This has neither.

The finish is more to expectations with that Campbeltown grassy character, but again coming in a bit gritty. Throughout the whisky there is a solid coffee cake character, and a light waxy style, which are the best characteristics. Together by themselves they would provide a gripping and soothing whisky. Unfortunately put together with everything else it, overall, feels rough and empty in a slightly contradictory fashion.

Not doing much to bring me back to Glen Scotia again.

Background: Bit of a mixed background for old Glen Scotia, I love the Campbeltown area, but mainly for Springbank, on the other hand I recently tried a miniature of Glen Scotia that I adored, so I decided to grab this 15 year from Independent Spirit to give a try. There are only three distilleries in Campbeltown now, two of which owned by the same people. This is the odd third child of the group. Drank while listening to Garbage – Strange Little Birds, still not as good as their first two albums but I’ve not got bored of it yet which is a good sign.

Glen Scotia Victoriana

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.

Glen Scotia Double Cask

Glen Scotia: Double Cask (Scottish Campbeltown Single Malt Whisky: 46% ABV)

Visual: Slightly rose wine to gold.

Viscosity: Fast thick streaks.

Nose: Big plums and raisins. Pencil shavings and ginger cake. Light smoke. Rum. Brandy cream. Beef. More toffee like if you add water, along with a grassy character.

Body: Smooth. Slight tingle of alcohol. Caramel. Sherry trifle. Slightly grassy and slightly peaty. Raspberry yogurt light edge notes. More grassy with water and gains charred oak. Also adds plums.

Finish: Grassy. Slight charred oak and dry beef slices. Strawberry. Water makes slightly oily and nutty. Slight chocolate. Blueberry.

Conclusion: Welcome back Glen Scotia, so, you have a double barrelled name this time? Very posh. let’s see if this is the one to get some Scotia love going from me.

First impressions are positive! Wooo!. Big plum and raisins right out the door, floating in the big and evident aroma. Definitely not what I expected from past experience with the distillery. The spirit is slightly smokey, not heavily so, about the same level as I would expect from Springbank, also slightly grassy in a similar vein.

In fact, a lot of this reminds me of Springbank – the grassiness, the moderate smoke and peat, the ..ok, just those two after all, but they make a big impression. The big plum and dark fruits do show up again in the body, especially with water, but far less evident than they were in the nose – a pity as I really wanted to see these big, contrasting, flavours fight it out. Instead we get a grassy, smoky whisky with hints of dark fruit.

The finish is much more what I hoped for, balancing nigh perfectly as more fruit notes come out. Another case of a whisky where top and tail does the job but the middle doesn’t manage to quite hold it together.

Despite that this is solid enough, there is the oily nuttiness to the finish that gives it a character that distinguishes it from the Springbank comparisons, calling more to the Glen Scotia identity, adding to that the dark fruit, which while not perfect, does add something, and you have a Glen Scotia I can get along with. In my mind Springbanks till rules the Campbeltown roost, but this does a lot to make me think there is room to be explored with Glen Scotia. Not great, but good and so I can live with that.

Background: Ok, copy paste the copy paste. ” Ok, bias warning first: This is a part of the Masters Of Malt Whisky Calendar given to The Bath Whisky and Rum Club, part of Independent Spirit, who invited me to assist with the notes in return for uploading them to alcohol and aphorisms. Sounded a very fair deal to me. Also, due to this we each only had half of the 3cl bottle so thoughts are based on a smaller exploration than usual. On the other hand I could not say no to the chance to try so many new whiskies. Many thanks!” I am a big fan of Campbeltown, or more correctly, Springbank. There are not many Campbeltown distilleries any more. Glen Scotia has not impressed me as much so far. This was drunk while listening to Dirty Knobs: Hallow again. Warning, do not fall asleep while listening to that, you get very odd dreams. I speak from experience.

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.

Glen Scotia 12 (Scottish Campbeltown Single Malt Whisky: 12 years: 40% ABV)

Visual: Moderate burnished orange.

Viscosity: A mix of fast and medium trails of moderate thickness.

Nose: Light grassy, syrup and planed wood. The lightest touch of smoke. Quite easy going. Airy grain stores and fresh glazed pastries. Smoothes to a more floral bouquets with water. – Crushed petals.

Body: Sweet, grassy. Much sweeter with water when vanilla and toffee comes out. Even more water replaces that with custard sweetness.

Finish: Light charred oak, crushed leaves and slight menthol. Grain. Water brings out tree bark, malt drink and fudge.

Conclusion: Aha, finally, the last Campbeltown distillery I had yet to try, and a surprisingly simple bodied one. A light grassy sweet thing without a huge range to its name.

Not the best Campbeltown then, initially too simple but water does give it some legs.

With water the whisky expands in the nose and finish, with the finish especially benefiting with contrasting bark and fudge elements.

The body also expands its sweet range, just not to the same extent. Though the contrast with the grassiness becomes more obvious and brings interest to the sipping. One to two teaspoons really does the trick and brings the whisky to where it should be.

Oddly then a whisky you wish for the end of, well the end of each sip so to enjoy the floating flavours, not the end of the dram.

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