Today part of the Loch Lomond Group, Campbeltown’s Glen Scotia traces its history to 1832, however certainly had a few ‘silent’ periods. The first halt in 1930 was brought on the dramatic fall of distilling in the Campbeltown region triggered by the depression, temperance movement and rising distribution costs. Original known as “Scotia”, the distillery re-opened a few years later as “Glen Scotia” when bought by the Bloch Brothers. Fast forward to the next major decline in the whisky industry – no surprise is shut production from 1984 to 1989 – starting up again when bought by the Gibson group.
With our history lesson now over, what about the whisky? Well… it has both lightly peated and non-peated variants, playing around with American oak / ex-bourbon, oloroso and PX sherry casks.
As for our collective tasting experience? I’d explored a a few minis from Glen Scotia with a regular tasting companion. We found the entry expression – Double Cask 46% – was quite a good indicator of what is to come, noting the 15 year took a bit of time to ‘warm’ up, whereas the Victoriana 51.5% was a clear ‘pleaser’ from the start.
So then… what about this 16 year?
Glen Scotia 16 year 46%
- Colour – Coper and gold
- Mixed group – Musty cupboard, sour fruits, a bit like a fruity brandy, lots of honey, oak, floral talcum, rose peppermints, coffee sweets, chicory, lightly salted, dry spice, more light wood, grass, celery, cherry blossoms
- Virtual Ladies – A nice bourbon, fruits and nuts with cocao, changes so much in a gentle way… toffee, berries shifting to cherries… sweet but not too sweet… our IRL ladies also found beeswax
- Mixed group – Spiced Christmas oranges with cloves, dry salt, cigar leaf, gooseberries, apple – like calvados, sour plum, almonds, dry sherry, peppery spice, hint of peat
- Virtual ladies – Simply delicious! Incredibly silky with a great well rounded mouth feel. We tasted figs with dates, a gentle roasted quality… our IRL ladies agreed – noting what really stood out was the velvety smoothness with a hint of mint at the back
- Mixed group – Salty dry
- Virtual ladies – Sweet milk chocolate, after lingering for some time slowly eases out with a dry black licorice
- Water – A few drops didn’t hurt… but why dilute something so fine? Truly not needed
For the mixed group, we concluded overall that it had quite a friendly nose – more interesting and complex than the palate. Even after the glass was empty, the aromas were most appealing. For a few in our cross-country virtual tasting (from London to scattered locations around Europe to Mumbai) this was the favourite.
As for our ladies? We agreed! We found it had a fabulous harmony, makes its presence felt in a gentle enticing way. The kind of dram you want some ‘alone time’ with…. slow down and simply enjoy.
What more do we know? Just that it was matured in ex-bourbon and American oak (presumably virgin?) for a minimum of 16 years and released for Travel Retail. While the distillery notes do not indicate it was matured or finished in sherry casks, both their tasting notes and our experience would indicate a hint.
What do the folks at Glen Scotia have to say about their 16 year?
- Nose – Fresh sea spray and floral notes give way to softer caramel and vanilla
- Palate – Rich sherry flavours, toffee, raisins and roasted hazelnut. Apricot and orange add more subtle fruit notes
- Finish – Long dry finish with touches of peat combining with nutty elements and coastal, salty notes
I picked it up in Singapore’s Changi Airport in November 2018 for SGP 167 (approx EUR 105 / INR 9,100). A bit pricey, but then that is also Singapore…
What did we explore in our Campbeltown evening aside from the Glen Scotia 16 year?
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