Last in our Campbeltown trio was a no age statement Travel Retail offering from Glen Scotia. While one may be tempted to have an NAS before age statements, in this case, I knew this expression was both more peated than a standard Glen Scotia plus an experimentation with a PX sherry cask finish, so it ‘felt’ intuitively like the one to close with… even though the least expensive of the bunch!
That’s part of the magic with tasting order – when trying whiskies side by side, selecting the right progression of profiles is critical. Try something really intense up front and you can overwhelm the senses to miss completely the nuances of a subtler dram. It seems self-evident but can be tricky when you’ve never tried that particular expression and have to go by a ‘gut’ feel basis what you do know of the distillery, potential impact of the wood, particularly as described peat levels can be notoriously unreliable – both by ppm and the ‘eye’ (palate) of the beholder!
However in this case, my blind tasting companions from the first session confirmed the appropriateness of starting with the Springbank 10 year, followed by the Glen Scotia 16 year and this expression. So I followed the same approach for the Whisky Ladies virtual session held a few weeks later!
Whereas the small group of ladies began with this NAS followed by the Springbank 10 and Glen Scotia 16. In this case, tasting order made little difference – we had quite similar impressions of all three whiskies!
Glen Scotia 1832 Campbeltown 46%
- Mixed group – Started with Williams pear or dishrag (depending on who you ask!), walnut, caramel or toffee, bacon, dates, the gulkand that goes into paan, hints of vanilla, one also got kerosene or motor oil, sour leather… after some time – don’t laugh – but I got gummy bears!
- Virtual ladies – For us, it started with overripe almost spoilt fruits, quite pungent, oily, shifting from sweet overripe black grapes to bananas, then figs to nuts, with rum raisin.. shifted again to dahi… after even more time the over ripe fruit dimension was replaced by other elements like cardamon kheer, touch of smoke
- During our share and compare, the other group of ladies added their sense of honey lemon, comforting.. with a vanilla perfume
- Mixed group – A clean peat with cinnamon, salt and smoke, pepper fry, sweet stewed fruits, nice and round
- Virtual ladies – The 1st sip was a bit of a shock of bitter spice, but after the initial ‘punch’, the 2nd sip was smooth, still having spice but chased with subtle sweet peat, resin, with that tasty bitterness lingering… there was also a herbal green element we couldn’t quite place which the other group of ladies nailed – green capsicum
- Mixed group – Salt and pepper spice, dry
- Virtual ladies – The bit of bitterness remained, dry with black pepper licorice spice
In our mixed group, we initially found it a bit unbalanced… there was a curious quality for some time until it settled down. Once that “motor oil” quality finally dispersed and it began to grow on us. When we compared with the others, we found all three had dry finishes with this one a bit spicier than the others. Certainly the peat was more pronounced too, though clearly not a typical Islay style.
As for our ladies? For us, it was all the contrasts that made us slow down and really explore this one. As interesting as the nose was to begin with, after a few sips, it lost a bit of its pungency. However by contrast, the palate grew on us more and more. This whisky challenged us – in a good way, reminding us why it is so fun to explore different dimensions with others. The other group also enjoyed it – sharing the warm and tingly combined with perfume finish.
Bottom line – it was a ‘yes’ from all.
What do the folks at Glen Scotia have to say?
The higher peat content gives a more sweet and smoky character and a beautiful rounded finish.
- Nose – Peat smoke on a salty sea breeze with background notes of crème caramel and vanilla
- Palate – Golden syrup (light treacle), spiced apple and vanilla. Light medicinal peat notes bring balance to the mid-palate
- Finish – Long, lingering peat with dried fruit notes adding sweetness
I purchased this whisky late Oct 2019 from Munich airport for EUR 62 on my way back home to Mumbai…. ahhh…. those were the days when we could freely fly back and forth!
And with that, we finished our wee journey to the Campbeltown region with Springbank and Glen Scotia!
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