Campbeltown’s Glen Scotia Victoriana 51.5%

Our Campbeltown minis explorations returned from Springbank to Glen Scotia to crack open the Victoriana NAS cask strength single malt.

Glen Scotia Victoriana 51.5%

  • Nose – Lemon pie, tart, sweet, doughy, lots of vanilla, more citrus chased by fresh caramel toffee sweets. After the 1st sip, added to the mix a light leather, more of the toffee, dried bay leaf or thatched straw roof, banana, sweet powder and above all vanilla… overall quite aromatic
  • Palate – Toffee caramel, tart, tobacco leaf, balance sweet spice
  • Finish – Tobacco, bitter yet pleasant and long

We both quite enjoyed this whisky – found it perfect for settling down in a comfy cushion chair or sofa, curling up with a nice dram and good book. However to be approached with caution as there is nothing that would hint at its strength – entirely deceptive as has the silky smooth flavourful feel of a 46% not 51.5%.

Here is what the folks over at Glen Scotia have to say about this whisky:

Each cask is chosen for its rare character and exceptional maturity. Finished in deep charred oak, the result is an exceptionally smooth single malt whisky whose aroma and flavour work in harmony. Bottled in the traditional way straight from the cask and without filtration, its subtle wood and vanilla flavour is enhanced by a full bodied spicy fruit aroma and mildly smokey aftertaste.

  • Nose – Dark again. An elegant nose with hints of oak driving the bouquet. Interesting creme brulee notes leading to generous caramelised fruits and finally polished oak.
  • Palate – Sweet and concentrated start with some jammy blackcurrant fruitiness. A big mid palate. Typical tightening towards the back palate. Becomes more austere with water.
  • Finish – Clean and initially sweet.The green bean, with cocoa characteristic.

What all did we try in our Campbeltown meanderings:

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Campbeltown’s Glen Scotia 15 year 46%

Our Campbeltown minis and more session began with Glen Scotia… According to the Glen Scotia folks, distilling in the Kintyre peninsula harkens back to 1609 with the distillery founded in 1832. It remained one of the two Campbeltown distilleries that survived the downturn in demand from the region and other factors that led to the closure of all but Glen Scotia and Springbank.

But what matters most is the malt… what did we think?

Glen Scotia 15 year 46%

  • Nose – Surprisingly ‘heavy’, with an initial chilli spice, the sweet white biscuits like shortbread, wet dough, loads of vanilla, wheat, light honey wine… becoming increasingly fruity with a citrus twist… after some time took on a cinnamon apple pie quality
  • Palate – Again that sense of substance, spices, hint of coffee, sweet fruits on the top of the palate, tobacco and a bit of salt at the back
  • Finish – Dry, light spice and a bit bitter

Truth be told we weren’t overly impressed initially… however as it rested, it took on increasingly a lovely honey citrus, a sweet sour spice combination that was well balanced and quite enjoyable.

Particularly after we tasted the full set and returned to it, we were delighted to find it silky smooth and really rather nice.

While we didn’t compare it directly with the Double Cask, I had a sense it may be more complex.

Here is what the folks over at Glen Scotia have to say about this whisky:

The whisky has been gently matured in our finest American oak barrels before bottling. The signature nose has hints of vanilla oak, interwoven with the subtle notes of sea spray and spicy aromatic fruits.

  • Nose – Richer colours. Broad and medium-weight with citrus peels, ginger snap biscuits. Sweet and with great depth. Apricot aromas develop then drift towards fruit salad. After a short time the wood come to the fore and water helps to release baked fruit.
  • Palate – A complicated palate where the initial nose would lead you to expect plump fruits, what you get is a surprisingly dry element. The palate fleshes out as the first impact of the nose fades. Adding water brings out the caramalised elements balanced with the wood elements expected of a 15 yr old.
  • Finish – Firm and slightly dry.

What all did we try in our Campbeltown meanderings:

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Campbeltown Quartet – Glen Scotia 15 + Victoriana, Springbank 15 + 37

It had been some time since we had a minis evening, and this time we focused on Campbeltown… augmented by a special whisky.

What all did we try in our Campbeltown meanderings:

What fun to explore a few drams  from the Campbeltown region… a once prodigious producer of whisky, now much reduced yet still bringing most enjoyable malts to the world.

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Minis – Glen Scotia Double Cask 46%

I will admit, I didn’t really know what to expect with this one. My minis sampling cohort had picked up a set in London more than a year or so ago – sparked mostly by a “What the heck! Let’s try a set from Cambleton.” Then this extra bottle somehow made its way back to Mumbai too!

The double cask in this case is  PX Sherry and Bourbon. And it just so happened to kick off our minis evening exploring a few different finishes.

Glen Scotia Double Cask 46%

  • Nose – Pear and apple combine like the New Zealand hybrid papple! Or raw guava…. with a lovely honey vanilla, fresh, then caramel stroopwafel, shifting into a Christmas pudding or mince pie, sweet spices, orange… After tasting, delicious baklava dripping in honey, nuts, doughy, cinnamon. Then shifted to dusty vanilla rose. Kept moving back and forth between citrus and white fruits, hard core treacle and denser rich cake. Wonderful!
  • Palate – Strong character – spice, more of that Christmasy flavours – this time a Christmas orange with cloves, some wood, some real depth without being too “heavy” and sweet, a bit dry too
  • Finish – Bitter spice, long with black pepper

I will admit to having very modest expectations and was completely impressed. What a fabulous range of aromas, robust palate, citrus then morphing between pastries and citrus oranges and back to treacle.

Glen Scotia Double Cask is their “entry” level whisky before shifting into a range of age statements. Here is what they have to say about this whisky:

Our Double Cask is matured in the finest first fill bourbon barrels before being finished for up to twelve months in Pedro Ximenez sherry casks producing this outstanding single malt whisky that provides the perfect balance of rich spicy fruits, overlaid with the characteristic sea spray and vanilla oak finish for which the house of Glen Scotia is famous.

  • Nose – Amber. Very sweet. Initially it is all creme caramel, caramelised fruit sugars, wood sugar, toffee and fudge before some apple and peach come through. In time a charred note of bourbon with a pleasing dusty dryness. Has some power.
  • Palate – Sweet start and quite fat and though the alcohol gives a little tongue-tingling buzz the result is a good mid-palate weight. The dry distillery character is there still, but there is now depth to counter. Water slightly dismantles the different elements, but adds some dried mint.
  • Finish – Deep and dark.

What a terrific start to our minis sampling – set the bar high with substance. And now I cannot wait to try a small sample set of Glen Scotia minis waiting in the wings for another session…

Our Fabulous Finishes Minis eve included:

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Minis with fabulous finishes – Glen Scotia, Nomad, Shelter Point

Believe it or not, we had a problem of plenty… lots of different minis to potentially explore picked up our several trips.

A tasting companion neatly organized into different possible sets and the one we elected to try was whiskies with finishes… we initially planned to sample four but in the end we were content with just these three:

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