Campbeltown whiskies are still kinda a mystery.
I mean, I’ve reviewed a bunch. Some would even say quite a bit more than a bunch.
When I first got into Scotch, I was on a tour and was given one whisky from each region, with the exception of Campbeltown. At the time they either didn’t have it or didn’t want to change up their four-quadrant scratch and sniff chart to include it.
Since then the price for some of this region has gone through the roof, however every so often I get to try another. Enter Glen Scotia.
Wait, that sounds mean. I don’t mean to say that you have the “pricy” whiskies and then Glen Scotia. Kilkerran can be inexpensive and some Springbank Society drams can be a good value for what they are.
More so I mean that you can still obtain Glen Scotia for a price that isn’t reserved for “special bottles” in your collection. But are they going to scratch the same itch? Hard to say, especially as someone who really does love Springbank.
So let’s see how two Glen Scotia releases taste, shall we?
Glen Scotia 21
Thanks to /u/throwboats for this sample.
Cask type: Ex-Bourbon Casks
Colour: 10YR 7/8
Nose: Fresh mango, buttery bread, sugar cookie, lime
Nice strong tropical fruit note, some bread and yeast, and a good amount of citrus/sweets. This is ex-bourbon? Really not picking that up as much. Good light notes, easy to nose, and nothing too over-the-top.
Taste: Nectarine, caramel, vegan chocolate, graham cracker, salt
Really, ex-bourbon? Weird. The initial nectarine and the not creamy chocolate note has me a bit confused. Has a lot of sweets going on, with water bringing out salt to attempt at balance.
Finish: Strawberry, cinnamon, brown sugar, smoke, caramel, brine
Really odd cask going on here. Lots more fruit, spice, brown sugar. I’ve looked it up now multiple times and each time it says ex-bourbon. I still don’t really believe it.
Nice finish, though again I wanted it to have more.
Conclusion: An ex-bourbon whisky that tastes like there’s a sherry influence. Interesting, but not wowing me. The vegan chocolate note isn’t my thing. No offence to vegans, there’s some good vegan food out there. From my experience, it’s Indian in origin and it’s wonderful. It’s just not typically chocolate, again, in my experience.
Good fruit backbone, lots of sweets, some spice and salt. It never mixes things too much. The nose is the only part with a big, strong flavour to it and that’s the bread/mango on it. Maybe this needed more abv? I just feel like it drank much younger than the age statement would lead me to believe.
Glen Scotia Rum Cask Finish Campbeltown Festival 2019
Price: $70 USD
Cask Type: Rum Cask Finish
Colour: 5Y 9/6
Nose: Light molasses, smoke, Pepino melon (somewhere between a melon and a vegetal note)
Sweet and smoke, then this odd mixture of savoury and sweet notes. Like when you have a salad and it has raisins in it? No, more like the Pepino melon, if that helps.
Very odd. Smoke and molasses are the main things to enjoy. The other is odd and hard to wrap my head around. Never changes too much, even with time/water.
Taste: Roast veggies, peach candy, popcorn, limoncello
Better development of the peat into a vegetal aspect, more sweet notes, some butter/cereal playing nice, and even a good bitter/citrus note. Taste is making up for all the crap conversation the nose started.
Finish: Butter, cocoa, roast corn, farmy, brown sugar, lemon
The complexity comes a bit apart here, with simpler notes, however, that roast-y flavour and the brown sugar is still doing it for me. Also, a good helping of acidity to cut through some of the fatter flavours is going a good way. Finally, they are adopting some of that farminess that I really, really love in whiskies.
Conclusion: The hype on this one is a bit high. It’s good for the price, and not a bad rum cask (which is rare), however at the end of the day it’s a peated whisky that you’ll like if you like peat.
It’s a peated whisky with a good dollop of brown sugar. The finish adds in more, and it really does explore a roasted flavour over and over. That said the nose is all sorts of weird and the finish isn’t as complex as I’d like it.
That all said, I’d prefer to see a whisky like this 9 times out of 10. It’s not cost-prohibitive, it’s not watered down, it’s having fun, and it’s actually a rum cask that you wouldn’t want to throw out instead of using for posts.
Scotch review #1323-4, Campbeltown review #70-71, Whisky Network review #1982-3