Is there an updated, not old version of Jan from the Brady Bunch? I don’t know of one, so I’m going to go with it.
Glen Scotia is the Jan of Campbeltown. No, I don’t know if anyone who owns it or works there says “Springbank! Springbank! Springbank!” in a whiney pre-teen way, and I certainly hope they don’t because that would be insane.
No, I mean it’s the one distillery in a town of greats. You have the three great releases from Springbank, all following old methods and being all tasty and fun. Then you have Kilkerran, which is also funded by Springbank, a newcomer that people are very interested in.
Glen Scotia has been around longer, and now seems like the middle child. Astute annoying dorks will point out that maybe, maybe Glen Scotia needs to catch up with the quality standards of their neighbours, or something about meritocracy, however I’d say that’s too simple. A company is beholden to various complex financials and the history of the company.
However we’re in a time where sticking with one distillery is a quick way to no longer having whisky around, or the ability to retire… Wait, I’m a millennial, we can’t retire anyway… I guess… the ability to have avocado? Yeah, that.
So when I can’t get any other Campbeltown due to the current market, I have to ask: Have I missed something from the middle child of this Brady Bunch region?
Today I”m going to try two different Glen Scotia releases: One that was released for the Campbeltown Malts Festival of 2021 (a subset of March 2020 that we’re all stuck in) and one single cask picked out for those wacky drinkers over at Whiskybase.
These should change my mind, if any are going to, right? Let’s see, shall we?
Glen Scotia 10 Campbeltown Malts Festival 2021
Casks Used: First Fill Bourbon, Bordeaux Red Wine Finish
Colour: 7.5YR 6/8
Nose: Raspberry, mint, engine oil, cashew, papaya
Fruity, some nice mint, and industrial oil. So it’s Campbeltown whisky, great.
Let’s stop being a dick farmer and get to the brass tacks: Good nuttiness, and the red wine finish cask is nice. I’m guessing the initial fruit and nuttiness comes from it. Nothing really complex, but water brings out some tropical notes that were nice.
Taste: Maple, ginger, hazelnut, honeydew
Oh, cool. The nose promised to help me move and the taste is drunk at home with their truck. Awesome.
That was a strained way of saying the nose is a lot nicer. The taste seems closer to a Canadian whisky. Which, as a Canadian who drinks whisky, isn’t a compliment. It’s never a compliment.
Finish: Ginger, oil, brine, raisin, anise
Spice, some more of the oil to make up for the overall Canadian whisky vibe, along with more fruit. Yeah, the finish is like your mom apologising to friends for you flashing people at a party.
Unfortunately you’re 20 and not 4, so it hits differently. Not bad, but it’s still just an apology, so it’s missing something.
Conclusion: It’s like someone in Campbeltown made a Canadian whisky, but one of the better ones. Which I mean as a compliment and a put down at the same time. A complisult, if you will.
The nose is very nice, if a bit shy, and hints at what they were aiming for. It just only worked a bit on the nose. The obvious question comes up: If you were at the festival, and you decided to buy this, or if you missed it and decided to buy it via either a store or an auction, would you be happy? I’d say not really. It’s a simple whisky that would be fine to have as a daily dram.
It reminds me of the older, high end “traditional” blended whiskies. They always have a great nose and hope you stick to that. Same thing. And cheaper. So that’s nice.
Glen Scotia 19 1999 Single Cask
Thanks to /u/unclebaldric for pouring me this dram.
Price: € 230
Vintage: November 8, 1999
Bottled: April 2019
Cask type: Refill Barrel
Cask number 683
Number of bottles: 168
Bottled for: Members of Whiskybase.com
Colour: 5Y 8/8
Nose: Peach, earth, vanilla custard, red licorice, puff pastry
Without water this starts out with the typical Campbeltown terroir profile: Stone fruit, some sweets, and earth, though no industrial elements. Which for some of you will be a downer, and the other group will watch them with suspicion.
With water it’s closer to a sweet dram, think a dessert dram.
Taste: Lemon, mineral water, orange chocolate, vanilla
Good mixture of acidity, bitterness, and sweet. The taste feels like it was developed to show that off. Which is silly, this is a single cask, and it’s all luck of the draw.
That said, I hate orange and chocolate together, so please note my score will be lower due to this obvious childish bias. Jaffa cakes taste like ass, and not in a good way.
Finish: Red apple, ginger, oak, cinnamon sugar, heather
Finishes like a low calorie apple pie. But a good one? Like someone tried really hard and used a lot of good techniques to show that off and I appreciate it and want them to feel part of the group even though they need to have diet desserts.
Conclusion: Tastes like a diet dessert, but done well. Opens up wonderfully with time/water. It’s definitely something you’d have with dessert. And if you enjoy sweets. You’ll go nuts if you love oranges and chocolate.
It’s certainly unique and worth grabbing if you have the chance. I feel like it was released as a single cask because it’s lost some of the industrial side to things. It wouldn’t have worked with others.
Frankly if I liked orange and chocolate this would have been one of the best Glen Scotia’s I’ve ever had. So I’ll keep trying them. There’s hope out there.
Scotch review #1510-1511, Campbeltown review #81-82, Whisky Network review #2217-2218