As a Millennial, I personally drink all of my whisky from glencairns made from the bones of industries I personally have seen befallen before me. However with great power comes the writer’s need to balance things with downsides, and as a Millennial I am stuck having rose coloured glasses for both periods I was part of and parts I wasn’t.
Think back to the 1950s? Let’s not discuss the vast inequality to women and minorities, let’s talk about wearing a suit and having gelatin with every fancy dinner instead! Regency era? Let’s not discuss the problems with social mobility or how it reinforces a positive view of the aristocracy, we get to wear fancy dress!
Enter Glen Scotia 8, a release from the 1980s from the Campbeltown distillery. To give an idea of how much Campbeltown has grown in the last few years, when I first started reviewing Scotch, upon visiting the Scotch whisky experience, they didn’t pour a Campbeltown as part of their gold entry (which came with one whisky from 4 out of 5 regions). Now? If you don’t bring up how nice certain Campbeltowns are when discussing whiskies, you’re not totally informed.
But what about Glen Scotia? I can honestly say I’ve never had a Glen Scotia from before 1990, or if I did I totally can’t remember it because I didn’t write it down. What if Glen Scotia was a darling of the 80s? What if it was different? Anyone who has tasted older Bowmore will tell you things can change greatly.
Let’s see, shall we?
Price: £ 150
Colour: 5Y 9/4
Nose: Sweetgrass, mineral, chemical, anise
Less oily than traditional Campbeltown, no stone fruit I”m used to. Alright, so this is different from what I’m used to, that’s a good start.
Grassy, some sweet notes, spice, and an odd “I just spilled some cleaning fluid” note. Not really that inviting, but the 80s were different, so maybe they wanted less sugar. Or less fat or something.
Taste: Salt water, caramel, apple, lemonade
Salt and a nice amount of fruit and caramel, and an odd sweet acidic note. A lot better than the nose. Way better.
That’s not saying too much, this is very watery and not really showing too much. Sure, it’s an 8-year-old whisky, but I just reviewed a 3-year-old one from a New World distillery that had more to it and less alcohol, so… not really an excuse here.
Finish: Grassy, walnut oil, nutmeg, mineral
So on the one hand there’s a continuation of salt and grassy elements, something that you usually get in Lowlands, of which I’m a fan. Spice and bitter nutty notes. Honestly the finish is beating out the rest… which is something. Wish it had a bit of fruit to it.
Conclusion: A salt-brine grassy thing that I don’t think is something people like, but if you do, I’m happy for you and wish you all the best. I’m not so much it. It felt like the nose was an afterthought (cocaine use may have made good whisky noses required back then). The taste is balanced and works, and the finish is nice, but I wish there was some fruitiness to it.
Is it worth the rose coloured glasses? Not this time. It’s pretty simple and should stay in the past for the collectors who don’t open whisky (more than the drinkers who don’t open whisky). I won’t turn down more chances to try other older Glen Scotia offerings, but not as quickly.
Scotch review #1526, Campbeltown review #83, Whisky Network review #2245