Glen Scotia has gone under a bit of a renaissance of late. It used to be that Campbeltown distillery whose bottles featured psychedelic cows. It probably didn’t take a clever consumer research group to tell them that their designs probably wouldn’t herald a bold new future, so they’ve come up with some much more classy packaging instead. And now people are actually starting to properly notice the whisky.
Glen Scotia itself has had a bit of a chequered history. It was founded in 1832, by Stewart, Galbraith and Co, and situated now in the centre of Campbeltown, the one-time whisky capital of the world. Campbeltown, famously, had about thirty distilleries at one point, as its position on the Kintyre peninsula made export to the USA very easy – before prohibition, that was… The distillery exchanged hands several times after numerous financial failures. More recently it was overhauled in 1979 with a million pounds of investment, only to close a few years later. Loch Lomond distillery took over in 2000, and now produce 100,000 litres of whisky a year from the place.
Back in the day there were limited Glen Scotia releases from an 8 year old through to a 26 year old. But it’s only in recent years that the distillery has produced a solid core range, which today includes a 15 year old and the Victoriana, which is a decent dram too.
Glen Scotia Double Cask is available for around £36 a bottle, though only a few retailers seem to have it in stock at the moment. It’s matured in ‘finest oak’ then finished in first-fill bourbon barrels, followed by Pedro Ximenez sherry casks. To my cynical mind, to be finished in first-fill bourbon suggests that the whisky might have been rescued from poorer casks and put into decent ones, but I may be wrong… Anyway, it’s bottled at a very good 46% ABV.
Glen Scotia Double Cask Tasting Notes
On the nose: heavy, dirty stuff (in a good way). Oily, with whiff of industry about it: tar or diesel oil. Green tea. Floral honey. Dried apricots. Hops, with a faint cereal note once the heavier notes fall away. Fudge. Brine.
In the mouth: lovely velvety texture, and such bold flavours of redcurrants, blackberries, raisins, prunes and then charred meats, like a burnt sausage dipped in HP sauce. Bitter dark chocolate. Fudge. Oily. Sandalwood. Assam tea. Toffee. Citrus and a little brine. A very, very warm finish of ginger.
Whisky with a lot of character for not much money. Excellent value and very well put together. At £36, the Glen Scotia Double Cask is very much worth a punt. I’m impressed, and this only adds to my theory that the most interesting whisky in the world is coming out of Campbeltown right now.