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Glen Scotia Double Cask

Glen Scotia Double

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

Glen Scotia Double Cask Tasting Notes

Colour: russet.

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.

Conclusions

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.

CategoriesSingle Malt
  1. Emile says:

    For what it’s worth: the untinkered Cambeltown whisky in the indeed very unsellable packaging (the anti-thesis of Ardbeg marketing) had a lot more character than this oak-doped cheap-vanilla rape of perfectly good funky spirit.

    Poor Scotia, it’s like this Batman-quote:
    “No one cared who I was until I put on the mask.”

  2. Mark says:

    Hi Emile. I can’t recall enjoying the psychedelic cow juice too much. Personally I like the newer dirtier style of the Victoriana too – what did you think of that?

  3. Emile says:

    Hi Mark, I guess that’s more or less my point. The cow-juice wasn’t flawless by any standard, quite some distilling errors and some strange notes due to low-quality casks. But at least it was whisky one could dislike, unlike any other being made in the industry at the moment.
    Even Islay whiskies are tinkered to be more palatable to a broader audience.

    The Victoriana for me suffers from the same ‘cheap’ vanilla from over-active Bourbon casks used to cover up the funky notes. The flaws are still underneath. I guess I rather prefer the slightly difficult and strange malt to these attempts to make it palatable. It had personality, one could old-style even. But maybe it’s me, as I don’t know many who like their malts as they like French cheese or Geuze beer.

    To make another movie reference: Glen Scotia isn’t a malt no one cares about like Fettercairn or Glenallachie, but a whisky that divides opinion. Just like Paul Verhoeven movies, there’s just something to it and the whisky’s hard to ignore. And some say Paul Verhoeven is a genius 😉

  4. Felix says:

    A wonderful malt. Very smooth with a round finish. It seems to get more enjoyable after ever glass. Unfortunately its not very suitable for bowling, after half bottle the score drops below 150 while islay whiskeys like lagavulin still deliver 180 after one bottle.

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