We’re staying with Campbeltown, but heading over to Glen Scotia for today’s reviews. We've got the most recent festival edition alongside a historical festival single cask for comparison.
Glen Scotia Campbeltown Malts Festival Edition 2022
This year’s Glen Scotia festival edition consists of some heavily peated spirit that was distilled in 2013, matured for seven and a half years in first fill bourbon barrels, before a twelve-month finish in first fill Pedro Ximenez hogsheads.
Caramel, milk chocolate backed up with an oily and coastal sea breeze. We’re getting medium levels of peat, kiln smoke, earthy dunnage aromas and freshly wetted peat. Going back to it we’re getting slightly burnt chocolate ganache, maple syrup and cinnamon sticks. The alcohol seems to be nicely integrated and not overpowering.
Fudge coated in chocolate, treacle toffee, raisins doused in olive oil, kirsch with a solid backbone of peat smoke. There’s a citric note on the front palate that’s a little out of place, lemons left in the smoker. The alcohol brings a little spice, black pepper leading into a reasonable length finish. Going back we’re getting a little bitter oak and salt.
Nose (with water)
It’s spicer on the nose now, there’s baking spices like cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. We’re also getting more of the peat now. Getting deeper in we’re now finding some of that original bourbon cask maturation with the vanilla and lighter oak coming through.
Palate (with water)
Some sweeter red fruits start to appear, strawberries, raspberries and heaps more smoke now. Cured, smoked venison and more of that black pepper. Earthy, dry dirt and sea salt carrying through to the finish.
The finishing period has really impacted the spirit here, giving it a really interesting, rich flavour that carries through well alongside the peat. However, we find the alcohol is a bit out of balance for us. It’s one for the peat lovers out there, but perhaps not our favourite dram. It’s good quality whisky though and we’d have another dram.
Glen Scotia Campbeltown Malts Festival 2017 Cask #554
This single cask was released for the 2017 malts festival. It’s 15 years old.
Initially it’s very creamy, with the addition of caramel. It’s actually very light on the nose. There’s the typical bourbon vanilla aromas showing, but they’re really well balanced with the light yet slightly funky spirit. We’re not getting any peat on the nose, just lovely French cream pastries, profiteroles and a slight hint of musty dunnage warehouse air. Going back we’re getting a touch of candied lemon peel and a hint of sea salt. It’s a very pleasant nose.
The palate has a woody start, following into a big vanilla hit and ending with some limoncello. The spirit itself is nice and oily, and coats the mouth well, but the alcohol may be a little hot. Going back we’re getting white chocolate coins, a touch of irn-bru and some Victoria sponge cake going into a really flavourful finish that lasts a good while. It’s probably got the best mid to end palate we’ve tried this year.
Nose (with water)
It’s butterier now, like the cream from the undiluted nose has been churned for a while. There’s a little more oak coming through along with a faint hint of orchard fruits. We’re still getting all of the vanilla, sugar and citrus from before. The water doesn’t seem to have changed the aromas too much.
Palate (with water)
We’re now finding more citrus, lemons and lime. Sadly we’re finding some of the oily mouthfeel missing with the added water, but the alcohol has been brought into better balance, and we’re finding candy necklaces and sherbet now. The finish still retains a good length with some white grape flavours appearing.
We couldn’t find much information on the cask type, but we’re pretty sure it’s first fill bourbon. This is bursting with bourbon cask goodness, and carries it all the way through the nose and palate well. We’d say the alcohol brings a little too much spice into the fold, but it’s still a great example of a bourbon matured whisky left in the cask for the right amount of time. In our opinion it’s a little pricey for the age, but maybe that’s just the way the industry is going.
- 10 - Perfection. A whisky that we’ll remember forever.
- 9 - Amazing. We’d pay through the nose for a bottle.
- 8 - Great. Pick this up at RRP.
- 7 - Good. Happy to have a dram or two but wouldn’t buy a bottle.
- 6 - Passable. Would accept a dram, but wouldn’t seek it out.
- 5 - Poor. Would drink if it was the only option.
- 4 - Bad. Maybe it can be saved by ginger beer?
- 3 - Awful. It can't be saved by ginger beer.
- 2 - Pour it out
- 1 - We’ve never tried a whisky rated this low and hopefully never will.
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