If like me, you spend your life tasting and reading about whisky, you will have heard the growing buzz around Glen Scotia.
One of the great Campbeltown whiskies. Opened and silenced a number of times but now owned by the exceptional talents at the Loch Lomond Group.
Glen Scotia 25 year old has recently won the 2021 Best Whisky in the world at the most prodigious San Francisco world whisky awards.
I was fortunate to be invited to participate in a recent tweet tasting which featured this fabulous dram. I was also, separately sent a sample of the distilleries seasonal 12 year old release 2011, so I have combined these into this review.
Glen Scotia Double Cask 46%
First fill Bourbon then PX casks
Nose: fruity, pear skins, caramel, mint, anise, oak, vanilla hint of musty smoke on a sea breeze . This fruit, toffee, salt combination ids typical of the Glen Scotia distillery along with consistently great casks.
Palate: salted crisps, apples, herbs, cedar note ginger, pepper, cinnamon
This is a whisky, I have enjoyed for several years. Well priced for such good spirit matured in excellent casks.
Glen Scotia 15 year old 46%
American Oak casks
Nose: red apples honey smoky liquorice, anise, orchard fruits
Palate: apples, syrup, oak, tangerine and pineapple, mango, buttered toast hints of brine, cinnamon touch of char
This is a very good 15 year old. Lots of balance and complexity. A top end 15 year old in a competitive segment of the market. A market that lower down generally disappoints but not this one – try it.
Glen Scotia Victoriana 54.2%
An old fashioned malt, celebrating the times when more than 30 distilleries graced Campbelltown and all inhabitants were connected to the industry.
Nose: orange peel, pears, custard pie, leather, well fired salty treacle, pipe smoke great nose.
Palate: chewy, ginger, pepper, toffee, sherry, oranges salted caramel , marmalade, marzipan There is a bit of age in this malt.
I am reliably told by the master blender it is mostly 10-12yo first fill bourbon matured with 10-20% 16-18yo refill American oak matured spirit depending on the batch. This is an exceptional combination, the freshness and energy of this whisky in its youth combined with great maturation producing complexity and flavour.
I have bought this whisky as my XMas dram. Its complexity makes it the perfect 2 hour sipper by the wood burner. In a world where non age statement signifies youth and strength, this cask strength dram is a perfect blended masterpiece, from a great distillery. I will enjoy sharing this with friends over XMas. This gives me great pleasure.
Glen Scotia 18 year old 46%
Matured in American Oak then Oloroso
Nose: tarte tattin, golden syrup fudge – real old fashioned fudge, dried fruits, cherry, fruit cake, coconut.
Palate: Seville orange Marmalade, Turkish delight toffee, a lovely salty tinge, milk chocolate, tobacco, an understated oak note. A great whisky in every aspect – my favourite 18 this year, I would have guessed it was older.
This is a superb whisky. I had always thought the 18 the lesser of the range but how wrong was I, this is superb.
Glen Scotia Seasonal 12 year old 2011 54.7%
First fill Bourbon 12 years then Olorosso finish cask strength
Golden colour slow fatty legs
Nose: Fruit and toffee pears apples almonds hints of brioche typical Glen Scotia salinity, very clean
Palate: toasted crumpet and butter raisins and orange peel very Christmassy truffle and malt A – mazing!
Finish : malty, liquorice, oak, vanilla, soft spices
Absolutely top notch dram super #XMas recommendation at a good price
And now to taste the best whisky in the world 2021.
What makes a whisky the best in the world?
It certainly needs to have depth of aroma and flavour, a great balance of spirit and cask during maturation. Most of all it needs that extra something, to differentiate it from its peers.
The Glen Scotia 25 has all of these. Having tasted the 12 seasonal , 15 and 18, I can now see where this comes from. A world leading whisky has to have a heritage in its maturation. Each year developing progressively more interest. The seasonal 12 had exceptional quality both of spirit and cask influences. The 15 gave these a boost and the 18 took these to a level of excellence unrivalled in that category. Finally, the 25 amplified all these features more complexity but more importantly more of each of the distinguishing aromas and flavours to deliver a most memorable dram. I have only experienced better in much older or longer matured whisky. For a 25 this is as good as it gets.
Glen Scotia 25 year old 48.8%
Specially selected casks then first fill Bourbon
Wow look at these legs, thick and slow,
Nose: Citrus herbs, earthy dunnage warehouse, coastal, note, iced caramels. That earthy dunnage gives hints of truffle, walnut and old leather. What a combination.
Palate: Orange marmalade, toffee, buttered toast, dry and pleasantly tannic – literally oolong tea, lemon bon bons, cinnamon, ginger, coffee deep but without any harshness, perfect abv.
Finish, root ginger, vanilla, hints of oak smoke and brine endures for ages.
I could sit with a dram of this for a whole evening and keep discovering more aromas and flavours. The original casks are so good that the first fill bourbon cask this was finished in lifted the entire effect without in any way overwhelming it, like seasoning on a wonderful meal. A masterpiece of the master blenders art.
These are whiskies that I buy for myself. The 18 year old will now be a permanent fixture on my whisky shelf. At £500 the 25 year old is beyond my budget but if you can afford it I would recommend it along with every single one of these great whiskies.
I should also mention that at the San Francisco World Whisky awards, Glen Scotia also won the accolade of the best distillery in the world. No surprise there to me.
What a tasting! Many thanks to Steve Rush at tweet tastings and the whisky wire and to Glen Scotia Malts who provided all of the samples.