Posts Tagged With: Campbeltown

Tasting Notes: Glen Scotia 16

Glen Scotia 16yo

Glen Scotia distillery is based in the “Victorian Whisky Capital of the World” Campbeltown. It is one of the three remaining functioning distilleries in the town and claims to still focus on creating the same characteristics of the single malts that made the region so famous in the 1800s. The distillery was recently bought by the Loch Lomond group, which is just down the road – albeit that round is the A83 and is some snaking 100 miles long! The 16 year old whisky is labelled as a special edition and was recently launched as a ‘travel retail only’ expression, thus making it a little more difficult to get hold of and a little more expensive than it’s 15 year old sibling from their core range. The whisky has been “gently matured” in a mix of Bourbon and American Oak casks. 

ABV 46%


Nose

M: Very delicate. Very light. There’s a combination of super sweet smells plus a really floral scent that reminds me of parma violets. A little bit of saltiness too.

S: Some kinda mint choc chip ice creaminess and moscavado sugar.

Taste

M: That sweet floral tang becomes a zingy sherbet and spice which eases up to a more buttery flavour – like the end bit of a Werther’s Original?!

S: Really sweet and fruity, like candied oranges.

Finish

M: So fresh and so clean. Sugary sweets melt and leave some salted milk chocolate on the way out.

S: Those sweet flavours tail off and leaves that kinda piney woody finish.

Verdict

M: This whisky is like a sweet sweet dessert, but without being filling or heavy. The flavours really remind me of a whole bunch of different childhood favourite sweets, but with a touch of saltiness and plenty of booze to boot! It’s quite an unusual single malt experience to come across when you’re used to big, deep, and dark flavours from whisky that’s been in a barrel for 16 years. I could get through a lot of this stuff. It has left me wanting more, and the supporting Campbeltown story has got me even more intrigued in the history of the region and what those classic malts must have tasted like from times gone by.
 

S: It’s kinda hard to believe that it’s been maturing for 16 years. I mean, really? It’s still so fresh and tastes ‘young’. I’m glad I’ve tried it and I did enjoy it but not enough to make me go out and buy a whole bottle.

Glen Scotia Flight Pack

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Tasting Notes: Glen Scotia – 25 Years Old

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Glen Scotia 25

Known for their lighter, more delicate  single malt whiskies, Glen Scotia is one of the three remaining active distilleries in the legendary Scotch region of Campbeltown. Acquired by the Loch Lomond Group in 2014, and releasing only a few core expressions of single malts, the Glen Scotia 25 year old whisky was launched at the Campbeltown whisky festival on 24th May 2017 and promises to be a new staple release.

ABV: 48.8%


Nose

M: Nice gentle peat smoke upfront and then soft, fresh green fruits (apples and pears) when you give it a bigger sniff.

 

Taste

M: Light body and fresh fruits, kinda remind me of a crisp white wine at first and then waves of light peat smoke take over. Lots of delicate fruity flavours in there.

 

Finish

M: That white wine sweetness and fruitiness is quickly followed by peat smoke (more than I thought it would) and  a little peppercorn spiciness before fading back to the Parma Violet sweetness

 

Verdict

I’m amazed that all elements of this whisky have been in a barrel for at least quarter of a century. It is so light in colour and body, but that must mean that it’s maturity is all in the flavours. Really nice and fresh fruity flavours that are all complemented by the peat smoke. I would be even more intrigued to find out what it tastes like without the peat element. Overall it’s a lovely whisky and definitely one that’s more suited to the summer months, than the peat monsters I’d associate with winter. When it comes to the wallet though, there are 25 years of rent to cover within the bottle price, so it’s not something to go around drinking everyday, despite how much you’d want to.

 

I should also thank Steve @TheWhiskyWire for arranging the tweet tasting sample set 👍🏻

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From Whisky To Beer – A Spirited Journey

It might seem odd for someone to be writing about beer on a whisky blog but stick with me on this one…

 

I’ve always been a whisky man. There’s never really been any other type of alcoholic drink that I’ve enjoyed more thoroughly. Like many whisky fans, I’ve had to have THAT conversation with people countless times. You know the one

 

Me: “Fancy a dram?”

Them: “I don’t like whisky!”

Me: “What?! Why not? Go on. I’ll get you one. A good one. Just to try it.”

Them: “No. It’s horrible.”

Me: “Just be open minded. You’re missing out.”

Them: “No. I’ll just have a beer.”

Me: “Fair enough. Your loss.”

 

For me, there’s always the thought at the back of my mind that I might be the one that gets this person over the line and make that first step into the wonderful whisky world. Short of pouring/wasting some down their neck however, there’s little that you really can do. Plus, I never want to become a whisky bore.

 

Until a couple of years ago though, I had experienced that same conversation with people but in reverse, because (shock, horror) I never really liked drinking beer. Sure, I had dabbled, but when it came to long drinks, I had always been a cider drinker.

 

[‘What? Now he’s talking about cider?’ Again, bear with me…]

 

One evening though, I was on holiday and absolutely gasping for a long, cold drink. Unfortunately though, they had no cider. In fact, cider didn’t feature in this country at all. Given that I was on holiday, the thought of a soft drink didn’t really cross my mind. Whisky certainly wouldn’t have been the right call. The barman took one look at me however and poured me a tall glass of their house lager, which he proclaimed to be brewed just down the road. His smile beamed brightly and, without wanting to be impolite (and therefore being incredibly British about it), I slaked my thirst and… I didn’t die. I didn’t dislike it. I didn’t entirely enjoy it. It served a purpose and that purpose was good. I ordered another, just to make sure.

 

Suddenly, the blinkers were off. I found myself on the other side of THAT conversation but instead, finally saying “Ok. Let’s do this!”

 

When I came back from the holiday, I met with a friend of mine – who was frankly delighted at my enlightenment – and we devised a map. By looking at the distillery map of Scotland, we plotted a beer drinking experience that would take on the features of some of my favourite whiskies to open up my tastebuds to the brewing beauties that I had avoided for years – looking particularly to those regularly available in UK shops.

 

[Incidentally, a couple of years before, he had tried to get me into beer by plying me with Innis & Gunn’s whisky beers but that experiment failed horribly…]

 

whisky-region-maps-with-beers

My Scotch-to-Beer Map

As with any whisky tasting, we started light. For our lowland dram equivalent, we went for a lager or pilsner. Something that’s an easy starter, with good fruity, zesty spark. Here Auchentoshan met Budvar.

 

Across to the west, we figured that the rich history, big flavours and cult-like nature of Campbeltown warranted a pairing with the much sought after Trappist beers and farmhouse Saison beers of Belgium. On this journey Springbank was twinned with Chimay.

 

Moving northwards to Speyside and the home of the whisky trail, any dram enthusiast is totally spoilt for choice. Here we decided to pair the myriad of available IPAs and pale ales with the region to reflect the mass popularity and wide ranging varieties available. For Speyside, we equated Glenfiddich with Sierra Nevada.

 

Further north still, we looked at the offerings of the highlands, and bearing in mind the broad, warming tastes and chilly temperatures experienced by the inhabitants we figured that they matched a classic pint of bitter or winter ale. Old Pulteney made way for Old Speckled Hen.

 

Surrounding the Scottish mainland, the islands’ offerings have always intrigued me. Whichever style they deliver, it always excels. With the interesting range of drams available from the isles that often require to be enjoyed and savoured over a period of time, we thought that they would be best suited to the fruity flavoured Hefeweizen or sour treat of Gose beers. Here we matched Talisker to Franziskaner.

 

Finally, we crossed the journey’s hypothetical seas to Islay and took the smoky and earthy notes that we enjoy so much to sampling some smoked beers, stouts and porters. Here Ardbeg’s rich and robust flavours met Guinness – and particularly their West Indies Porter.

 

And there we have it. A rough and ready pairing of whiskies to beers. Whilst the particular pairings might not be to your liking, the overview of each style certainly helped my tastebuds adapt and appreciate the different brews and experiences available. A couple of years on and I’m still exploring the delights of different beers from around the world and would consider myself a little more versed for the exploration and mapping. Truth be told, I’d still take a dram over a pint any day, but there’s a time and place for everything and this little spirited journey certainly helped me along the way. Of course, the other benefit here is that this theoretical trip could occur vice versa and could assist a beer-loving whisky-noob find his way along the path to dram discovery.

 

Scotch and Beer Table

Scotch-to-Beer Table

Just as a final point aside, I would add that the best whisky beer that I’ve had to date is the mighty Fyne Ales’ Fynebank smoked beer that is casked in ex-Springbank barrels. For me, the two worlds successfully collide on this one.
MH

 

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