A few days ago, Glen Scotia came to London.
Master distiller & blender Ian MacMillan presented three official Glen Scotia’s before concluding the tour with a single malt, valinched from a living, breathing cask.
Before that however came cocktails. The whisky-forward Proud Mary was a take on an Old Fashioned with PX sherry replacing the sugar.
- Glen Scotia double cask
- Pedro Ximenez sherry
- Honey water
- Orange bitters
After adding whisky glass chandelier to my Christmas list, we went into the mock warehouse to drink & talk about whisky.
- C: I had this a year ago and found it fairly decent  – given it’s only around 5 years old, having spent the majority of that time in first-fill US bourbon before a six month finish in second refill [PX] sherry. Ian is very pleased wth the result, and I can see why. It’s notably integrated, very well balanced whisky and the PX suits the distillate. I find this batch a notch better than last year’s, the body and form being that bit tighter, more focused.
Scores 83 points
I had samples and a bottle last year and found it to be cracking whisky . I meant to buy another bottle at the time before batch consistency affected the character/profile, but let it slip.
- C: After the young NAS, there’s a marked difference in flavour complexity and a soft yet vibrant fruity bouquet reveals a beautiful bergamot note. Sadly the unique dusty, hollow oak character which I found divine in 2017 batches has disappeared. I’m guessing there’s less older stock in here. Decent whisky nevertheless but it’s impossible for me not to lament last year’s batch.
Scores 85 points
I also found this very decent last year . You have to admire Glen Scotia for bottling at cask strength – a commitment to ‘craft’ no doubt. Ian tells us that next year, the abv for the Victoriana will be even higher at over 54%.
- C: I want to dilute but water doesn’t help it, which is awkward. Despite a decent enough charred US barrel-led sweet vanilla assembly on the nose and palate, the finish after the spiciness is nothing less than 12 months of oloroso – which resulting quashes my interest. Maybe PX casks would have suited this as well as they did for the Double Cask?
Scores 78 points
We then move to the cask lying on it’s side with a valinch propped up against it. Two relaxed flogs and the bung is out.
Glen Scotia 2001/ un-Ob. ex-bourbon cask #0000560 58-59%
This vintage 16-17yo Scotia is from a still-active ex-bourbon cask with duty paid.
- N: A fudgy, nutty=cereal-y oily nose with fusty vanilla, coconut and raisins.
- T: Dry butterscotch, fudge and oily vanilla with a soggy chalky bottom. Nick says it’s more like marl. Wiki says of marl ‘Marl or marlstone is a calcium carbonate or lime-rich mud or mudstone which contains variable amounts of clays and silt‘.
- F: Pretty much all cask and oily vanilla.
- C: Very much a cask-led affair but still makes for a decent whisky.
Scores 86 points
And there’s more from the Loch Lomond Group coming very soon, when Ibon Mendiguren Arantziamendi came to Brighton to present Malt n Copper with a series of six malts from the fascinating Loch Lomond distillery [Blog]