Springbank’s courtyard is a hive of activity. “Isn’t it supposed to be Glen Scotia Day today?”, asks Steve to another staff member. Before we head over to the distillery, there’s time after the Springbank Society Tasting, to nip into the Ardshiel Hotel and see John & Julie who are presenting festival drams from the SMWS.
Glen Scotia 2008 10yo Campbeltown Malts Festival 2019 SMWS 93.108 Earthy & Masculine [222 bts] 58% WB86.50
- N: We are talking of an all-bourbon funkster, offering fresh resinous vanilla and a hessian note.
- T: Super-clean & slick on sweet vanilla resins. Faultless straight shooter that gains traction.
- F: Sustained finish, though not quite so with water. Barley sugar finish, some hessian underneath.
- C: A decent cask-led contemporary-styled bottling.
Scores 83 points
Glen Scotia 2010 7yo SMWS 93.105 Tea Leaves & Seaweed [230 bts] 61.6% WB88
- N: Vanilla lemon meringue with a sprinkling of tutti fruity.
- T: Another sweet one but this is cream cake filling-sweet with a nice cask toasting, more tasty & entertaining tutti fruity, caramel confectionary sweetie-sugars, marzipan,… all sorts in fact.
- F: Even more robust than 93.108. Full-on [bitter & hot] to the last but it loosens somewhat with water.
- C: Lots of tasty sweet sugars on offer. We buy a bottle, report to follow.
Scores 86 points
Glen Scotia 2011 7yo European Festivals Exclusive 2019 SMWS 93.110 West Coast Warlock [248 bts] 60.1% WB88.50
- N: A peaty funky shopping list nose that’s to my liking.
- T: After that fine and colourful nose, there’s not a great deal on the palate. Though it becomes creamier, I find it a touch prickly and water almost neutralises it.
- F: An oily dry peaty conclusion.
- C: Uneventful yet competent.
Scores 82 points
I overhear someone reminiscing over their first life-affirming journey to Campbeltown whilst they sit for a caricature. His trip consisted of a cross-country train to Glasgow with a connection up to Oban, a coach to Kennacraig and then a ferry to Campbeltown. This year he flew. He spoke only of the convenience.
Glen Scotia 2010 SMWS 93.115 Seafood Cycles 61.2%
- N: As a waft of roast dinners floats across the room from the Ardshiel Hotel kitchen, we get into another phenolic one with descriptors that talk of sheep’s wool, a lovely farmy start.
- T: A curious farmy peaty oily aromatic curry spice mix.
- F: More hessian than the creamier 93.110, again with a barley sugar finish.
- C: Same score as 93.105 but for different reasons.
Scores 82 points
With bottle in hand, we say our goodbyes and make our way through the pretty backstreets of Campbeltown and onto Glen Scotia. On the way we pop into Cadenhead’s to uncage a 2004 14yo Springbank.
The sun appears almost as brightly for Glen Scotia as it did last year. It would appear that Ibon is on cocktail duties for the day. It seems he can’t make them quick enough. In age order we prepare a 7, 12/13 & 19yo Glen Scotia festival flight.
Glen Scotia 2012/2019 Ob. Festival Edition #4 cask #082 [241 bts] 59.5% WB85
- N,T&F: Tempered floral coppery/metallic roughness – Speyside Distillery vibes. “Hangover material”.
- C: We are talking first-fill bourbon which means it’s clear, direct and uneventful. Develops on creamy vanilla but turning sour with a touch of washing up liquid and a sour thin barley sugar finish.
Scores a solid yet ok 79 points.
Glen Scotia 2005/2018 Ob. Warehouseman’s Edition cask #17/413-9 56.2% WB91
- N: Stewed rhubarb candy and light herbal spearmint chewing gum is all I noted.
- T: Add water, leave it a while and it dissipates into mild barley < sugar water with some fruity quince-like notes.
- F: Tempered rawness becoming rather empty over time.
- C: Not your average dram.
Scores 79 points.
Glen Scotia 1999/2018 19yo Ob. Distillery Edition #6 cask #453 [195 bts] 57.9% WB87.50
- N: Floral Hazelburn vibes.
- T: There’s that particular [sherried] metallic Speyside Distillery note again – fruity, waxy and very coppery.
- F: Medium-short, coppery soapy floral finish.
- C: Far more mature than the previous two, but I still find it raw and nippy with a strange floral character.
Scores 81 points
To the Bangladeshi!