Scottish Drive-by 2021, Part 6/6: Swaggers in Campbeltown

Following on from Part 5,…. I’m in Campbeltown for only the third time. This time, however, there’s no whisky festival on and the mood is rather different. Where are the familiar faces, the jubilant Vikings, and the heatwave I always order?

Instead, mostly everything – whisky-wise – is closed aside from the pubs and a few drunk locals wandering around looking for a fight, or a shoulder to cry on, really! I get the crier. On the upside, the Sussex Whisky Appreciation Group are in town!

After discovering both Springbank and Glen Scotia’s distillery & shops closed [snore snore snore],…

,…. we head out to Machrihanish beach. Sir Swag produces three Glencairn’s all containing his latest Cadenhead’s shop purchase – at least something whisky-related was open! This pre-review has already been superseded by a full bottle review [WLP90], such was the popularity of the stuff. Hey ho, these were my first impressions for what they are worth:


Strathclyde 1989/2021 32yo Cadenhead’s Sherry Cask  [324 bts] 54.5% WB86[1]

  • N: Clean but not clinical, we’ve sherry-rich grain that we are all immediately very impressed by.
  • T: Vanilla in a good way [for once],… nutty to sour vanilla cream and golden syrup.
  • F: Simply, very tasty grain with a narrow yet well-executed sweet=sour bandwidth.
  • C: A perfect malt for beginners, as I soon find out [read on]. A great example of what grain can be/do.

[Provisionally scores well in excess of 87 points]


Back in Campbeltown, I get to meet up with the rest of the Swaggers at The Feathers. Whilst they tuck into the beer, I stick with the malt. Glengoyne 10yo seems a solid choice given the selection.


Glengoyne 10yo [+/-2021] Ob. 40% WB80.14[337] WLP84

  • N&T: Light/easy/hands-off vibes. Pleasant, for sure.
  • F: Dusty honeyed finish.
  • C: Last time I reviewed this, the average Whiskybase score was 80.14 from 205 votes. 132 votes later, the average score remains exactly the same [at time of writing]. That’s some indication of reliability/consistency. A dependable malt.

Scores 83 points


Now at the Ardsheil Hotel, I’m bamboozled by the extensive whisky menu. I begin with:

Tomintoul-Glenlivet 1985/2012 26yo Cadenhead Chairman’s Stock [210 bts] 55.60% WB86.74[21]

  • N: Typical Tomintoul. Is Tomintoul anything other than typical Tomintoul, and is that a bad thing? Descriptors talk of fruit bread~sourdough, soft leathery,… stuff.
  • T: Pretty ‘classic’ refill Tomintoul, one that retains its freshness alongside that well-matured malty fustiness.
  • F: Fluffy sweet-sour melon finish with a relaxed length.
  • C: Not sure I’d have appreciated this subtle single malt as much in the early stages of my whisky journey.

Scores 88 points


Not wanting to take any chances, I opt for a safe bet.

Deanston 18yo [+/-2021] Ob. 46.3% WB85.24[409] ralfy90 WLP186 WLP287

  • N: Contemporary style, the best bits of,…
  • T: Same again. Beautifully crafted single malt whisky.
  • F: Oak sherry bourbon spirit,…. all blending so well.
  • C: A solid all round go-to.

Scores 87 points


It’s been fun [and brief] but I really must head home. I’m up very early the next morning for the long journey back to Brighton. I’m sad to miss Lindores Abbey and all that lay on the way there, but there will be other, more fitting opportunities. There’s just time to pop in on an old friend en route who finally got together with her ‘the one’. He cooks a divine Chinese meal which we follow with these three [full bottle reports to follow]:


By the morning, the Strathclyde is less than half full. I’ve found THE beginner’s whisky, one where the high abv seems no barrier whatsoever.

Until next year, Scotland!





Campbeltown harbour 2018

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