Though the Glen Scotia Dinner preceded by the Cadenhead’s Club Tasting [WLP] occurs the night before [and the Springbank Society Tasting before that], Glen Scotia Day [now] officially kicks off the Campbeltown Malts Festival. Now a four day affair, when it all started out, I’m told it was just the one day at Springbank.
Quieter than in other years, it’s always a good day out with a bar where you can [pay to] ‘try before you buy’ the distillery’s core range, exclusives, and festival bottlings. There’s local honey too, but more on that later.
The highlight of the day in 2022 is the North Star Spirits stand.
Iain Croucher & co. are here to promote their proposed new distillery in Campbeltown, Dal Riata – further reading: scottishfield.co.uk. They [NNS] are also generously free-pouring from a large selection of malts from their ever-increasing range.
I hear rumblings of an excellent 14yo Inchfad and ask Iain about it. Incredibly, he remembers me from an online zoom tasting a few years back because of my energy – nodding, smiling, engaging etc. It appears the Inchfad may have disappeared so I’m offered a 13yo Croftengea instead.
- C: Vanilla-ey, crisp citrus fruitiness on the nose. Same again on the palate, a sweetish before sour summery yet austere dram.
Scores 85 points
The Inchfad reappears and I get the last of it!
- N: People’s emotional [facial] reactions to this one are priceless and tell a story better than a shopping list ever can. In the absence of photographic evidence, words-wise, this is a funky vinegary pickled [in a good way] styled malt, those pickles moving towards slithers of kippers, and so on and so forth.
- T: All sorts, cows to factories,… the middle section offers a conveyor belt of action.
- F: Long adventurous grimy industrial finish,.. cigarette ash,…
- C: Crazy & fabulous, but it won’t be for everyone. One dram, very occasionally, would be enough.
Scores 88 points
Next up, a youngun’ from sister company South Star Spirits.
Islay 2014/2021 07yo SSS Islay Series #002 for Campbeltown Malts Festival 2022 Port Octave [60 bts] 49.5% WB0
- C: Crisp succinct delicious. Buy!!
While relaxing on the grass bank with a dram, I spot an old friend with a new friend. We reflect on the Canadian situation where there is an additional tax of 150% on the 10-litre [13 bottles] maximum allowance – bottles already paid for! For Canadians purchasing whisky abroad, there’s more to take into account than just the initial rrp. One option is to fly back to Alberta – currently Canada’s lowest tax Provence – and travel the rest by land [depending on where in Canada you are. By contrast, as an English citizen, I simply have to consider whether the 18yo Glen Scotia Festival Bottling at £195 [WB] is too much. In my book, it is, and by some way given the standard 18yo is around £80:
For those who think I over-write [which I definitely do], try this for size:
- C: Vegetal petrol vanilla spice = nice.
Scores 86 points
For those on a budget, there’s a far more affordable and [24000 bottles] available 8yo festival release, which we can try [for £5].
Glen Scotia 2013/2022 08yo Ob. Campbeltown Malts Festival 2022 [24000 bts] 56.5% WB87.32
- N: Providing a fruit & veg stock juiciness with a Weetabix-y base, all the basic elements are respectfully managed. A very neat product overall.
- T: Juicy fruit & veg stock arrival once again, clean overall with just a little GS funk/greasy-waxiness. Oozes more with water.
- F: Carries on through with a juicy [Kilkerran-esque] peatiness.
- C: Competitively priced quality young single malt [around £45 from memory].
Scores 87 [drunk outside] points
There are rather a lot of bees flying around [me] and now I see why. I’m surrounded by bee hives in the form of whisky casks as homes.
Someone, I think Yourk?, passes me this:
[St. George’s] English Whisky Co. 2010 08yo Cadenhead’s Bourbon Hogshead 64.9% [20cl] [WB]87.44
- C: Much like Cadenhead’s [amazing] 5yo Brazilian single malt I experienced the day before [WLP], this one doesn’t fit comfortably into an obvious [Southern] Islay distilleries box either. That could mean this may not be from Islay,… or even Scottish. Easily one of the best English [Whisky Co.] single malts I’ve had.
Scores 87 points
Staying with English whisky, Luke & co. [who I shall spend much of my time with during the week], passes me a yet-to-be-released single malt [prototype?] from Acton, West London.
Bimber Ex-Bourbon  Un-Ob. [tba Batch #04] abv unknown
- C: Daftmill-like in its fruitiness, a very impressive +/-4yo.
[Provisionally] scores +/-85 points
More? There’s always more. Whisky, beer, and friendships.
Off to the Fiddlers Inn we go!! Tomorrow, it’s Springbank!