Category Archives: Glen Scotia

Glen Scotia ‘Double Cask’

Bought: Auriol Wines, 1st September 2017

85.5/100 – Whisky Bible 2017
82.6/100 – Whiskybase (average from 125 member votes)
4.5/5 – Master of Malt (average from 20 reviews)

When I think of ‘Glen Scotia’ I remember the dumpy green bottles of 8-year-old from the 1970s, or the colour-coated bottles when I started collecting whisky in 2013. I quite liked the look of the black 12yo, green 15yo, blue 18yo and burgundy 21yo but the poor ratings stopped me for buying any of them. The general consensus seemed to be that Glen Scotia had made a flavour and marketing boo-boo.

You wouldn’t think that NAS (non-age statement) would be the best direction for the Campbeltown distillery to go but that’s what happened with the arrival of the ‘Double Cask’ in 2015. It was a bit of a gamble but it seems to have paid off. Scoring 85.5/100 in Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible classifies this dram as ‘very good to excellent whisky, definitely worth buying’. He summarises with “soft and easy drinking with an excellent early delivery spike of intensity. But a dull middle and finish. And dull has never been a word I have associated with this distillery. Ever.”

Scoring 82.6/100 on Whiskybase is a very good score with comments of “whoever likes the modern “designed” whisky style will probably enjoy this dram”, “nice daily dram, but not overly spectacular”, “a good whisky if a little vague” and “very fine Glen Scotia for around 40 EUR. Surprisingly good and affordable.”

From my own tasting of the Glen Scotia ‘Double Cask’ I can honestly say I like it. It’s certainly subtle but you wouldn’t expect anything else for the price. I enjoyed the “excellent early delivery” Jim Murray mentioned but then I got hit by that unique Campbeltown flavour on the palate. It’s not as intense as the Springbank 10yo but it’s there and very enjoyable. If I drank Campbeltown whisky regularly it wouldn’t seem that special but, as an occasional dram from a distinct Scottish region, the Glen Scotia is delightful.

Tasting notes from Master of Malt:

Nose: Vibrant fruit emerges first (peach flesh and green apple peels), followed by chewy vanilla fudge, a hint of salinity, then an array of oak-y spices including some char.
Palate: Opens with more fudge with a little dusting of powdered sugar. Powerful, oily and a touch herbaceous with some German brandy character.
Finish: Sherried notes come through more on the finish.

Here’s Horst Luening of with his thoughts about the Glen Scotia on YouYube (Aug 2015):

Glen Scotia 12-year-old

Bought – Lincoln Whisky Shop, 4th March 2014

81/100 – Whisky Bible 2009
79/100 – Malt Maniacs (average from 1 reviewer)

In the Whisky Bible 2014 there’s a new version of this “aged 12 years” Glen Scotia. I had to go back to my 2009 bible to find the rating and the story. Although 81/100 is a reasonable mark, Jim Murray says it’s “murder by Caramel”. But without the addition of caramel, Jim would have scored it in the high 80s. Apparently there’s something about it that is very appealing but being slightly ruined by the caramel.

In the 2014 bible, the new version of this 12yo gets 89/100, has no added caramel, is unchill-filtered and has risen to a pleasant 46%. You have to wonder if Glen Scotia distillery listened to Jim’s review in 2009 and made appropriate changes. I’m tempted to track down the new version and save this miniature for a taste comparison.

Glen Scotia 12yo 5cl

Glen Scotia Pure Malt (1980s)

Bought – Online Whisky Auction, 22nd December 2013

81/100 – Malt Maniacs (from 1 review)

I’ve been thinking that my collection is complete and I own a single malt from every active Scottish distillery but this Glen Scotia could be a fly in the ointment. Until recently I believed if anything was called ‘pure malt’ it was one of the old ways of describing a blend. I then kept stumbling across vintage bottles of Glen Scotia from the 1980s in auctions and certain online shops where ‘pure malt’ was being labelled as ‘single malt’. I then read on Malt Madness that both blends and single malts are effectively ‘pure malt’. CONFUSED!

I’ve attempted to find out if Glen Scotia were issuing a blend around the 1980s and, if so, what they called it but I’ve drawn a blank. I’ve had to take a guess with the rating from Malt Maniacs because my bottle looks like the 8yo from the 1980s but it’s missing the 8yo label. I may have to bite the bullet and buy another example of Glen Scotia where it clearly states “single malt” on it.

Glen Scotia Pure Malt 5cl