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 Whisky.com with his thoughts about the Glen Scotia on YouYube (Aug 2015):
Bought: Tesco, 29th September 2016
87.5/100 – Whisky Bible 2018
80/100 – Malt Box (video review below)
81.88/100 – Whiskybase (average from 27 member votes)
A new release for 2016 is this no-age statement single malt from Tamnavulin. Certain reports online suggest this is the first release from the distillery for about 20 years but in 2015 I bought a 12-year-old that first appeared in 2005 (according to Whiskybase). But the distillery was mothballed between 1995 and 2007. I suppose it’s possible that the distillery owners released a 12yo in 2005 from whisky distilled in 1993, even if the distillery hadn’t officially been reopened. Apparently in 2000 the staff at nearby Tomintoul spent 6 weeks in Tamnavulin distilling 400,000 litres of spirit just to keep stock ticking over. So ‘mothballed’ certainly doesn’t always mean ‘inactive’.
The official tasting notes for the ‘Double Cask’ are:
Nose: rich, warm aromas of apple, toffee and honey with sweet marzipan and subtle tangy marmalade notes.
Palate: fresh, mellow notes of pear, creamy peaches, pineapple and a hint of Demerara sugar.
Finish: rich, smooth and refreshing. A signature Speyside malt.
Although 81/100 from two votes on Whiskybase may sound good comments on the Malt Maniacs Facebook page have been quite critical. It will be interesting to see where the Double Cask’s score levels out after 20+ ratings.
(Update Oct 2017): Well there’s a surprise. After 27 votes on Whiskybase the average score has moved up to nearly 82/100, which is a very good mark. The Whisky Bible 2018 has arrived and Jim Murray gave the ‘Double Cask’ a fantastic 87.5/100, which classifies the malt as ‘very good to excellent whisky definitely worth buying’.
Scoring 80/100 from Andy of Malt Box is quite a reasonable score. Here is his review on You Tube (November 2016):
Bought: Whisky Exchange, 28th September 2016
81.5/100 – Whiskybase (average from 27 member votes)
My copy of the Whisky Bible 2017 arrived today but no mention of the Macallan 12yo ‘Double Cask’ because it’s too new. Looks like we’ll have to wait another year to find out what Jim Murray thinks of it. But for now the comments online are very favourable. Scoring 81.5/100 on Whiskybase is good and an identical score to the 12yo ‘Fine Oak’ but 3 points less than the 12yo ‘Sherry Oak’.
On the box Macallan have written, “matured exclusively in the perfect balance of sherry seasoned American and European oak casks” and include the tasting notes:
Aroma: Creamy butterscotch with a hint of toffee apple, candied orange, vanilla custard and newly felled oak.
Palate: Delicious honeyed, wood spices and citrus, balanced with raisins and caramel
Finish: Oak lingers, warm, sweet and drying.
‘Time for Whisky’ rate the Macallan 12yo ‘Double Cask’ 91/100 and say “an enjoyable and very sippable dram – one that perfectly fills the gap between the 12yo Sherry and Fine oak bottlings.”
‘Scotch Malt Whisky’ rate it 92/100 and comment, “well balanced deliciously sherried, mature Macallan that still has touches of the Macallan Fine oak but is still sure to put a smile on the faces of the fans of sherried Macallan.”
Here are Scotch Test Dummies with their review of the Macallan 12yo ‘Double Cask’ comparing it against the 12yo ‘Sherry Oak’ (September 2016):