Glen Scotia 6yo 1999/2006 (52.7%, The Whisky Fair, Heavily Peated, Bourbon Barrels #541 & #542, 464 bottles)

How ’bout another Glen Scotia then. One in its youth. This heavily peated Glen Scotia has a mere 6 years under its belt. Yes you read it right, a heavily peated Glen Scotia, move over Longrow? This is a Glen Scotia that was bottled for the 2006 Whisky Fair in Limburg, Germany. Most definitely a festival you shouldn’t miss. I like the label of this Whisky Fair bottling, since it looks similar to other Glen Scotia’s from that time. Lets have some peat then…

Glen Scotia 6yo 1999/2006 (52.7%, The Whisky Fair, Heavily Peated, Bourbon Barrels #541 & #542, 464 bottles)Color: White wine.

Nose: Soft elegant peat alright, but also very grassy. Lots of grass, dry grass, and hay. A confectionary sweetness, like warm icing sugar, but mixed with a little milk chocolate and the grass, peat and sweet ashes. Cocos macaroon with more than a hint of almond. This is already wonderful smelling after the mere 6 years in cask. Although this is from Bourbon barrels, I do encounter some sulfury compounds. Still grassy and some typical vanilla, with lemon freshness. Typical for Bourbon Barrels. Barrels are 20% smaller than (remade) hogsheads, so in theory the spirit ages more quickly, but not twice as quick, since nobody wold argue with you if you claimed this to be 12yo. Quite some active barrels. Nice.

Taste: Sweet barley, yup sweet barley. Diluted lemon curd. Altogether quite lemony. Where the nose was quite complex and didn’t show its age, the taste is much simpler and seems young, but not alcoholic. A sweet and creamy rounded off taste. Some prickly peat but not a lot. I wouldn’t call this heavily peated, at least it doesn’t seem heavily peated. Sweet barley and sweet yellow fruits, but none in particular. I guess dried apricots are the closest. Sweet Earl Grey tea with a hint of honey and a lot of lime. Medium to short finish and the same goes for the aftertaste. Which is about young soft peat added to warm diluted lemon curd.

Even though this tastes quite nice, I’m a bit disappointed that the taste didn’t live up to the promise of the nose. I was quite surprised at first in what the nose achieved in 6 years. Still an experience and a nice surprise. I wonder how this would have turned out with some more age to it.

Points: 84

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Glen Scotia 14yo 1991/2006 (61.6%, Adelphi, Refill Hogshead #1071, 258 bottles)

After two more Wheated Bourbon’s it’s only a short hop across the pond to land in the west of Scotland. Campbeltown to be precise. Today we’ll spend some time with a Whisky from the “other” distillery from Campbeltown Glen Scotia. Well. it used to be the “other one”, But today Springbank isn’t just Springbank anymore, with their Glengyle distillery producing the excellent Kilkerran. Here we have an almost 15 year Single Malt Whisky that managed to stay at 61.6% ABV, quite a feat. Let’s see where this will take us…

Glen Scotia 14yo 1991/2006 (61.6%, Adelphi, Refill Hogshead #1071, 258 bottles)Color: Very light gold.

Nose: Spicy, smoky, grassy and extremely fruity. Warm in its appearance, maybe because of the cookie dough? Lots of barley and a hint of rubber. Not your ordinary Bourbon matured Whisky. Very nutty and waxy, but again a kind of industrial waxy rubber. Rubber bands mixed with gravy. Next is a lemony fresh fruitiness wich in turn mixes with the smell of a freshly printed newspaper, warmed up a bit on the radiator. Hints of warm water you used to cook mussels in. Dis I say this was a bit unusual? I did? All right. Salty and sweet barley I imagine with a snuff of white pepper, ashes, and smoke. Warm custard, but very restrained. Quite complex and special.

Taste: Lemony paper. Warm Chivas Lemon Curd. Lots of sweet barley and here too a whiff of rubber passes by. Band aid I would say. The taste is definitely less unique that the nose was, but still not your usual suspect from a Bourbon Hoggie. Hints of nuts and lemon, and a little bit of cookie dough. Hints of rettich and a tiny, tiny amount of woody bitterness in the aftertaste.

An excellent nose you almost never come across. It’s easily understood, why this Glen Scotia got selected by Adelphi. Especially the nose is quite complex. Balanced stuff, the nose matches the taste. They belong together although the nose was more complex. Not everything from the nose was to be found in the taste. The beauty lies in the detail with this one. And I’ve said this before, give this time to breathe.

Points: 86

Glen Scotia 18yo 1992/2010 (52.6%, Kintra, Sherry Hogshead #141, 62 bottles)

These days some people pick their Whiskies by the color and, this one has color abundant. A nice dark Sherried Campbeltown Malt. Some Sherried Malts work wonders and some are too heavy. Judging by the color, you never know what you’re  gonna get. I almost sound like Forrest Gump here don’t I. Glen Scotia is hardly a working distillery and it hardly is a popular distillery. Well, what kind of Whisky is this then, was it a gamble picking this up, and is it worth the money? Let’s see…

Glen Scotia 18yo 1992/2010 (52.6%, Kintra, Sherry Hogshead #141, 62 bottles)Color: Copper gold

Nose: Smoky sherry with a nice touch of oak. Red fruits in alcohol. Nice cask toast (uniquely acidic) and also slightly tarry. Sweet. The red fruits make way for deeper black fruits. Excellent development! The combination of these three and the fashion they fit together does remind me a bit of Demerara rums, although without the sweetness. The way the burnt, woody and toasty parts of the nose fit together is excellent. All this from a Sherry Hogshead with Glen Scotia in it. Great. Who would have thought. With some air, also some powdery and floral notes pop up, with tiny hints of lavender soap.

Taste: Sweet and creamy, but (luckily) again helped by the character building qualities of the toasted wood of the Sherry cask and the right kind of Sherry that was in it. Mocha, milk chocolate and Demerara Sugar (on the lips). Not weak and also not cloying or heavy. Great balance and very, very tasty. The acidity from the nose, the wood and the burnt sugar stay on to form the finish. The finish is a wee bit to dry (wood and paper) and could have benefitted from a little bit of honey and slightly better balance. Still, that’s me nit-picking, this is excellent stuff.

A stunning pick by Erik Molenaar. He only bottled 62 bottles of this so I’m wondering where the rest of the cask has gone. Could he only get 62 bottles, was the rest of the cask already sold? Who knows. Just like his other 19yo Glen Scotia, this is an excellent Whisky and if anywhere encountered, don’t hesitate to pick one or both up.

Points: 88

Glen Scotia 17yo 1977/1994 (57.5%, Cadenhead)

I completely forgot about this one, otherwise I would have reviewed it sooner. This one was sitting comfortably in the back of my lectern and was overlooked for some time. Not the first time though, a Glen Scotia graces these pages with its presence and certainly not the first time a Cadenheads bottling with the green glass and the small label does. Previously I tried a much newer Mo Òr bottling distilled in 1994, so maybe a chance to see how Glen Scotia fared through its difficult history…

Color: (Dull) gold.

Nose: Spicy, nutty and clean. Quite sharp. Slightest hint of cat urine. Powdery and pretty bold altogether. Soft wood with a small hint of toasted wood. This is probably from a Bourbon Cask (Barrel or Hogshead). Actually it’s very clean and youthful, and it picked up quite some color along the way. It’s maybe half-creamy and has some hints of oranges, candied oranges that is. Later on some notes of cardboard and a yeasty cold room. Full bodied typical high strength Cadenheads bottling.

Taste: Wow, nice! Quite an attack from the alcohol. Very full-bodied with initial notes of wood and fern. Coffee, nuts and a slight woody bitterness. Again a typical clean Cadenheads Bourbon Cask bottling. Long spicy finish with black tea and almonds.

For me, and I’ve said it already. A typical Cadenheads bottling. Cadenheads in more recent times, seem to bottle a lot of ex-Bourbon Casks in their teens, and although there are obviously some differences, there are some similarities as well. High strength and clean. Great stuff for me, because I like cask strength, but it would have been nice to see these type of Whisky age a little longer, and with that, see the ABV drop a little. This certainly had a lot of potential, and would have been great in its (late) twenties and around 50 to 52% ABV.

Points: 86

Glen Scotia 18yo 1992/2010 (46%, Mo Òr, First Fill Sherry Butt #6, 1076 bottles, 500 ml)

Next up Glen Scotia, also a first on these pages. Glen Scotia hails from Campbeltown, once a big place for whisky with regional status (again). Try to imagine a place that has almost 30 distilleries working at one time in the 19th Century. Not so long ago this Glen Scotia was the ‘other one’ from Campbeltown after the well-known Springbank. Today Springbank makes also Longrow and Hazelburn. And from the same owners the recent ‘addition’ that is Glengyle Distillery (Kilkerran). Let’s say that Glen Scotia is the only Campbeltown distillery not owned by the people of Springbank. Owner today is Loch Lomond Distillery Co. and the place is fairly run down. When the distillery was mothballed in 1994, the staff of Springbank restarted intermittent production in 1999, not to lose the regional status of Campbeltown. A status lost eventually, but eventually reinstated.

The distillery was founded in 1832 by the Galbraith family. For one reason or another the label on the bottles state 1835. Lots of changes of ownership during the years and even some closures in 1928 and 1984. Since 2000 Loch Lomond has taken over Glen Scotia and runs the distillery with its own staff.

Color: Copper Gold.

Nose: Very musty and dirty. Fruity as in fresh sweet apples mixed with apple compote. A very nice hint of smoke and coal that reminds me of an old steam locomotive. It actually smells like something from the industrial revolution. Old Skool? Lets move on. Mint and still a lot of apple. Lit matchstick. Nice balance and easy. Not very complex. Underneath it all, a sort of sweet wood smell, very laid back.

Taste: Wood and toffee. Caramels and quite a bit of ash and toasted cask. A nice bite and definitely a firm body. Sulphury (of the egg kind) and quite some oaky and milky sourness. Actually I get some more egg notes, especially boiled egg (the white part). Closing in on the finish, it dries out a bit, and is not as big as expected. Here the wood plays a much greater role, than on the nose. Not as balanced as the nose.

Usually you’d expect more color after 18 years in a First Fill Sherry Butt, so this must be a Fino (again) and it kinda goes into that direction.

I was asked to keep an eye out for sulphur in this one. It’s there slightly on the nose (as a burning match). But it is more pronounced on the palate (the bite here comes not only from the wood, but also from the sulphur. Usually there is some sulphur in Sherried Glen Scotia’s. Lots of it in a 1991 Cadenheads offering if I remember correctly. It’s there on the palate and even more so in the finish (late). Is it ruining the balance or the palate? Does it disturb me? No, it’s some kind of good sulphur. it’s somewhat hidden. It’s there but not in the usual obvious way. That happens sometime, that’s why I called it good sulphur. Still, overall there isn’t a lot of sulphur in this one, so don’t worry. And hey, sulphur is good for the skin!

Points: 84