Glen Scotia 40, 1972 (Malts of Scotland)


I’ve had very few Glen Scotias and I’ve certainly not had any as old as this one. I’ve only reviewed two others, 20 year olds both (here and here), which means their ages together add up to this one’s. I have no idea what the word is supposed to be on 1970s Glen Scotia or what Glen Scotia is generally supposed to be like at such an advanced age. If it’s better than the undisclosed Speyside 41 yo I reviewed recently, I’ll be very happy—that was very good, but not, I thought, great.

This was bottled a few years ago by the German bottler, Malts of Scotland in their “Diamonds” line. I’m not sure if that is an alternate name for their “Warehouse Diamonds” line but when the word “diamond” is thrown around you can be sure you’ll pay a lot. However, all I paid for was a 60 ml sample and I didn’t feel the pinch too much. Herewith, my notes.

Glen Scotia 40, 1972 (44.9%; Malts of Scotland “Diamonds”; bourbon hogshead, MoS 13024; from a purchased sample)

Nose: A lovely, unexpectedly fruity nose: figs, marmalade, dried apricots, mixed in with a coppery, metallic note and some leather. Gets more intense with time as the figs get more brandied. Stickier with a few drops of water (ripe plantain)

Palate: Less fruity here but otherwise as advertised by the nose. Copper, camphor and dried flowers (no, I haven’t actually eaten any). The mouthfeel stops just short of being too thin. Picks up steam on the second sip with more of the fruit (like fruit-flavoured tea, which I don’t like by itself). More oaky bite with time but it works really well here. Alas, water washes out the palate a bit, but it’s still quite good, even if the wood is now to the fore.

Finish: Medium. Clove and a bit of oak and more of the tea. With time the fruit and flowers hang out longer. Spicier with water and the finish gets more extended.

Comments: I don’t know what I expected but it wasn’t this. As I said, I don’t know enough about Glen Scotia, and I’ve certainly not had any of this age/period before, so I don’t know if this is representative. I will say that it has enough in common with some Speyside whiskies of similar age from the same era that I suspect these are qualities that are down not to the distillery but to the placing of whisky in relatively inactive bourbon casks for a long period of time. But what do I know? Like the undisclosed Speyside 41 from a week and a half ago, I think this was bottled a few years too late—at 48% or so it would have been dynamite—but I like this one more: it has definitely faded but faded glory is still pretty good.

Rating: 90 points.

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