Ah, Glen Scotia: forever labouring in the shadow of Springbank in Campbeltown. I’d love to say that I’ve always been a champion of this underdog but, as I always note when posting a review of a Glen Scotia, I’ve had very little Glen Scotia in my time. When I first started drinking single malt whisky there wasn’t a whole lot of it around and nothing I read led me to want to seek it out. Since then I’ve had a couple of older Glen Scotias that I really liked (two 20 yo releases from Archives and Wilson & Morgan and one 40 yo from Malts of Scotland) and two younger ones that I did not care for very much (one indie released in the mid-2000s and one more recent official release, the Double Cask). The official line has been revamped a couple of times in recent years and there are now at least a couple of teenaged releases out there along with the NAS Double Cask. This 12 yo dates from the early-mid 2000s, I think, before their bizarre disco cow bottle design. I *think* I might also have a sample of the older 14 yo knocking about somewhere (unless in my addled state I am confusing it with a sample of Scapa—another distillery labouring in the shadow of a more famous neighbour). Let’s see if this one leads me to want to track it down.
Glen Scotia 12 (40%; from a sample from a friend)
Nose: Mild peat, some malt and a bit of a cereal note. A little dirtier on the second sniff and more smoke (smouldering leaves). That dirty note fluctuates between leafy and plasticky. The cereal expands with time. Water pushes the smoke and the dirty notes back and emphasizes the cereal; the sweeter notes from the palate peep out too now.
Palate: Leads with the smoke with some sweeter notes underneath. Very nice texture despite the low strength. The smoke gets more leafy with every sip and then a bit inky (though not medicinal). Okay, let’s see what water does. More acrid than smoky with water but the fruit expands as well (lime peel).
Finish: Medium-long. The smoke hangs out for a good while with the sweeter notes coming through as well. Peppery bitterness at the very end. As on the palate with water.
Comments: Well, this was a surprise. I’m kicking 12-15 years ago me for not drinking more of this or ever buying a bottle. It’s nothing very complex but for the price it went for then it would have been a very good change-up smoky whisky. And with a few more ticks of abv it could have been very good indeed. Are the new age-stated incarnations as good/better? Must try to find out. And I should also see if I do indeed still have a sample of the old 14 yo kicking around.
Rating: 84 points.
Thanks to Florin for the sample!