Glen Scotia Week comes to an end but most of you probably didn’t notice. Monday’s 11 yo and Wednesday’s 12 yo didn’t exactly get a lot of interest: just about 50 views each so far this week. I doubt today’s 17 yo will attract a lot more attention. Some of this is doubtless down to the fact that my own whisky readership has likely declined in the last couple of years even as my food readership has grown. However, a lot of it is probably down to the low to non-existent profile of Glen Scotia. They’ve never been a distillery with a high profile and the owners’ attempts to raise that profile over the last decade via various ill-conceived branding makeovers has doubtless not helped. It’s also the case that they continue to make a relatively old-school, austere type of whisky that doesn’t perhaps have a natural home in the contemporary whisky geek market which remains focused on whiskies that are either heavily sherried, heavily peated or both. Well, I can’t say I’ve found very many of the not-very many Glen Scotias I’ve had to be very exciting but outside of the official releases I’ve found them all to be interesting departures from the mainstream of Scottish single malt whisky. It would be good, I think, if more whisky geeks expanded their tasting portfolios, so to speak.
Glen Scotia 17, 2002 (55.9%; SMWS 93.140; second-fill barrel; from a bottle split)
Nose: Less austere than the 11 and 12 yo at first with less of the machine shop and instead some smoked fish; not much lemon here either. As it sits though both the lemon and oilier notes show up (more on peppery olive oil than engine grease though) along with carbon paper; and it gets sweeter as well. With more time and air the smoked fish turns into first sweet pipe tobacco and then bacon. With a few drops of water the mineral notes are back on top at first and there’s an earthy bottom note. As it sits it gets quite fruity with peach and apricot; the pipe tobacco comes back stronger too.
Palate: Much more austere here with a mix of mineral oil and lemon. Nice texture and a good drinking strength. Sweeter on the second sip with more graphite and hints of sweet tobacco. The bacon never quite shows up here—let’s see if water brings it out. No, but it brings out the sweeter fruit that showed up on the nose and the sweet pipe tobacco runs through it here as well. The lemon gets stronger as it sits and some wet stones show up as well along with cream.
Finish: Long. The tobacco has been lit and extinguished leaving only some char behind. A bit of pepper emerges as well as it fades. More lemon and some cream here too with water.
Comments: Well, I liked this one the most of the three. Very much in line with the others on the whole but with more fruit and better depth of flavours. The nose was my favourite part, especially with water. Is it time for Glen Scotia to emerge from Springbank’s shadow?
Rating: 88 points.