Yes, this is Campbeltown week. On Monday I reviewed a Kilkerran released in 2009; today I have a Glen Scotia released a decade later. What is time to me? A toy! A nothing! I move through it like a wayward god! Kneel before me!
Er, where was I? I’ve had a pretty good run with Glen Scotias bottled by the Scotch Malt Whisky Society in the last year and change. All have been from bourbon casks—and all have been releases in the vicinity of this one (93.138). Some have been truly excellent; none have come close to being bad. These have included, most recently, an 8 yo (93.145) that I clocked at 89 points and a 17 yo (93.140) that I thought was good for 88. And before that was a 12 yo (93.135) that I gave 87 points. That’s a pretty good spread across the sub-20 yo age spectrum. So I am confident that this one will anchor the middle of the week well. Let’s see if that proves to be the case.
Glen Scotia 11, 2008 (54.9%; SMWS 93.138; first-fill bourbon barrel; from a bottle split)
Nose: Sweet notes off the top of perfumed oak, very close to rose wood, with some aniseed present as well. On the second sniff the sweetness incorporates raspberries and maraschino cherries; some cream in there too. As it sits salt begins to emerge even as the sweetness turns more candied. Water brings out some richer fruit (orange, a hint of apricot) and pushes the candied sweetness back a bit; the rose wood turns to polished cedar. More water and now there’s some citronella
Palate: Comes in as predicted by the nose and it’s not really to my taste here: sweetish oak, talcum powder and not much else. Not too much alcohol bite at full strength and a decent texture. No positive change with time, I’m afraid. If anything the oak gets more astringent with a chemical edge to the sweetness. Let’s see if water rescues it at all. Well, it pushes the oak and the talcum powder back a bit but nothing new emerges here. Okay, let’s add another big squirt of water. The oak and talcum powder finally
Finish: Medium-long. The oak gets spicier as it goes but the talcum powder is still here. Much better here with water at first but then that talcum powder comes back.
Comments: Well, this brings my very positive run with SMWS Glen Scotias to an end. I’d put the blame on it being a first-fill barrel but so was the 93.135 and I liked that a lot more. Just the vagaries of barrel selection, I guess. At any rate there’s none of the soot and brighter citrus I got from that one. The nose had its pleasures but I really did not care for the palate and finish neat. A few drops of water improved things a bit but it took a fair bit more to finally get the oak under control. If you have a full bottle—which I am glad I do not—I would advise adding a fair bit of water early on.
Rating: 80 points. (Pulled up with water.)