Glen Scotia, 19yo 1991 Scott’s Selection
(Distilled 1991, bottled 2010, 58.7%)
I have a soft spot for Glen Scotia – the plucky underdogs of Campbeltown that they are. And when it comes to indie bottlings you never quite know what you’re going to get. We’re a long way from safe middle-of-the-road malts here, and if anything Glen Scotia can occasionally be a bit too characterful and wild. (Here’s a mini-review of a particularly bonkers one from a while ago). That uncertainty is compounded in this case by the bottler – Scott’s, of whom I know nothing – providing the consumer with hardly any information. There’s a lot of text on the bottle, yes, but it’s either meaningless (and slightly misleading, actually) marketing bumf or entirely pointless. “Matured in oakwood casks”? Thanks for that chaps.
Nose: So, as I say, there’s no info given on the label – but this is a particular kind of funky sherry cask. Really savoury, with beef jerky, dried mushrooms, tamarind and balsamic vinegar. HP Sauce, really. There’s really quite a lot of mint / menthol too, with some aniseed in the background. Behind all that there’s a really nice fruity note holding it together – banana and strawberry jam.
Taste: Big, rounded, liquoricey. Pipe tobacco, nuts and Pontefract cake. The mint and savoury vinegar notes from the nose are still there, balanced by sweetness, and with some orangey coriander seed. Prune juice, with blackcurrant cordial and pickled blackberries (if there even is such a thing). A dash of Vimto, even! Manchester representing.
Finish: Dark chocolates with cherry and strawberry centres. Raw brown sugar, rum’n’raisin, a bit of lapsang souchong. Pleasantly dry and very long.
There’s lots of big, rich, savoury stuff going on here, but it’s balanced beautifully with some fruity acidity and bright menthol. It’s also a whisky that develops and opens up in the glass wonderfully – and one that has only improved as the bottle has gone down. Glen Scotia: never dull.