Icons of Campbeltown is Glen Scotia’s new five-part limited edition annual series. Nicknamed The Mermaid, the distillery’s first release is a 12-year-old single malt finished in Palo Cortado casks for eight months. I can’t be fully certain, but that might be a first for Glen Scotia.
Each of the releases in the Icons of Campbeltown series will be based on carvings into the face of The Campbeltown Cross, which strangely has a Dutch Wikipedia page, but not an English one. One of the carvings is, of course, of a mermaid. There’s some backstory here, but I tend not to recount myths and legends. That’s not really what interests me about the Glen Scotia 12 Years The Mermaid. There are plenty of things that can enhance my tasting experience. Marketing stories usually aren’t it, no matter how rooted in local folklore.
Here’s what Iain McAlister, distillery manager and master distiller, had to say: “Our local community has played a huge role in the survival and re-emergence of whisky-making in Campbeltown, and the market cross remains an important historic symbol of that enduring spirit. We’re all proud to be able to release a series of single malt whiskies that pays homage to those that have supported us on the journey.”
As mentioned, the Glen Scotia 12 Years The Mermaid is presented as a limited edition. But there’s no information on how limited exactly. Not sure how much that matters though, as long as the flavour’s good. Unpeated 12-year-old Glen Scotia with some Palo Cortado influence? That’s all I need to know.
Glen Scotia 12 Years The Mermaid (54.1%, OB, Icons of Campbeltown)
Nose: It’s assuringly Glen Scotia. The Palo Cortado hasn’t taken over. Lingering notes of dried seaweed alongside slivers of citrus peel and Greek yoghurt. There are touches of wet rope, barley husks, porridge and melted butter. A few baked apples and walnuts too. Taste: Somewhat creamy mouthfeel. The Palo Cortado is much more evident now. Plenty of dried fruits, some orange zest and cigar boxes, as well as a sliver of leather and gentle wood spices. Then hints of toasted nuts and Manuka honey. Even some umami. Finish: Medium length. Quite savoury. A pinch of salt. Some fennel. Slightly dry.
Surprising in some ways, because of the differences between the nose and the palate. But it's also undeniably Glen Scotia and unmistakably Palo Cortado. Good stuff!