Will Glen Scotia ever escape the Springbank shaped shadow looming over Campbeltown? The most cult-ish of all Scottish whisky distilleries has a firm grip on Campbeltown. For me (as well as for most whisky enthusiasts) the distillery is synonymous with the town, followed closely by Kilkerran simply because it is part of the Springbank family. While capable of producing excellent whisky, Glen Scotia will probably always be in third place. It’s a tough spot to be in, because every good whisky they release will automatically be compared to whatever Springbank is doing. And it is difficult to beat Springbank. Even their average whiskies are still really good.
But Glen Scotia also profits from their close neighbours. It’s largely thanks to Springbank that single malt from Campbeltown currently has such an iconic reputation. Glen Scotia used to mostly operate in the background. Before the Loch Lomond Group took over, the distillery barely had a single malt presence to speak of. Now they regularly release new limited editions or single casks—and people take notice, thanks in part because of their association with Campbeltown. While I wouldn’t soon place them ahead of Springbank, Glen Scotia certainly has climbed the ladder of Scottish distilleries.
The entry-level malt is always a great benchmark for a distillery. Some of the greats are Benromach 10, Springbank 10 or Talisker 10 (and there are many more). Glen Scotia has the Double Cask. Finished in Pedro Ximénez sherry casks for up to twelve months, it doesn’t quit reach the same heights as some of the aforementioned single malts. But it is a proper whisky in its own right.
Glen Scotia Double Cask (46%, OB, 2020)
Nose: Rum raisins, followed by powdered sugar, lots of butterscotch and some strawberries. There’s some light notes of lemon peel in the background. Taste: Charred oak and white pepper with a sliver of wood smoke, but also sweet notes of caramel, vanilla sugar and Scottish tablet. There’s some of that trademark Glen Scotia oiliness and diesel notes. Finish: More of the same. Lingering for a fair amount of time.
While the Glen Scotia Double Cask very much relies on the wood to supply much of the flavour (maybe a little too much), it is a recognisable Glen Scotia nonetheless. Enjoyable and likeable, especially at this friendly entry-level price.
By the way, did you know this makes for a pretty good Whisky Sour? The sweetness and spiciness of the Glen Scotia Double Cask interacts wonderfully with the tart lemon juice.