Glen Scotia Dunnage Tasting Set (2020)
The Campbeltown Malts Festival was cancelled this year for very obvious reasons. To make up for that, Glen Scotia released a Dunnage Tasting Set. Included are four cask samples and the core range Glen Scotia Victoriana Cask Strength (which I reviewed separately here).
Getting your hands on cask samples is rare, and often the only chance to taste something like this is by visiting an actual distillery. And even then most distilleries don’t let you consume any whisky straight from the cask. So Glen Scotia’s Dunnage Tasting Set is rather exciting indeed.
The cask samples matured or are finished in a range of cask types. Some are unpeated, while others are medium to heavily peated, showing off the Glen Scotia spirit in all its facets. You also get a link and password in order to watch a video with master distiller Ian McAlister taking you through all five whiskies included. Read along for an impression of what to expect flavour wise.
Glen Scotia 2005 (59.9%, first-fill Bourbon, C#810)
Nose: Touches of burlap and salted butter, but there’s a nice fruitiness hiding in the background. Subtle notes of melon, nectarine and pear skin. Some barley husks, as well a touch of raw, old wood. Highly attractive.
Taste: Quite sweet with ripe banana, caramel and flower honey, but also a touch of bitter lemon peel. Plenty of oak spices too, like black pepper and cloves. Very oily stuff as well, and a subtle salinity.
Finish: A soft, lingering bitterness. Ending on fruitier notes.
Glen Scotia 2002 (48.7%, refill Sherry butt, C#486)
Nose: Certainly not a dry sherry bomb, of which there are way too many out there. This is clearly full maturation in a refill cask. It’s nutty but has plenty of fruity notes as well, like redcurrants, strawberries and cherry syrup. Touches of milk chocolate as well. Soft notes of damp oak and tobacco too.
Taste: Soft oak spices go hand in hand with light touches of dried red fruit and a whiff of dark chocolate, as well as some touches of menthol. Really good without being extremely complex. Add water and it goes into cough syrup territory.
Finish: More of the above. Long.
Glen Scotia 2009 (57.2%, Bordeaux cask finish, C#2/359)
Nose: Medium peated at around 20 PPM, this started in a first-fill bourbon cask. It was finished for about a year in a red wine cask. Incredibly oily with only a really soft peatiness and a whiff of oak tannins, without them ever becoming bothersome. Overall rather sweet and candy-esque at times. Cherry candy canes, marshmallows.
Taste: Wow, much more peaty than the nose suggests, this actually works really well with the stickiness of the wine. A soft note of struck matches, but also sweet. Some orange marmalade, and the candy makes an encore. Better than expected and much more balanced than most wine finished whiskies.
Finish: More of the above. Pretty long indeed.
Glen Scotia 2005 (57.8%, Tawny Port finish, C#6/413)
Nose: Heavily peated at about 30 PPM, this started in a re-charred American oak hogshead. It was finished for about two years in a port cask. Great smokiness. Rather vegetal and reminiscent of a bonfire. Pretty meaty at times, with a touch of smoked bacon, but also a fair amount of dried red fruit.
Taste: Indeed, this is easily the peatiest one and should appeal to any peathead with a sweet tooth. Very sticky again, much like the Bordeaux-finished Glen Scotia. Although it also is rather dry and somewhat salty, there’s plenty of dried fruits (raisins) and some faint notes of rubber. Very oily and somewhat reminiscent of this Benromach, although not as intense.
Finish: Lingering peat, a touch of struck matches and soft fruits. Long.
Such a cliche for the sherry matured whisky to rate highest. I hate cliches. But then again, that’s just how it is. This Dunnage Tasting Set includes some very good whiskies that show how versatile Glen Scotia’s spirit is.
The Dunnage Tasting Set was kindly shared with me by Dutch importer De Monnik Dranken, and is for sale in the Netherlands as well as other retailers in Europe.
Thijs is a spirits writer and accredited liquorist from The Netherlands. He runs the blog Words of Whisky and contributes to a number of Dutch and international publications.