Campbeltown was one of the epicentres of Scotch whisky during the Victorian age (and in my mind it still is), so Glen Scotia decided to name one of their core range offerings after that particular time period. The Glen Scotia Victoriana has been the high strength choice in the distillery’s core range since it was first introduced in 2015. Initially it was bottled at 51.5%, but a few years ago it was replaced by a Cask Strength version.
The Glen Scotia Victoriana (or the new Cask Strength version at least) is a vatting of first and second-fill bourbon casks. It is finished in 30% Pedro Ximenez sherry butts and 70% heavily charred American oak for 12 months. After that the whisky is married for a final six months. So there’s a bit of work involved in this one.
Glen Scotia Victoriana (51.5%, OB, 2018)
Nose: Hints of rye bread, burnt caramel, soy sauce, dark spices and berries, with just a touch of wet cloth. Finally a whiff of Greek yoghurt and apples.
Taste: Spicy. Very spicy actually. Mostly ginger and black pepper, with a subtle note of nutmeg. Soft charred oak. It has some sweet, syrupy, red fruity elements to provide some balance. Also, orange liqueur.
Finish: Caramel and leather. Short to medium.
Glen Scotia Victoriana Cask Strength (54.2%, OB, 2018)
Nose: Rather fruity, some orchard fruits and hints of tinned pineapple, and slightly floral. It has a nice oiliness to it, as well as a touch of melted butter and fudge. Certainly fresher and more vibrant, with just a whiff of furniture polish.
Taste: Slightly darker than expected. Certainly much more spicier than the nose suggests and more in line with its predecessor, albeit it slightly more funky. Charred oak and properly oily stuff as well. A soft saline quality with just a hint of vegetal peat.
Finish: Soft spices, a tinge of caramel and oak. Much longer.
Either version is quality stuff for a decent price, bottled at an impactful strength. The finish is surprisingly short, which is why I didn’t rate it higher. While both are clearly very much about heavy oak maturation, I think they are done very well. The newer version has a longer, tastier finish, just edging out its predecessor.
Interested in more Glen Scotia content? Check out this blog in a few days, as I’ll be reviewing Glen Scotia’s Dunnage Tasting Set.