Campbeltown, a tiny region on Scotland’s west coast, was once a hotbed of whiskymaking, but today there are just three companies with active stills. Springbank is by far the best known. Glengyle/Kilkerran is largely unheard of in the U.S. The third is Glen Scotia, which was built in 1832 but has changed hands and gone through so many owners that few have kept count. The current owner is Loch Lomond, which produces whisky under its own name as well.
Glen Scotia is a single malt, and among its small handful of whiskies is this, Glen Scotia Double Cask, which is a non-age statement single malt whisky that is finished in first-fill bourbon casks followed by time in Pedro Ximenez sherry casks.
In the glass, Glen Scotia Double Cask is immediately redolent of the Pedro Ximenez casking, offering aromas of coffee, Madeira wine, dried fruits, and roasted nuts. The palate is more well-rounded, with caramel and vanilla sweetness quickly leading to a heavy baking spice character, particularly focused on cloves and cardamom. There are some simple granary notes here, indicative of youth, but they’re well masked behind all the spice, wine, nuts, and fruit. Those winey notes find a reprise on the finish, where they are showcased well along with a bit of salt spray and overtones of spiced nuts.
While not a particularly dark in color, the whisky packs in tons of sherry flavor atop more traditional barley base. It really grows on you over time, particularly after it gets some air in it to mellow things out. I love Springbank as much as anyone, but it’s nice to have more of a presence from this unique region, and Glen Scotia Double Cask is a welcome addition to the U.S. market.