Although overshadowed among Campbeltown whiskies by the more widely known Springbank distillery, Glen Scotia has been drawing greater attention in recent years with a solid line of distinctive whiskies. Their core lineup includes the Double Cask, a 15 year old, 18 year old, 25 year old, and the NAS Victoriana. The Glen Scotia Victoriana is distinctive in the portfolio for the finishing it receives. After aging in ex-bourbon casks, the whisky is divided with 30% going into first-fill ex-Pedro Ximenez sherry casks and 70% going into heavily charred American oak. The whisky is then married together for brief settling period before being bottled at cask strength, non-chill filtered, and with natural color. Let’s give it a try.
I’m glad that Glen Scotia Victoriana does not have artificial caramel coloring because it is gorgeous in the glass, and I would feel a bit cheated knowing that the brilliant hue was artificially created. The time in ex-bourbon and ex-sherry casks (although we don’t know exactly how long) provides a deep, slightly red, golden color. The nose is complex with slightly sweet caramel, brown sugar, pineapple, mango, and a touch of cinnamon.
On the palate, the whisky fairly bursts with a range of flavors that are integrated into a cohesive whole but can be separated out and appreciated individually: crème brûlée, milk chocolate, sea salt, and caramel. Interestingly, the fruit notes that appear on the nose do not translate to the palate. But the whisky is creamy, mouth coating, and rich without being overpowering. A touch of water makes the milk chocolate notes more prominent, and I recommend it. The finish is quite long and introduces a touch of mint and spice that slowly fades along with salted caramel and milk chocolate. This is fantastic Scotch. It is both simply enjoyable and rewards further contemplation. It lacks an age statement, but it makes a statement with its quality and character.