Google Escape From Campbeltown

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Hi, this is one of our (almost) daily tastings. Santé!

March 9, 2019





Angus's Corner
From our casual Scottish correspondent
and guest taster Angus MacRaild
Escape From Campbeltown
I’m kidding. We all know that’s impossible! But seriously, you must remember the third film in that Kurt Russel trilogy from the 1980s... Maybe it only got a limited release in Scotland. Anyway, I’m increasingly fond of Glen Scotia these days. While it doesn’t always hit the mark, it is one of these distilleries that has certainly improved over the past twenty years. And its rather idiosyncratic distillates never lack charm in my view.


Glen Scotia 'Campbeltown Harbour' (40%, OB, 2018)

Glen Scotia 'Campbeltown Harbour' (40%, OB, 2018)
This is lightly peated Glen Scotia matured in bourbon casks apparently. Colour: gold. Nose: there is indeed peat. A rather medical and coastal style that seems to be emblematic of these lightly peated Scotias. I get salty butter, hot cross buns, smoked grains, cereals, hot wash and a wee glimmer of fruits underneath - things like ripe melon and citrons. Rather impressive I have to say. Mouth: rather simple with these notes of smoked hay, straw, raw barley, roast potato, grass, olive oil and a few stray bits of lemon peel. Perhaps some beach pebbles and dried rosemary as well. Unusual but rather fun. Finish: surprisingly good length. Smoked oatmeal, oatcakes, cereals, soot and crushed seashells. Comments: This humble little Glen Scotia is really quite charming. If they gave it an age statement of 5 or 8 years old it would add a further notch of class I think. But, as it is, it’s an easy an quaffable youngster that feels refreshingly un-doctored by active oak.
SGP: 463 - 82 points.



Glen Scotia 25 yo 1992/2018 (53.3%, SMWS 93.78 ‘Like a vintage dessert wine’, 2nd fill oloroso sherry butt, 186 bottles)

Glen Scotia 25 yo 1992/2018 (53.3%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society, 93.78 ‘Like a vintage dessert wine’, 2nd fill oloroso sherry butt, 186 bottles)
1990s Glen Scotia out of sherry can be a little ‘unlikely’ sometimes. Let’s see... Colour: orange/amber. Nose: well, blow my kilt off! This does indeed smell like some old Tokai with a drizzle of some old SGN Pinot Gris. Lots of sweet sultanas, fruit cake, lemon blossom, heather honey and apples baked in cinnamon sugar. All sweetness and elegance up front. Continues with orange blossom, pencil lead, graphite oil, tangerines, peach stones and old calvados. A genuinely lovely nose! With water: the most delicate of medicines, some old dried out herbal liqueurs, pine resin, a very old sweet Vouvray and some hazelnut liqueur. Mouth: the sherry is much louder and more direct here, lots of very old balsamic, some of that mad Italian green walnut liqueur, other toasted nuts, wet earth, mushrooms growing in an old wine cellar, cured game meats and leather. Pure and beautifully salty VORS Oloroso! I wasn’t sure at first but this is growing on me and evolving rather thrillingly. Becomes more mentholated as time goes on. With water: more settled and integrated with water. This meaty and sherry fusion works well. Still rather salty, lots of lemon oil, black tea, rosewater and hessian. Blood orange, cloves, soot and menthol tobacco. Finish: long, leathery, salty, minty, lemony, flinty and still full of leathery, walnutty old sherry character. Comments: There were times where I thought it was veering downwards slightly but, like that plane in pre-titles sequence of Goldeneye, it just pulls back into the skies at the last minute. The sherry character is a tad extreme at times and might not be for all people, but I find this to be pretty thrilling stuff. The dark side of Campbeltown! I’d also add that it’s probably one of the more accurately titled SMWS bottlings out there...
SGP: 662 - 90 points.



Over to Springbank...



Springbank 25 yo 1993/2018 (47.5%, Whiskybroker for IAAS, bourbon / ex-Pétrus, 183 bottles)

Springbank 25 yo 1993/2018 (47.5%, Whiskybroker for IAAS, bourbon / ex-Pétrus, 183 bottles)
16 years in bourbon followed by 9 in an ex-Chateau Pétrus red wine barrique. Better put my crash helmet on. Incidentally, IAAS stands for ‘It’s All About Springbank’. I believe they are locked in a state of perpetual war with the ‘It’s All About Speyburn’ society. Colour: deep rosé. Nose: it is indeed Springbank. Lots of seashore pebbles, hessian, lemon rind, coal hearth, dunnage and touches of wax and brine. The wee sooty touches mixed with moss, bracken and a few fruit jellies are very lovely. A wee touch of peat and earthy phenolics rising in the background. Mouth: Hmmm. It kind of splits in two here. The wine influence is just too jammy and cloying for me. Although, there is a kind of geode core of preserved classic Springbank hidden inside. Some rooty, earthy peat, some dried seaweed and touches of ripe green and yellow fruits. But the integration just is quite there. Some nice notes of black pepper, beef stock and bouillon, but you can’t get away from the wine. Finish: long but also jammy and tannic, a little too cloying once again. Comments: There’s much to enjoy here. And I’m sure that some noble chums will enjoy them more than I do. I just don’t think these kinds of excessive wine finishings work I’m afraid. Even with longer, second maturations like in this case. But it could well just be me.
SGP: 472 - 79 points.



Springbank 15 yo (53.4%, OB private cask for Tim Nicholls & Markku Sauvala, sherry)

Springbank 15 yo 1997 (53.4%, OB private cask for Tim Nicholls & Markku Sauvala, sherry)
Not sure when this one was distilled, but probably circa 2000. Colour: deep amber. Nose: a clean one. Bags of soot, earth, bitter chocolate, black tea, game terrine, marzipan, frying pancetta, walnuts, dried herbs, wax, salted caramel, camphor and plain old dunnage warehouse. With water: leafier, more tobacco, more citrus peel, more nicely structured mineral sherry. Cocoa. Pretty typical and elegant development. Mouth: when Springbank and sherry combine, sometimes it can be a tad monstrous, but here it treads a fine tightrope. Some slightly grubby notes of pencil erasers but also mushrooms, struck flints, saline minerals, blood orange and lightly tarry rope. Increasingly meaty as well with big notes of anthracite and cough syrups. With water: nice, more dark fruits and more leathery qualities. Although, in time, also some slightly more grubby aspects as well. Getting a bit unsteady on that tightrope. Finish: medium, rather chalky, getting drier, more bitter chocolate, walnut oil, spiced mead and a touch of herbal peat. Comments: All very good, a tad too beefy in places to get to 90 but it’s a solid, mid-aged sherried Springbank. The dirtiness is more of a natural dirtiness, which I quite like, but I suspect some would find it a bit too over the top.
SGP: 572 - 87 points.



Well, look at that, Glen Scotia won! Isn't it nice when the underdog triumphs.



Thanks to Stefan and Julien.



More tasting notesCheck the index of all Glen Scotia we've tasted so far






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