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  • Writer's pictureHarold

Glen Scotia Malts Festival 2021, Sherry Double Cask Fin

It’s strange to think that a “limited edition” bottling from one of Scotland’s oldest distilleries is a fairly new concept. But before the annual Malts Festival releases (2017), you’d be hard pressed to find much of anything. Large periods of closure are primarily to blame for that, paired with a lack of foresight from much of the previous owners. There’s been plenty of changes since the Loch Lomond Group took over though, and the demand for Campbeltown whisky is as great as ever.


After Iain McAlister took over as Distillery Manager and got their distillate in order (some of the early 90’s stuff misbehaved in their maturation stage, in my opinion), there was some wise investment into their wood program, including their own cooperage and some “exotic” casks. Experimentation and “small batch” limited editions have finally entered the market but the results however, have not been all winners, I’m afraid. Today’s duo. for instance have gotten mixed reviews, myself included, over the couple/few years since their respective releases. Let’s see how they behave this time.

 
Glen Scotia 10 Year |Malts Festival 2021| Bordeaux Red Wine Cask Finish – Unpeated - 56.1%
Bottle Image Credit: Whiskybase

Glen Scotia - 10 Year

|Malts Festival 2021|

Bordeaux Red Wine Cask Finish Unpeated

56.1%


Appearance: Deep brownish/Palo Cortado

First Whiff: Buttered caramel

Nose: Lots to get through here. Fienty, little candle wax…candied citronella on a summer night. Orchard fruits, right on brand with the modern GS profile. Candied red apple, with a cinnamon dusting. Slightly cooked stone fruits…peaches, apricot. Not quite the overly sweet, red fruit bordeux bomb I was expecting from the official notes. The initial bourbon maturation seems to have hung on nicely, after a relatively short (5 month) finish in the Medoc casks.

Palate: Chewy. Cask strength means nothing when the body is this fat and oily. The front hits with a bit of leather. An artificial sweetener note jumps right in like stale milk chocolate. Crisp apple cider and peach cobbler. Fall vibes clearly.

Finish: Medium-short. Spicey but well-integrated, like spiced French vanilla, almost an egg nogg like finish.


Summary: Short cask finishes usually get a bad rap, as if the company is trying to mask some deficiencies of the initial maturation…but I don’t believe that was the case here. Medoc is a tricky wine to pin down, flavor wise since it’s a blend of Cab Sauvignon and Merlot, but it’s safe to say there was not an overinfluence of wood from this finish. I like that they left this short and retained the Scotia character but there was still a bit of unbalance at play and the artificial chocolate note really numbed the whole experience.

IDS SCORE: 83

 
Glen Scotia 2008/11 Year - Sherry Double Cask Finish - Unpeated  - 54.1%
Bottle Image Credit: Whiskybase

Glen Scotia - 2008/11 Year

Sherry Double Cask Finish - Unpeated 54.1%


Appearance: Burnt amber

First Whiff: Unique…

Nose: They mean it when they say “unpeated.” Not a whiff of smoke, clearly. This feels like it was created in a lab to appease a “sweet tooth” palate. Initial bubble gum leads into candied nectarine/peach and Werther’s caramel. Orange blossoms on the floral side.

Palate: Flat rubbery cola. Moldy cedar wood. Grandma’s old recliner. Fig newtons without the sweet, buttery bread part. There’s an odd old bottle feel, like a softened liqueur coming from wood used in older blends.

Finish: Short. Dried tobacco leaves and orange potpourri.


Summary: The notes make it seem like this was created in the Golden Girls lab (everyone saw that episode, right?). The distillate is around the time when GS will admit they were still “figuring things out,” so I’ll play that up as to where some of those off-notes were coming from. It’s my understanding 2013 was around the time they were satisfied with the consistency of their spirit production. The younger, unpeated stuff is a bit too playful for my palate at times though. I tend to prefer my Scotia’s heavily peated and well mannered.

IDS SCORE: 82

 

Glen Scotia Malts Festival 2021, Sherry Double Cask Fin

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