Making the best Whisky in the world is no small feat, but for the team at Glen Scotia Distillery, it’s all in a day’s work.
Based in Campbelltown, Scotland, Glen Scotia is a relatively small distillery that’s been operating since 1832. The distillery is one of the few in the region that has survived. At the peak of whiskey production in the 1800’s Campbelltown was one of the world’s leading whisky producers, today only a fraction of that history remains, and Glen Scotia is at the forefront.
The brand is looking to put Campbeltown back on the map, and after bringing home the 2021 award for Best In Show at the San Francisco Spirits Awards for their 25 year old Single Malt (as well as a host of other awards for their line), they’re well on their way. After we caught up with Master Distiller Iain McAlister, we wanted to take a deeper look at the full line of whiskies the company produces.
All the whisky starts from the same place. Malted barley sourced from the east of Scotland is placed in Mash Tuns where 66-degree water is added first, and then within an eight-hour period a second batch of 72-degree water is added. Once the wort is created it’s placed in a Washback at 22 degrees and yeast is added to the mix. This sits for at least 70 hours and is then added to the Wash Still to begin the first stage of distillation. When the mixture reaches about 20% ABV it’s moved to the Spirits Still to begin the second distillation and the foreshorts are taken off, this process increases the ABV to about 74%. The pure spirit begins to be taken off resulting in an average spirit strength of just below 70%, a small quantity of water is added, and the whisky enters the casks at a 63.5% ABV.
Once the whisky enters the casks the magic begins. The casks are delivered to the Dunnage warehouse and the unique weather of Campbeltown begins to work with the wood to transform the liquid into award winning whisky. What happens inside those casks? Each expression has a slightly different finishing process that results in a delightfully unique final product.
Double Cask Single Malt Whisky
Glen Scotia’s Double casks starts its aging process in first-fill bourbon barrels and then spend 12 months finishing in Pedro Ximenez Sherry casks. The final whisky has won three awards and has a rich and spicy profile with notes of sea spray and vanilla oak characteristic of Glen Scotia’s spirit.
Victoriana Single Malt Whisky
Inspired by the whisky of the 1800’s, Glen Scotia’s Victoriana is a cask strength whisky made to recreate the bold expressions popular during the Victorian period. The whiskey starts by aging together before 30% finishes in Pedro Ximenez sherry aged casks and 70% finishes in heavily charred oak. After 12 months the two are blended back together to create a robust spirit with subtle wood and vanilla flavor with a mild, smoky aftertaste and a crème brulee nose. The bold flavor opens with a sweet and concentrated start that leads into fruity, jammy blackcurrant.
Glen Scotia 11-Year-Old Sherry Double Cask Finish
You’ll find spiced rum, toffee, citrus peel, and juicy plum on the nose of this limited-edition expression. After maturing in first fill bourbon barrels the spirit is split between Pedro Ximenez and Oloroso Sherry first fill Hogsheads. The incredibly smooth whisky has a velvety mouthfeel with notes of salted butter, sweet vanilla, raisins, cinnamon, nutmeg, and warming clove.
15-Year-Old Single Malt Whisky
Hints of vanilla oak, spicy aromatic fruits and subtle notes of sea spray open this richly colored whisky. On the nose you’ll find aromas of citrus peel, ginger snap and apricot that fade into warm wood. Specially selected casks are hand-picked by Master Distiller Iain McAlister to mature in American oak barrels.
18-Year-Old Single Malt Whisky
This luxuriously smooth single malt starts its maturation process in refill bourbon or American oak hogshead. After careful selection, the best casks are vatted together and finished in first-fill oloroso sherry. The award-winning whisky has floral notes and a crisp saltiness with sweet honey and salted caramel on the nose. On the palate, fruity flavors create a rich opening with thick and sweet toffee, pineapple, apricots, and plump sultanas with a warming spice closing.
25-Year-Old Single Malt Whisky
It’s easy to see how Glen Scotia’s 25 year won the 2021 San Francisco World Spirits Competition Best In Show. This stunning amber whisky has a strong maritime influence with intense background spice on the nose and red apple with vanilla syrup on the palate. The whisky is gently matured in the finest American oak barrels and is married in first-fill bourbon casks before bottling.