When most people think about the Campbeltown region, one distillery comes to mind: Springbank. While Springbank certainly puts out a wide range of great single malts under a variety of brand names, there’s another distillery right up the road that deserves some recognition. Glen Scotia has been steadily creating whisky for almost 200 years and remains extremely true to their heritage. Glen Scotia has maintained a traditional operation well into the 21st century, using their original mashtun as well as much of the original stillroom and dunnage warehouse from the 1800s. They put out a wide range of age stated releases but today’s review is of an NAS release that does things a bit differently.
Glen Scotia Victoriana is an interesting expression that sits in the middle of their standard range price-wise and goes through a fairly unique finishing process. The whisky is first matured in ex-bourbon casks for an undisclosed number of years before being split in to two different finishing casks. 30% of the whisky moves to ex-Pedro Ximenez casks while the other 70% moves to American oak with a heavy char. The finished whisky is then married together for a short period before bottling. Victoriana is non-chill filtered and bottled at 51.5% ABV.
|Coastal and fruity. Salted caramel, apples, peaches, 2x4s, smoke, raisins, hint of leather, apricots.
|More stonefruit from the nose, orange zest, gumdrops, bourbon influence, vanilla, red wine, hint of spent match, fennel, sea salt, musty basement.
|Dry, earthy, and spicy. Medium length. The fruit really fades to the background and gives way to charcoal, clove, and some dunnage warehouse. There’s just a bit of candy sweetness with time and water. Oak and earth are the last notes to fade.
|Glen Scotia Victoriana is a malt that I think can really appeal to a bourbon drinker. Despite the fact that there’s a bit of smoke and coastal influence, it’s aged in ex-bourbon casks and features a finish in heavy char barrels which lends a lot of bourbony notes to the whisky. There’s also some “Campbeltown Funk” influence here but it’s not nearly as prevalent as your average Springbank. I think this drinks quite nicely for its strength. There's some good balance between fruit, earthiness, and coastal notes. The finish falls just a bit flat for me but other than that, this whisky is worth checking out.