Review: Glen Scotia 18

Over the past year I’ve bought a fair amount of samples from dutch retailer whiskysite.nl, as a means of finding affordable material for my blog (in other words: without dishing out for a full size bottle). For this year I decided to start using these samples for my Whisky Wednesday’s. They come in 6cl bottles, which means the sample holds two drams. Which suits me perfectly, because I will bring the bottle with me on my daily hike to take a picture and enjoy a dram on the road. And there will still be enough left over for my review once I’m back home. For today’s review I picked a bottle at random, and it was this Glen Scotia 18 that appeared in my hand.

Before diving into this review I’d like to share the fact that I bought this sample last April, for 8,49 (euro). Back then that was about the tenth of the price of a bottle, which seems to be roughly the standard Whiskysite uses for their 6cl bottles. Due to the popularity of the Campbeltown region prices have gone up significantly since then. I’ve seen this Glen Scotia 18 go for as much as 189 euro, at which price I would have probably never picked it up.

Lastly I’d also like to add that even though their label is visible and I do mention them, that I’m in no way sponsored or associated with Whiskysite. It just so happens that they offer samples at a fair price, and by buying samples from time to time I can bring you more reviews than if I were to purchase only full sized bottles.

Tasting Notes: Glen Scotia 18 Years Old
Stats:

ABV: 46% (92 proof)

Age: 18 years old

Distillery: Glen Scotia Distillery

Owned by: Loch Lomond Group

Category: Campbeltown Single Malt Scotch Whisky

Awards: International Spirits Challenge Gold (2020)

Chill-Filtered: No

Natural Colour: Yes

Setting:

It’s Whisky Wednesday and I stayed local for my walk today. I took the dogs to the Spiegelplas, a gorgeous lake that’s located at a five minute walk from my home. After the walk I had dinner with my fiancée, followed by playing guitar for a while. Next I put my feet up, cranked up some jazz in the background, and I poured the remainder of my sample neat into a Glencairn. Ready and set for my Whisky Wednesday Review.

Nose:

This dram does not have a shy nose at all. Right from the start it attacks your olfactory senses with thick layers of citrus and oils. In fact, the first thing that came to my mind is a lemon oil that I often use for the fretboards on my guitars. I’m also finding some vegetal notes of moss, tree bark, and tar. But once I’ve adjusted a bit to the overly thick and oily elements of this nose, I’m also finding lighter and sweeter smells. Specifically powdered sugar comes to mind. There’s a treacle note in there as well and some ginger too. Alltogether there is so much going on with the nose of this dram, that it’s almost hard to keep track. Sometimes it can even become a little overwhelming, but if you like complexity in the nose of your dram you don’t have to look any further than this Glen Scotia 18. Water reveals some lighter vegetal notes, reminiscent of small pond overgrown with duckweed.

Palate:

It’s sweet, there’s peat, and you’re going to enjoy this one neat. All rhyming (and kidding) aside though, the first thing that hits me on the palate of this dram is its sweetness. I’m getting very clear hints of honey, maple syrup and molasses. And it has a thick mouthfeel that accompanies those flavours very well. Only once I look past the sweetness I start to notice some peat. Not the medicinal kind you find in an Islay, or the campfire peat in a Talisker, but an Industrial kind of peat. The kind of funk the Campbeltown region has become so famous for. It’s a mixture of burning tar and engine oil, that many people could experience as quite offensive to the palate. Luckily enough, there’s also plenty of afficionados that swear by it though. Lucky for me, because I count myself amongst them.

It’s quite hard to look past the sweetness and the industrial funk in this dram. But when you take the time and effort for it you will find some fruity influences as well. After some time I start to find orange zest, pears and there’s even some pineapple in the mix as well. Just like on the nose, this Glen Scotia has an amazing turmoil of flavours in store for you. And I’m enjoying every second I spend with it. Water amps up the sweeter elements in this dram, almost turning the notes into that of candy. A strawberry winegum is what first came to mind.

Finish:

The finish is long, and boy am I glad for that! There are some slight tannins that appear for the first time on the finish, which may be considered a little bit harsh for some. But in my opinion, they’re balanced out wonderfully by the sweetness that lingers as well. Especially the maple syrup sticks around for a long time. Not the overly sweet kind, but if you’ve ever had some barrel aged maple syrup, you’ll recognise the flavour I’m talking about. As the bittersweet notes start to faint however, the citrus notes poke up their heads once more. And this time I’m finding lime zest and Quenepa fruit.

Just like on the nose and palate this dram might be an acquired taste. But if you like the category, you won’t find much to complain here. Water dulls the finish quite a bit, taking away most of the tannins that brought such a nice balance to it. It doesn’t impart the length of the finish too much though, and if anything, the sweetness gets ramped up here as well.

Verdict:

I absolutely loved every second I spent with this dram. This Glen Scotia 18 has so much complexity that you can just keep going back to it, time and time again, and find something new to love every single time. It is very outspoken in its character though, and I wouldn’t recommend this one to the people I know that are not as fond of the Campbeltown region as I am. Value wise this one used to be great as well. I mean an 18-year-old for about 85 euro was a great deal a year ago. Unfortunately times have changed and the price of this dram has become too much for me to chip out on a single bottle. If only I would have tried this one sooner, I might have snatched myself up a bottle or two at the old price. Taking price out of the equation, I don’t think many people will be disappointed when they do get themselves a bottle of Glen Scotia 18. It’s simply an amazing dram!

Rating:

93/100

Value:

D

Click here to learn more about how I come up with my tasting notes and how I determine rating and value.

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