Distiller: Glen Scotia. Region: Campbeltown. ABV: 46%. No age statement. Price: $50.
It was a pleasure kicking off last weekend with another tasty dram from the Loch Lomond Group: the Glen Scotia Double Cask. Scotia is one of the few Campbeltown distilleries in operation today, though the region was once the distilling capital of Scotland, with 32 active distilleries. Springbank is the single malt distillery most whisky lovers associate with Campeltown–and a personal favorite of mine–though Glen Scotia deserves attention too.
The no-age-statement Double Cask is part of Glen Scotia’s new core range. The name refers to its two-part maturation: first-fill bourbon casks, followed by Pedro Ximenez sherry butts.
The nose isn’t a shy one. Tons of rich salted caramel, with a slight musty parchment note. Buttery popcorn. Sugar cookies. Some stewed sherry fruits. The body is dense, and the palate mixes sweet, savory, and spicy: toffee, roast chicken with balsamico, then ground ginger and white pepper. The finish is medium-long, with buttery peanut brittle and a touch of gunpowder smokiness toward the end.
Distinct, unique, substantial at 46% ABV, and very fairly priced. Looking forward to more good things from Glen Scotia! – BO
Distiller: Glengyle/Springbank. ABV: 46%. Age: 10 years old. Region: Campbeltown. Price: $65.
As a huge Springbank fan, it was a very happy accident when I stumbled across the Kilkerran Sherry Wood Work-in-Progress at one of my go-to whisk(e)y bars recently. I’m even happier that Whisky Rover advised me to try the Bourbon Wood as well. It’s marvelous.
Kilkerran’s works-in-progress releases have been getting a year older with each successive batch as it ramps up for the release of its permanent 12-year-old releases in 2016, This Bourbon Wood is Batch 6, the second-to-last annual work-in-progress release by the Springbank-owned Glengyle distillery. Amusingly–and fortuitously–Springbank opened Glengyle as a way to maintain the 3-distillery minimum to keep Campbeltown from losing its designation as a Scotch whisky region. The Batch 7 cask strength is the one that knocked Whisky Rover’s socks off–but this one’s a heck of a beauty too.
Gorgeous nose of stewed and spiced stone fruits. Marzipan. Nougat. White chocolate. And a little smoked-ham meatiness. It just keeps unfolding in the glass. Early on I thought: the palate can’t live up to this! But it does. Everything from the nose, plus gingerbread with frosting. Long finish of lemon and white pepper.
Can’t wait for the permanent line next year–but happily, we don’t have to. Seek this and the Batch 7 out, friends! You’ll be happy you did. -BO
Distiller: Springbank. 54.3% ABV. Age:12 years old. Region: Campbeltown. Price: $85-90.
What a way to end a night: Springbank Cask Strength 12. Matured 60% in first-fill sherry casks, the rest in refill. The most perfectly calibrated blend of fruit, malt, and (low-key) peat this side of…anywhere.
Campbeltown may be down to three distilleries, but when one of them’s this good, it could hold down a region all on its own. Springbank’s a connoisseur’s favorite, due to their relentless creativity, their handling every aspect of the whisky-making process in-house (only Kilchoman does the same), and their amazing results.
Nose: smoked ham. Sweet parchment and wood pulp. Toasty light peat of the sort that Springbank has always done so well–and Benromach now does too. A hint of that beautifully fatty body that you get on your first sip. Palate does sweet, salty, and savory all at once. Juicy red fruit. Caramel apple. Nutmeg and ginger move from body to finish, with a spray of blood orange zest at the end.
Reminds my why I spent my last night at the great Jack Rose DC working my way as far down the Springbank single cask list as I could afford.
Sweet dreams, whisky sippers. – BO