[Review] Glen Scotia - 18 years old 46%

Back into a more standard post today with a new review of a single malt, courtesy of Glen Scotia in Campbeltown. I have already reviewed another Glen Scotia before with the Double Cask on the 19/11/16, concluding it was a very worthy bottle to have in any collection. Since then, my interest for the distillery has grown quite a lot. I got to try their 15 years old as well as the Victoriana and the 25 years old which were all absolutely delicious (I actually bought a bottle of the 15 which will be for a future review). So when I heard they were releasing an 18 years old, I didn't think too long before having one on order, which is quite unusual for me as, when I go up in price, I like to try the bottles before buying them. 

What I like with Glen Scotia is the fact that their whisky experience is pretty authentic. By authentic I mean it is bottled at higher strength (generally around 46%), it is non-chillfiltered, I doubt they use much if at all any colouring. They are also very reasonably priced and their packaging is clean, simple and efficient. Of course, their single malts taste fantastic too!


Now what about this particular version, the 18 years old? Well on first impression I must say the all gold packaging (box and label) seemed a little ostentatious/flashy for my taste, coming from the black of the 15 or the lovely crafted wooden box of the 25. At least, the whisky is bottled yet again at 46% and non-chillfiltered. It also spent 17 years in ex-bourbon cask and ex-American oak hogsheads before spending its last 12 months in first-fill Oloroso casks. Sounds like a good thing to me and it has already made me forget all about the gold box!

Nose: Waxy with citrus notes. It is also sweet and spicy with dried fruits as well as some salt and smoke. It very much keeps the standard Glen Scotia nose I am used to but adding some fresher, more floral notes compared to the Double Cask. There is a little heather and some mineral notes too.

Palate: Sweet with some bitterness, there is caramel and vanilla, a little heat comes through with some spicy dried fruits wrapped in oak smoke... That sounds like a rather pretentious tasting note but there is a very distinctive taste to Glen Scotia which I love but cannot seem to describe. And it is this mix of sweet dried fruit, spices, wood and smoke, all-in-one!

Finish: The finish again is traditional Glen Scotia in my mind, with smoky caramel, sherry notes, oak and dried fruits. I also find some hazelnut lingering in the background.

With water: The citrus and floral notes take more of a front seat on the nose, the palate becomes sweeter and more syrupy with more toffee but loses the smoke and the oak. A bit of smoke reappears in the finish with a sweet and spicy mix of flavours. It is still very nice, but I prefer it without the water.

Overall, I am again very impressed by this single malt. Having just had it side by side with the standard Double Cask, I would agree again with the description of both malts: the Double Cask is definitely "Rich and Spicy" when the 18 is "Aromatic and Spicy". You get a more subtle, perfumed, and floral malt with the 18 when the Double Cask takes a rounder, bolder approach with smoky sherry, banana and salty chocolate. So where to go next? There is still a 16 years old and a NAS 1832 Campbeltown for me to try in the range, and who knows, maybe an official cask strength release one day?! All I know is that as long as Glen Scotia produce whisky of this quality I will be buying it and buying it again! Slàinte!



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