Single Malt Scotch

Glen Scotia Victoriana Single Malt Review

I’ve just realized this is the first Campbeltown whisky I’ve reviewed here on the blog.  Well, glad I’ve corrected that!

Glen Scotia is one of three active distilleries in Campbeltown.  It’s been around since 1832,and finally making its official debut in the United States.  The distillery, owned by the Loch Lomond Group, puts out three regular bottlings: a Double Cask, 15 year old, and the subject of this post: Victoriana.  This single malt is supposed to replicate a style of whiskies from the Victorian era, hence the name.  It’s non-chill filtered, bottled at a hearty 51.5% abv, and runs $110 a bottle.  The whisky is finished in charred oak casks, supposedly giving it a smooth & smoky quality.  

The nose features burnt sugar, varnish, fresh orchard fruits, wood fire, with hints of vanilla and spice.  Taste-wise, though it has some fruity and sweet elements, the whisky comes across slightly savory.  Vanilla extract, polished wood, baked apples, hay, and spice are the most prevalent flavors.  There’s a slight smokiness on the back end, but comes across as more bitter barrel char than peat.  It’s not off putting, and adds a touch more complexity.  A drop of water brings about some candied lemon peel.  Nice.  The medium-length finish is bittersweet, and leaves behind a softly smoked malt note.

I like Glen Scotia Victoriana, though my criticism would be the charred oak barrel finish.  It gives this whisky a slightly bitter/savory quality overall.  Though it makes for a unique experience, I’d love to see this whisky finished in a wine cask or not finished at all.  But, I can only judge what’s in the bottle, and what’s in the bottle is quite enjoyable.  Nicely done.  8/10

Thanks to the Loch Lomond Group for the sample.  As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

The Macallan 18-Year-Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky Review

The Macallan 18-year-old is the kind of whisky someone looking to impress would have in their collection.  After all, a single malt with an 18-year-old age statement carries some weight.  Especially if it comes from the Macallan distillery.

Look past that and focus on the whisky itself.  You’ll find a damn fine example of a Highland single malt.  Macallan 18 is aged exclusively in ex-sherry casks.  It’s known as a sherry bomb, due to the high influence of flavor those casks provide.  This expression is bottled at 43%.

The nose here is spicy, with ginger leading the charge.  Close behind in full force is luscious toffee and sherried dark fruit, with fruit cake rounding off the nose.  The palate isn’t as sweet as the nose suggests.  I get big sherried dark fruit right up front.  There is also some wood smoke and vanilla bean.  Mid-palate, I pick up a nice amount of spice (cinnamon and ginger) along with some bitter orange rind.  Spiced berries and brown sugar carry the medium finish.

Macallan 18-year-old is richer than its 12-year-old sibling.  Flavors are a tad bolder and more refined.  I see the appeal of this over the younger expression.  A bottle of this runs $200+, while the 12-year-old is $60+.  It’s up to you to decide if six extra years of maturation is worth $140.  Value aside, Macallan 18 is an exquisite sherried whisky I thoroughly enjoyed.  Recommended.

(Note: A review sample was provided by Edrington Americas.)

Oban 14 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Review

Oban 14

Oban is a member of Diageo’s “Classic Malts” collection, representing the Highland region along with Dalwhinnie.  Bottled at 43% abv, Oban single malt is aged 14 years although other expressions exist, namely an 18 year version and the new non-age statement (NAS) Oban “Little Bay.”  This whisky hails from the town of Oban, located in the western Highland region of Scotland.  The Oban distillery isn’t named after the town.  Quite the opposite – the town was built around the Oban distillery.  That’s a neat story, but there’s good news and bad news here.  The good news is that this small distillery produces great whisky.  The bummer is there is no room for growth.  Because since the town was built around the distillery, there is physically no way the distillery can expand.  Oban was founded in 1794, making it one of the oldest whisky distillery around.  As mentioned earlier, Oban is on the west coast of Scotland, in the Highland region.  It’s placement next to the sea not only earned its nickname “Gateway to the Isles,” it also helps impart some of that maritime essence into its whisky.