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According to legend, Duncan MacCallum’s spirit still haunts this Campbeltown Distillery. But that the distillery, currently property of Loch Lomond Company, is up for sale since 1999 is fact. That the crew of neighbouring Springbank keeps it running three months a year is confirmed by one, vehemently denied by the other. Whatever the case, we are going to taste an independent bottling of a 19 Year Old Glen Scotia, bottled by A.D. Rattray at a cask strength of 59,6%.
The sherry influence is truly vast. First fill, no doubt. Coffee beans, balsamico, raisins on syrup, dark chocolate, garden hose, some eucalyptus, fake leather sofa and a whole bunch of dry red wine. If I give it a few minutes, the ghost of wet cardboard, which I also got with the official 12 Year Old, rears its ugly head. Diluted it becomes even more sourish. Wine vinegar for god’s sake. And the rubber is more prominent too.
After the initial bomb of alcohol, the red wine again surfaces but is overpowered by the garden hose aroma, which is not to my liking. I even get some slightly burnt rubber. Very dry and rather bitter. Feisty on spices as well. This is deep sherry, bordering on sulphury. You have to like it, I guess. With water, I get some oranges and dades, but the oak shouts hard and drowns everything else.
The finish is very long, but oh so bitter on drying, red wine.
This Glen Scotia is not really my cup of tea. It needs water to be palatable, but that seriously ruins the nose. Undiluted, it is simply too bitter. A profile that has to be to your liking. Don’t get me wrong, I love heavily sherried whiskies. But if it is over the top, it is over the top.