Glen Scotia – 20 Year Old – 1992 – Archives – Single Malt Scotch Whisky | 50.4% (100.8 Proof) Sample from Whiskybase
Color/Appearance: Well its not quite yellow and far from amber. Kinda like a single drop of red wine fell into your white wine. This is the first of several Whiskybase samples that I purchased many months ago. I made the mistake of not noticing that reviewers using these samples usually order two of each, since each of these tiny bottles is actually less than 1oz. So for a while I have just stared at them. I will now attempt to review this Glen Scotia and see if this is even possible. I hope to just make my reviews a little shorter to account for the lower fluid volume. Hopefully I can find something interesting to say about each. This bottle was not only acquired from Whiskybase but is also from their own house label “Archives”. Its a good thing the Archives brand now has better label design because this is possibly the ugliest bottle of whisky I have ever seen. The barrel is listed as a hogshead which I assume most likely formerly contained sherry but one cannot be too certain. I am excited to try some malt from the other major player in Campbeltown. Lets crack this tiny thing and see how crazy we can get on New Years Eve with less than an ounce of whisky.
Nose: Honey, ripe pear, vanilla, dried hay, lightly floral, with a tickle of salt. Slowly a tiny vein of soft peat and smoke start to emerge. At first it was completely undetectable and I was wondering if this even was peated. This peated influence stays on the minimal side. Very pleasant and appealing with a slow poached pear steaming on a plate before me. Now some cinnamon is sprinkled on and a vanilla honey syrup is drizzled on top. Then to top it off a block of salt is given a quick scrape across a microplaner. Seriously this stuff is making me salivate.
Palate: A tiny drop of wildflower honey, then a explosion of power. For such a delicate and delicious nose this is rather unexpected. It is cask strength but at only fifty percent it shouldn’t zap you this much. Salt and brine, black pepper, liquorice and peat moss. Antiseptic and oily. The lovely pears are there but now things are reversed from the nose with the softer and more delicious elements subservient to salty coastal peat and spice. Rugged and bracing. Once I am sort of adjusted to it I do find it quite nice. Its strength and power start to turn into an asset with small retreats where pear, honey and cinnamon can be exposed.
Finish: Here the fading of the strong blast from the palate slowly reveal again those wonderful pear notes. Apple skin pealed onto a well used wooden chopping block. The oak influence I feel clearly here and it reminds me strongly of bourbon casks with some char and ending with a touch of sooty ash.
Overall: A very interesting whisky. Its profile places it in a rather sparse territory. It is only mildly peated and instead of wafts of smoke or spoonfuls of iodine, it gives you an eye dropper of medicine, giving depth and interest to a wonderful fruity spirit. The quality is rather nice but it does feel a little disjointed from the nose to the palate. I do think that twenty years in the barrel have allowed for some very nice development but the overall effect is not one that you are going to dream about. I would certainly like to try some more Glen Scotia whiskies but I get the feeling they are unlikely to vault above Sprinkbank and Glengyle. So this tiny sample review worked out rather nicely and I hope that you all have a wonderful 2015. Thanks so much for reading.