Moss Island Drams: Glen Scotia 15 Year-Old

I’ve enjoyed two bottles of Glen Scotia 15 over the past year, gifts from my brother-in-law. Glen Scotia is one of the few remaining distilleries in Campbeltown, on the Kintyre peninsula in Scotland. At its peak in the 1800s, the town hosted around 30 distilleries and has been called the Whisky Capital of the World. Modern Campbeltown malts aren’t as well defined as Islay or Speyside expressions, but seem generally recognized for dryness and gentle pungency.

This expression is bottled at 92 proof, and hits strong flavor notes right up the middle – round and full, with a classic Scotch maltiness predominating; it’s rich but stops short of too sweet.

The whisky is golden amber in the glass. The nose is lively with ginger and cinnamon on top, and a hint of charcoal. It begins sweet on the palate but quickly eases to a dry woodiness, which mellows to a pleasant, medium-long finish.

Because it’s on the heavier side, I like Glen Scotia 15 best on a cool Autumn evening, with the smell of dried leaves in the air. I’ve read reviews that complain of medicinal off-notes, which I don’t catch; likewise, I’ve never perceived the fruit notes some have described. I’d recommend this bottle as a second-step Scotch for those who might enjoy more body while staying in a classic, not-too-spicy/smoky lane.