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Glen Scotia and Duncan MacCallum
Glen Scotia distillery is located in Campbeltown on the Kintyre Peninsula of Scotland’s western coast. Founded in 1832 by Stewart, Galbraith & Co the distillery enjoyed some early success, benefiting from its position on the High St of what became known as the Victorian Whisky Capital of the World.
Campbeltown’s good times were not to last of, course. Poor management, low production standards and the closure of the local coal mine combined to bring this thriving industry to its knees. By 1924 things were looking grim for Glen Scotia but just as the end drew near, the business was saved (albeit temporarily) by local distiller Duncan MacCallum, owner of the Glen Nevis and Kinloch distilleries. By 1928 however, the business was struggling again and the decision was taken to halt production. While Scotia re-opened two years later, the hard times had taken a toll on MacCallum.
This once successful businessman had lost almost everything and on the morning of 23 December 1930 Duncan MacCallum left his house on Kilkerran Road and climbed the hill to Crosshill Loch, the source of Glen Scotia’s water. There, he walked into the cold, dark water and was never heard from again. While Glen Scotia was under MacCallum’s ownership for just 6 years, it is entirely possible that the distillery would have been lost forever without his intervention in 1924. With that in mind, next time you raise a dram of Glen Scotia, why not toast the memory of the man whose spirit is said to haunt the distillery to this day.
Glen Scotia came under new ownership in 2014 and has since launched a full new range of core expressions, including this rather fine 15-year-old.
Smell: Vanilla, Caramel & Toffee, Biscuit, Apple & Orange. A touch of Wood and a little Smoke.
Taste: Woody & Spicy on the palate with Gingerbread, Orange, Caramel and a faint undercurrent of Smoke.
Thoughts: I’m seeing the price of 15-year-old single malts climbing drastically of late. What used to cost £50 is now in the region of £70. Massive credit then to Glen Scotia who continue to price this one between £45 and £50. It’s quite an excellent buy at that price with just the right combination between cask and spirit. Like most Campbeltown drams there’s a subtle hint of the sea with some salt and brine and the gentlest of smoke. Complex, balanced and affordable. Great stuff.
*If the whisky reviewed in this article has caught your eye, you can buy it from Master of Malt here. Please be aware that as an affiliate I can be paid a small commission on any purchases you make after following links from my page. The whisky is also available from several other excellent retailers.