Another year and another cancelled whisky festival! Most had hoped 2020’s cancellations would be a one off, but here we are in 2021 and there’s still no Campeltown Malts festival, along with many other festivals that have had to switch once again to online only.
One of the benefits of this has also been a curse. Yes, we can now buy many of the various festival bottlings without having to make the pilgrimage in person, but the negative is that many have been highly sought after and have fallen prey to the dreaded flippers. Thankfully that won’t be the case with this release from Glen Scotia, with 20,000+ bottles being made available.
This years release follows the cask finishing theme of the previous ones, with ruby port, rum and tawny port being used in previous bottlings. This time it is the turn of red wine, specifically Bordeaux red wine from the Medoc region. The whisky has been matured in 1st fill bourbon barrels for most of its life, before being placed in 1st fill red wine casks for 5 months and then being married in refill bourbon barrels for a couple of months prior to bottling.
An interesting major difference with this festival release is the use of 100% unpeated malt. Red wine finishes are known to work rather well with a peated style of whisky, as they do with the extremely popular Longrow Red series from Springbank. Does this mean the red wine will clash with the more delicate flavours of the unpeated malt? I guess we need to try it and see.
Nose : A sweet, wonderfully candied and floral nose with an effervescence reminiscent of orange sherbert. Parma violets is another scent that springs to mind amongst those perfumed, floral candy notes. There is an earthy damp cellar note in the background too along with sage and menthol mint.
Palate : It certainly packs a punch when it hits the palate, and a drop of water and some time helps to calm things down and bring out more flavours. There’s plenty of juiciness with blackcurrant, some more of that orange from the nose and a hint of the mint. It’s tannic and drying (possibly the red wine influence?) and that continues into the finish along with chili spice heat, salt and a creaminess at the end.
Conclusions : Glen Scotia have played a blinder with this release. There was some hesitation from me when it was announced as an unpeated red wine finish, but they have balanced it really well and the red wine certainly doesn’t overwhelm the spirit. This was £49.99 delivered, which is outstanding value for a 10 year old age statement at cask strength, and with lots of bottles being made available, there should be plenty for everyone who wants one.
Stop worrying about not picking up the latest Springbank, Daftmill, Bimber etc. There is plenty of good whisky out there.
Score : 8/10
Three word review : Candied. Floral. Fruity
ABV : 56.1%
Non-chill filtered : Yes
Natural Colour : Yes
Maturation : 1st fill bourbon > 1st fill bordeaux red wine > refill bourbon
Region : Campbeltown
Colour : Rose Gold