31 May 2017

27/05/2017 Campbeltown Festival 2017 (Day 4) Glen Scotia visit

We have breakfast at the Royal Hotel, today, for a change.

Bishlouk, whom we met the other day, has scheduled a distillery tour of Glen Scotia. Seeing as we arrived too late for that on Wednesday, this is a good catch-up session. JS and I join Bishlouk for the grand tour, then. MS had other plans for the day.

It appears the guide is not there, following a mix-up in times -- they expected us at 15:00, we expected they would be there at 13:00. Two other tourists are keen too, so they are willing to accommodate us all. And since the guide is not here, we will take the tour with Iain McAllister, the distillery manager.

The few things of interest I note out of the tour are:

-The barley is always Scottish; mostly Concerto, sometimes Optic
-It is malted by Glen Esk Maltings
-Glen Scotia produces non-peated spirit 11 months a year and peaty spirit one month per year
-The malt mill was made by Robert Boby Ltd. in the 1840s. The company suffered the same fate as Porteus and Vickers
-Cast-iron mash tun
-A wash consists of four waters -- 66°, 72°, 85°, 85°
-Distiller's yeast, M strain
-Fermentation lasts 7--8 hours
-Glen Scotia mashes 5d/week and distills 6d/week
-Six stainless steel washbacks, installed ca. 2011
-The computer is only used for the washback self-cleaning
-Flat Lyne arm
-Coal-fired stills were transformed into indirect-heated stills in the late-1950s, or early 1960s
-Average strength after second distillation is 69.4%

The mash tun is interesting in that I had never seem a cast-iron tun before, yet this is the second in Campbeltown.

The mash tun

The mill


The stills

Not sure one should trust a man who wears two watches

Racking warehouse

The tour ends in a warehouse, where we will try samples straight from the cask.

Glen Scotia d.2001 (ca 58%, Cask Sample, 1st Fill ex-Bourbon Barrel, C#560): nose: warm toffee, vanilla, almost new leather soles. Mouth: slightly salty, with worm-eaten wood and cork. Finish: warm toffee, sticky toffee pudding -- or do I have bits of last night's dessert stuck between my teeth? ;-) 7/10

Glen Scotia d.1989 (ca 56%, Cask Sample, Refill Oloroso Sherry Hogshead, C#316): nose: leather, fox skin, a whiff of smoke and old furniture. Mouth: round and fruity, with soft prunes, dates, figs. It feels a lot less strong the previous one. Finish: long, warming, with game casserole in a wine sauce, with a smokiness to it, and precious wood. The nose has notes that do not quite work for me, but it is nice, overall. 7/10

Serious valinch action
during this trip
Glen Scotia Heavily Peated d.2013 (unknown ABV, Cask Sample, ex-Bourbon Barrel, C#96): this is made with malted barley, peated to 54ppm. For comparison, Ardbeg is 45--50ppm. Nose: decaying leather, fox skin, then butter and drying hay. Mouth: a little spirit-y, with cold custard, poured on hot sticky toffee pudding. It is mildly drying too. Finish: barbecued carrots, leather, hay and a rather animal touch. 7/10

At the end of it, I pull out my bottle of Glen Scotia 17yo (40%, OB, L4/332/97 402) out of my bag and share it with everyone. Iain is pleased: he has never seen that bottle before. I am excited to empty it in the very place it was made and matured. So much so, that I do not take notes.

Welcome home

Good little tour, well recommended.

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