This is the last part of my vertical tasting of Glen Scotia's previous range of single malt whiskies during a trip to the Highland Stillhouse. See the review of the 12 Year for lots of background and the 14 Year for some late-breaking news about the distillery.
Nose: creamy barbecue, light apple cider and vegetal peat, dusty grapes, cacao/chocolate, gentle oak, wood sugars. After adding a few drops of water, the apple notes became fresher, with more malt, less smoke/barbecue, lots of wood spices/sugars, some maritime notes, creamy vanilla, and mint.
Taste: grape/sucrose sweetness throughout, black pepper comes in quickly, bittersweet oak and a touch of vinegar near the back, creamy overall. After dilution, it becomes maltier and a little flat, with more pepper and oak, some wood sugars up front, and hints of salt and baked apples.
Finish: mild peat, malty, pepper, oak
Like the 12 Year and unlike the 14 Year, this one is bottled at a decent but not extravagant 43%. While it had much more in common with the 14 Year, especially in terms of the grape notes, it felt a little less coherent. There was a bit of a sour edge to it that detracted from the other flavors. Most importantly, the palate was a bit of a letdown in comparison to the nose. It seems like there's solid malt in there, but the component casks could have been picked with a bit more care. As noted by LAWS, it's hard to make an argument for the 17 Year over the 14 Year, though at this point it's all academic. I'll be keeping my eye out for an opportunity to pick up the new expressions from Glen Scotia because I'm so intrigued by these offerings. I think the distillery has a lot to offer as a slightly more refined version of Campbeltown, in comparison to Springbank's rougher charm.