Glen Scotia 14 Tawny Port Finish (52.8%, OB 2020)

This was released for the 2020 edition of the Campbeltown Malts Festival. It’s mostly heavily peated malt matured in refill and recharred American oak casks, along with some medium peated malt matured in first fill barrels. It was then finished in tawny port hogsheads for a small period. I’m not normally a fan of port finishes, but Brian from Malt Musings was kind enough to send me a sample of this along with other Glen Scotias, so it was a great chance to see what all the hype was about.

Nose: Heavily peated, with a lot of coastal smoke. This is balanced by sweet red fruit and a bit of spice (I always seem to get paprika in Glen Scotia, a note I haven’t detected in any other whisky).

Palate: Stewed berries, tar and spices that can’t not remind me of some sherried Islays. There’s a salted caramel note and a hint of rubber, not unlike Benromach or its more famous Campbeltown neighbour. Like the Glen Scotia 15, I don’t feel it takes water particularly well, so it’s just as well that it goes down easily at full strength.

Finish: Long, warming, sweet and savoury.

Comments: The port isn’t very loud here, but it clearly enhances the spirit by adding an unobtrusive layer of sweetness. Perhaps it’s just the ruby port finishes that I disagree with, as both this and the Tomatin 14 (also a tawny port finish) have been quite good in my opinion.

Score: 86/100

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