Drunk as Lords
Win a Snort of Glen Scotia!
Or get stuck with the tab...
Here’s bar trick that will likely win you a drink: Can you name the five official whisky regions in Scotland? Everyone who has had a snort of the good stuff will get four – Highland, Lowland, Speyside and Islay – all the low-hanging fruit. Number five is the kicker. It’s isn’t a new classification either, just a forgotten one.
Back when Queen Victoria was doing her thing above ground, Campbelltown – and little burgh on the Kintyre peninsula of the west of Scotland – was known as “the whisky capital of the world.” Until it wasn’t. The region’s fall from grace was that in order to produce that much brown water, you’ve got to produce a lot of it. And being located way out at the tip of Kintyre will put you right in middle of… nowhere. Specifically, jutting out into the North Channel of the Irish Sea. It was a problem of quantity over quality, you see. And the locals resorted to the ancient wheeze of producing so much dreck that people want to forget about you – like Twitter.
And like Twitter, the region held on – sort of. By 2010 there were only three distilleries left in the region – Springbank, Glengyle and Glen Scotia. It’s hard to overwhelm the market on that scale. So the Campbelltown distillery’s changed tack and start to produce the old, classic “Campbelltown malt style.” And I went to buy a bottle of Glen Scotia Double Cask – which will run you about $65.
This is a Scotch whisky you want to consider. It sits somewhere between the Islay and a Highland whisky styles. Stuck out in the sea like that it has got what the Scots will tell you is a “maritime” quality. They lean on a poetic way of saying it because a more accurate description sounds just terrible: A sort of briny, iodine quality. Remember though, there is no good way to describe the thrill of oysters or the smell of the beach either. The people at Glen Scotia describe it a “sea spray”, which is a better way to put it.
The company also describes the people of Campbelltown as “stoic and proud” which is a better way of saying that the locals are pretty chapped that the Islay and Highland boys get all the press. What the Campbelltown style lacks is that peaky smoke of the Islay style that puts the faint-hearted off. There are hints there, sure, but it’s just that. In general, it’s a little lighter in flavor as well. As for the Glen Scotia Double Cask, it delivers a larger profile without the weight. Good stuff. You get a lot of dried fruit, toffee and vanilla, but with a little bite and less heat.
Glen Scotia a very good whisky for the price point. And it should be, they’ve been in business since 1832, even if they only rediscovered their way about 15 years ago.
Back to that bar trick, assuming your target knows something about Scotch, you well may lose. If that happens, buy yourself a drink as well, thus forcing your social better to drink with the likes of you.