New Whiskies

Campbeltown Malts Festival 2018

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Campbeltown Malts Festival 2018 whiskies, from Springbank, Glen Scotia, Kilkerran, Hazelburn and Longrow

Enthusiastic baggage handling at Glasgow Airport meant a short delay to Becky Paskin’s reviews of the limited edition whiskies released for the Campbeltown Malts Festival 2018. Still, thanks to the generosity of Springbank distillery, which supplied a replacement sample, it was worth the wait.

Up first are a duo of releases from Glen Scotia distillery – a Port-finished 2008 vintage that enhances the distillery’s fruitiness with a strawberry lace tinge, and a 17-year-old single cask bottling that Paskin deems a ‘crowd pleaser’.

Moving onto the first of three malts from Springbank distillery, the unpeated, triple-distilled Hazelburn 10-year-old is ‘gentle and warming’, perfect for a sweet treat on a summer’s day.

Meanwhile, an eight-year-old Kilkerran, produced at the neighbouring Glengyle distillery, goes in completely the opposite direction, packing a punch (and a spicy kick) thanks to some very active oak influence.

Back to Springbank, and the 13-year-old, heavily peated Longrow is a surprising hit with Paskin’s vegetarian palate, exhibiting robust meaty flavours akin to glazed pork belly and sticky ribs.

Finally, Paskin describes the Springbank 21-year-old bottled especially for the festival as a ‘real pudding whisky’, one for those with a sweet tooth.

Don’t forget to listen to the accompanying soundtrack on Spotify, by clicking the links in Right Place, Right Time.

Scoring Explained

Overview

  • Glen Scotia Campbeltown Malts Festival 2008 Ruby Port Finish Peated

    Glen Scotia Campbeltown Malts Festival 2008 Ruby Port Finish Peated
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    57.8%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Campbeltown
    Flavour camp
    Fruity & Spicy
    Nose

    Sweet confectioner’s sugar and candy – toffee apples, fudge and strawberry laces – plus a dash of well-diluted summer fruit squash (cordial). The smoke is only very subtle, but there’s a hint of maritime character and dusty malt bins.

    Palate

    A rounded sweetness and thick viscosity with a prominent maritime character of saline, metal and medicine. The sweetness takes the shape of toffee fudge and toasted oak, while a red winey note comes in after a few moments.

    Finish

    Raspberry and cranberry coulis, and tin with a gentle charred, salty smoke.

    Conclusion

    Six months’ maturation in ruby Port casks has given Glen Scotia a lovely fruitiness.

    Right place, right time

    Licking strawberry sauce-laced ice cream and sipping Cherry Wine on Campbeltown loch. 

    Glen Scotia 2000, 17 Years Old, Single Cask Festival Edition No 3

    Glen Scotia 2000, 17 Years Old, Single Cask Festival Edition No 3
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    55.7%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Campbeltown
    Flavour camp
    Fruity & Spicy
    Nose

    Thick, creamy and sweet, it’s so simple but rich in caramel sauce, lightly toasted bread, vanilla sponge and just an inkling of fresh apricots.

    Palate

    Dry, but with a fruity sweetness – peach skin, dried apricots and baking apples. Birthday cake with vanilla butter icing and Iced Gems. There’s some heat to it, a kind of chilli spice, which is lessened by water but enhances the vanilla sweetness.

    Finish

    Buttery pastry, dry with a salty smokiness.

    Conclusion

    Simple. A crowd-pleaser, particularly for whisky writer Charles MacLean, who helped choose the cask.

    Right place, right time

    In the words of Katy Perry: ‘I know you like it sweet, so you can have your cake.’

    Hazelburn 10 Years Old, Open Day 2018

    Hazelburn 10 Years Old, Open Day 2018
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    59.6%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Campbeltown
    Flavour camp
    Fruity & Spicy
    Nose

    Gentle and warming – a summer’s day dessert. All-butter flaky pasty, apple purée, tinned peaches and apricot stones. There’s a waxy bitterness – engine oil and wax paper – that prevents things from becoming overly sweet. 

    Palate

    It’s bitter to begin, dry charcoal and twigs, but very suddenly becomes fruity and vibrant – fizzy sweets (those red and blue worms), lemon sherbets, the outer sugary dusting of a lemon bon-bon. The sides of the tongue buzz. Now sherbet pips and candied lemon peel. The fruity bitterness, like clementine pith, remains throughout. Water releases more lemon oils.

    Finish

    Smelling an empty paper pick ‘n’ mix bag.

    Conclusion

    Ten years in a refill Marsala hogshead has given this Hazelburn a wonderful, vibrant fruitiness. Seek it out (if there’s any left).

    Right place, right time

    Fingers in a sweetie bag, legs dangling over the water at Campbeltown Harbour.

    Kilkerran 8 Years Old, Open Day 2018

    Kilkerran 8 Years Old, Open Day 2018
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    58.4%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Campbeltown
    Flavour camp
    Rich & Round
    Nose

    The deep toffee colour hints at a lot of wood interaction, even before you catch the aroma. Yes, there it is – charred oak, dark brown sugar and raisins, with a herbal cherry menthol note hovering above it all. There’s a warming oloroso Sherry character, displayed as blackberries and stone fruits encased in well-cooked shortcrust pastry.

    Palate

    Surprisingly soft and very rich, the charred oak influence is clear, yet it’s bursting with dark fruit and deep, smoky flavours – black cherry pie filling, charcoal and chilli spice. That herbal quality is still present, sage and lemon balm, while a coastal saltiness gives it edge.

    Finish

    Oak spice, smoke and a spicy kick from the youthful spirit.

    Conclusion

    Brutish, full of flavour, and very moreish.

    Right place, right time

    Those moments when you need to summon the Eye of the Tiger.

    Longrow 13 Years Old, Open Day 2018

    Longrow 13 Years Old, Open Day 2018
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    58.7%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Campbeltown
    Flavour camp
    Smoky & Peaty
    Nose

    Prickly smoke at first, frying bacon, plummy, blackcurrant jam, glazed pork belly. The whisky wants to reveal itself more, but the alcohol prickle closes the nose too much. Water helps, revealing more of those stone and bramble fruits.

    Palate

    Upfront smoke; now we’re properly into glazed barbecued meats territory – sticky ribs and hoisin duck. There’s an abundance of rich, deep, dark fruits – plums, prunes, figs, dark cherries, with herbal top notes of aniseed, sage and menthol. The smoke, almost tar-like, carries right through with a bitter dark chocolate note. Incredible depth and longevity for a 13-year-old. Water makes for a sweeter experience.

    Finish

    Turkish Delight, black treacle and cigar paper.

    Conclusion

    Rich and meaty (says the vegetarian), a delicious drop having been matured in refill Port casks, and a bargain at only £60.

    Right place, right time

    Spit-roasting meats over an open Fire.

    Springbank 21 Years Old, 1996, Open Day 2018

    Springbank 21 Years Old, 1996, Open Day 2018
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    46%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Campbeltown
    Flavour camp
    Smoky & Peaty
    Nose

    Immediate, sweet hit of treacle and apricots in honey. A more leathery note – a dusty leather workshop – appears, followed by a delicate smoke. It’s more Lapsang Souchong than peat, though. The fruit develops over time, all the while retaining a sticky sweetness, like orange-flavoured toffee.

    Palate

    Delicate and soft to begin, with notes of cheap milk chocolate, crème brûlée and toffee, but an oak prickle rises in the mid-palate, bringing with it vibrant fruits, all orange sherbet and sour dried apricots. There’s a bitter orange peel and almond note, which adds grip.

    Finish

    Bitter cask char, dying peat fire and black treacle.

    Conclusion

    The result of a Sherry hoggie and Madeira hoggie married together in a first-fill Madeira butt for 10 years, the fortified wine influence is clear. A real pudding whisky.

    Right place, right time

    Shopping at Thornton’s. One with an ice cream counter. Need to appeal to that Sweet Disposition.

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