Glen Scotia 16 y.o. Review

Glen Scotia 16 y.o.020

46% abv

Score:  75.5/100


Is the Glen Scotia distillery producing gin in between whisky runs?  Seriously.  I ask this not to be facetious, but because I am truly at a loss with this whisky.  I have never encountered a profile as obtuse and irreconcilable as this 16 year old single malt from Campbeltown.

Before saying any more, let’s get it out front:  this whisky noses and tastes like it was distilled right after a batch of gin, with no cleansing of the spirit still in between runs.  All of those bold juniper notes so prevalent in gin are weighing this one down like a fat kid on a seesaw.  There is no counterbalance here.  It’s sharp…it’s certainly unique…and it’s absolutely not my cup of tea.  (Or whisky)

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not saying this is bad.  I’m simply saying it is bad for me.  Splitting hairs maybe, but you never know what others will like.  This is just not all that ‘malt whisky’-ish to me.  More like some kinda funky hybrid.  Perhaps I’m being a little obtuse myself now, but this one veers a little too far from what I know and imagine Scotch to be.

Anyway…some credit where credit is due.  This release is part of the revamped Glen Scotia range, weighing in at a healthier 46% abv and bearing a bold ‘non-chill-filtered’ tag front and center on the packaging.  Right direction, guys.  We thank you for it. 

And finally…speaking of packaging…wow…a mention for some of the most gawdawful packaging I’ve ever see.  This nasty opaque high-gloss tin and bottle, featuring the glowering mug of a shaggy-ass long haired Highland Cow, should be cause to reevaluate the output of your marketing department.  I can’t stress enough how tacky this looks on a shelf next to the rather elegant and austere packaging of most single malt whiskies.  Good thing I’m not one of those that feel packaging plays any part in the actual scoring of a malt. 

Anyway…the bottles in this range, stretching from 10-21 years, each feature this same image, but with a different color scheme for each expression, supposedly showing the beast under variations of the Northern Lights.  Ok, then.  Clever…I guess.

Nose:  Heavy, heavy botanical notes, primarily juniper (but citrus, anise and maybe cardamom too).  Very gin-like.  Vanilla oakiness.  Some fresh pepper tingle.  Lemon zest.  Freshly squeezed orange juice.  Dusty grain.  Cheap chocolate.  Salty greens.

Palate:  Lemon and barley.  Again…very gin-like.  Threads of chocolate.  There’s something slightly bitter and over-toasted here too.  Fades on oak, grain and a dry banana pith note.

I’d like to say that it’s better than the notes above make it out to be, but…it’s not.


– Reviewed by:  Curt

– Photo:  Curt

4 thoughts on “Glen Scotia 16 y.o. Review

  1. Peter Benkoczki

    I’ve just tried the new 12 yo, and i too found it very strange. But i was delighted with it, it had that typical Campbeltow-aroma. Ok, Springbank is sure to be better, but i expected worse from this cow.

    1. ATW Post author

      Good to know, and though I’m curious…can’t say I’d rush out to spend more money on this range without first trying.

  2. Peter Benkoczki

    Just sipping the 18 yo, and i now understand your gin problem. I detect strong notes of palinka (hungarian spirit). I found this palinka flavour in most Longrows as wall, but those were pleasant. I find it quite strange here. There is something weird in these Scotias.


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