Thanks to Brian @MaltMustings on Twitter (X) for sending me a sample of Glen Scotia Campbeltown Malts Festival 2024 Release.

Glen Scotia Campbeltown Malts Festival 2024

This year's release, retailing for £65, has been aged for 9 year's, with a finishing period in Fino Sherry Casks for at least 6 months and bottled at 56.2% ABV Cask Strength.
If you wish to find out more, the official release page can be found HERE 
and the WhiskyResource database listing here

Brian has already reviewed the whisky and it can be read here


Usually I would have purchased a bottle of the annual release from Glen Scotia by now, unfortunately I have had to scale back my whisky purchases, I am however, hoping to get a bottle soon.

I have also received a further #DramSwap sample from my friend John.

Having two samples, gave me the chance to try this year's release on separate occasions, recording my tasting notes and thoughts for each.

Before I continue, I have to make it known that I am a massive Glen Scotia Fan and have purchased each of the annual releases, the 2018 10 Year Old Ruby Port Release being my favourite followed so very closely as to be almost impossible to separate by the 2020 Tawny Port Release. But it would be fair to say that I haven't been disappointed by a release yet. My final word on the previous releases would be that I feel Glen Scotia ups its game when the release is peated. The peat and smoke adds an additional dimension to the flavour which elevates their whiskies to nectar of the gods status. This years release is unpeated.

Tasting #1

Nose:
Initially Salted Caramel followed by fresh poached apple and baking spices. The Campbeltown character wasn't too strong but it was there with a distant sea breeze and very faint maritime note. Towards the backend of the nose was milk chocolate and fudge.

Palate:
It started dry and salty, followed by a light coating of sherry and a gentle dunnage earthiness. The fruit and spice of the sherry influence were there but not quite as lively as I would expect.

This first tasting, for a Glen Scotia was disappointing, don't get me wrong, I enjoyed it, but it didn't put a smile on my face.

Score:
Value: 9.8
Nose: 8.0
Palate: 7.5
Overall: 8.4/10

Tasting #2

Nose:
It started with a strong briney vegetal note. Then came a sweet candy apple with hints of cinnamon and ginger. Chocolate coated cinder toffee reminiscent of a crunchy bar, although the cinder toffee was more of a charred toffee, which I found very pleasant. At the back end there was a herbal note which I likened to maybe camomile.

Palate:
It began with a strong maritime note with sea salt and seaweed, much more of the Campbeltown Funk was coming through. Followed by a caramel apple, toffee and a flash of weak espresso. The finish was oaky with milk chocolate lime candies.

Value: 9.8
Nose: 8.5
Palate: 8.25
Overall: 8.85/10

This 2nd tasting was much more enjoyable, the tasting experience much closer to what I would expect, the Fino Finish, in my opinion just coating the original ex-bourbon maturation(?) with some sherry, allowing what I suspect is the distillery character to shine more.

This is another fantastic Campbeltown Malts Festival release from Glen Scotia, so how does it compare or where would I place it against previous releases? This is quite a difficult question to answer, but I will try

1st 2018 Ruby Port (peated)
2nd 2020 Tawny Port (peated)
3rd 2022 Pedro Ximenez  (peated)
4th 2019 Rum Cask (peated)
5th 2023 White Port (lightly peated)
6th 2024 Fino Sherry (unpeated) 
7th 2021 Bordeaux Red Wine (unpeated)

However, I would say that this table is very flexible, I have on occasion swapped the positions.
This tasting experience has, at least for me, demonstrated that a whisky can taste very different depending on several factors;
Your mood, time of day, tiredness level, what you have eaten and how recently, your hydration level.
As well as other factors such as how long the bottle has been open for, how oxidised it is, how clean is the sample bottle and glass etc.

It's fair to say that each of these elements, to greater or lesser degree, impacts and that judgement of a whisky can and sometimes does take longer than expected. In this case my initial thoughts were cancelled out by my second tasting.
I do think I need a 3rd tasting...
For comparison I scored the Ruby and Tawny releases 91 points.