One of the many classic Campbeltown distilleries, having been founded in 1832, Glen Scotia is today one of only three remaining. It holds the distinction of being the only Campbeltown distillery not affiliated in some sense with Springbank and J. & A. Mitchell…although its stillman, one of only two staff, previously worked there as head brewer, and other Springbank staff reportedly come to Glen Scotia regularly to share experience and expertise.
Having remained in family ownership until 1919, Glen Scotia was sold to West Highland Malt Distillers, which promptly went bankrupt as Prohibition began in the United States. A certain Duncan MacCallum took over the distillery, but on finding out he had acquired it in a dodgy business deal, he was bankrupted too and ended up drowning himself in Campbeltown Loch. His ghost is said to still haunt the distillery…which has been doing far better since its re-opening in 1933. It has changed hands and been closed down a couple of times, but never for long, and is currently owned by Loch Lomond Distillers. It runs far under capacity, producing only around 150,000 litres a year.
In the current buoyant whisky climate, Glen Scotia has launched several new ranges over the last few years, recently replacing their brightly-coloured opaque bottles with a more classic image. Its style is a medium-bodied Campbeltown variety, with vegetal organics, a little sea brine and faint smoke, with spicy and fruity elements in several expressions.