Glen Scotia 21 Year Old (2023)

Glen Scotia 21 Year Old (2023)

In January 2023 Glen Scotia distillery unveiled a new 21 Year Old. About ten years ago they already launched an expression with this age. In fact, back then it was the oldest expression ever.

A few years later it was discontinued. Remember the distillery went through rough times and was mothballed between 1994 and 1999, resulting in a shortage of certain ages. After pausing the 21 they introduced a 25 Year Old at the pinnacle of their core range, but it’s good to see the return of the 21 Year Old.

It is a combination of refill bourbon barrels and refill American oak hogsheads, finished in first-fill Oloroso sherry casks for six months. If I’m not mistaken it builds upon the recipe of the 18 Year Old.


Glen Scotia 21 yo (46%, OB 2023, 2500 btl.)

Nose: nice entry. There’s a cake-y sweetness at the base, with stewed peaches, apples and a hint of roasted pineapple. Then the coastal side grows stronger, with salty sea air, a light chalky note and hints of menthol. It also develops a fragrant side, something floral with big hints of star anise and whiffs of leather. Interesting.

Mouth: a rather less classic profile now. It starts on spices (clove, white pepper) with a firm mustardy note and the bitterness of marmalade and citrus peels. In the background I’m getting a creamy vanilla sweetness from the bourbon barrels, as well as some golden raisins and toffee from the sherry finish. Some caraway and juniper berry with a light salty touch.

Finish: medium long, with newish oak coming forward, as well as a faint smoky touch. Still a bitter zesty edge and a funny fragrant touch.

It’s nice to see this 21 Year Old stand out from the crowd. The fragrant wood seems to take the upper hand at times, but the coastal notes, spices and subtle bitterness also add character. In short: some flashes of genius but also rough edges. Available from the distillery website (only UK shipping) or retailers like The Whisky Exchange and Master of Malt.