Glen Scotia is one of the smallest Scottish distilleries and one of the last remaining in the once-prolific Scotch whisky producing region of Campbeltown.
The Scotia distillery, as it was originally known for the first 100 years, was established in 1832 by James Stewart and John Galbraith. The distillery remained in the Galbraith family until 1919 when it was sold to West Highland Malt Distillers. When the company filed for bankruptcy in 1924, one of its directors Duncan McCallum took over the distillery. Sadly, McCallum faced financial ruin a few short years later and committed suicide in the Campbeltown Loch in 1930. According to whisky lore, McCallum has haunted the distillery premises ever since.
By 1929, only three of the 29 Campbeltown distilleries remained: Scotia, Springbank and Rieclachan. In 1930, production at Glen Scotia halted and the distillery fell silent until it was bought by the Bloch brothers in 1933. In 1984, Glen Scotia was mothballed again, leaving just one Campbeltown distillery in operation, until it reopened five years later under different ownership.
In 2014, the Loch Lomond Group bought the distillery and have since increased capacity and built a visitor centre. Campbeltown native Iain McAlister has been the Distillery Manager at Glen Scotia since 2008.
Many of Glen Scotia’s original whisky-making practices are still in operation today. The distillery’s mash tun, stillroom and dunnage warehouse look as they did in the 1830s. Glen Scotia no longer malts its own barley. The distillery only boasts a single pair of copper pot stills. The spirit and wash still are both onion-shaped with wide, short necks. Quite unusually, the lyne arms are almost horizontal. The resulting liquid is full-bodied, distinctive and rich.
The Glen Scotia distillery is incredibly flexible, enabling three types of malt (unpeated, medium-peated and heavily peated) to be processed. The Campbeltown distillery’s peated whisky is typically produced during a six-week period every year. Today, the average fermentation time at Glen Scotia is 128 hours, which is considerably longer than the industry standard, producing a more flavourful whisky.
Glen Scotia is an instantly recognisable, rich maritime Campbeltown malt whisky.