Glen Scotia distillery is located in Campbeltown on the Kintyre peninsula of Scotland. It is one of three distilleries to operate in a town that once housed more than 30. Originally founded in 1832, the distillery is owned by the Loch Lomond Group.
Glen Scotia produces a medium-bodied spirit with a slightly coastal character. Some bottlings have a trace of peat smoke. The whisky has a lingering finish with a bit of smokiness and ginger spice.
Glen Scotia is capable of producing 800,000 litres of spirit in a single year.
Scottish barley is malted by Greencore Maltings to the distillery’s specifications. For most of the year, the distillery uses unpeated malt but there is a peat season of four to five weeks. During this time, malt is peated at 19 to 25 phenol parts per million.
Glen Scotia runs a lengthy fermentation of at least 70 hours in order to encourage fruity notes in the wash.
The distillery is equipped with a single pair of copper pot stills. Each still feeds into a shell and tube condenser positioned on the exterior of the building.
Most of the Glen Scotia spirit is aged in ex-bourbon barrels from the US. However, sherry butts and hogsheads are sometimes used to provide additional layers of flavours.
The courtyard is home to a pair of bee-hives that produce honey for sale in the distillery shop.
Glen Scotia was one of only two distilleries to survive the collapse of Campbeltown’s vast whisky industry. The town had been home to multiple distilleries but the 20th century brought it all crashing down.
The early 1900s saw a drop in Scotch whisky sales. With distillers already struggling, the First World War, followed by US prohibition, left several teetering on the brink. When the local colliery closed in 1923, Campbeltown's distillers were left without affordable, local fuel. All over the town, distilleries began to close. By the mid-1930s, only Springbank and Glen Scotia remained.
Glen Scotia was established in 1832 and the business ran smoothly prior to the crash. Though it survived as a going concern, there was personal loss along the way. In 1924, Scotia owner Duncan MacCallum was declared bankrupt. Distraught, he drowned himself in the loch that provided the distillery's water. Some believe his spirit still haunts the distillery today.
Following MacCallum’s death, Glen Scotia was rescued from closure by Bloch Brothers Ltd. They in turn sold it to Hiram Walker in 1954. A year later, the distillery was sold again, this time to A. Gillies & Company.
In 1994, Glen Scotia was purchased by A. Bulloch & Co, owner of Loch Lomond distillery in Alexandria. In 2014, the company was bought out by a management takeover. It now operates as the Loch Lomond Group.
There has been significant investment in recent years. The distillery itself has been upgraded and expanded. New washbacks were installed, and a new roof fitted. There is also a new visitor centre where guests can purchase bottles or take part in an exclusive whisky tasting.
In 2015, a new core range of single malt bottlings was released. This included the Double Cask, 15, 18 and 25-year-old expressions alongside the Victoriana cask strength release. There is also an annual limited edition release to coincide with the Campbeltown Malts Festival.
The investment of the new owners has resulted in an improvement in Glen Scotia's reputation. In 2021, their 25-year-old expression was crowned best whisky in the world at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition.