Sometimes the Scotch Gods smile upon you. After first encountering this whisky at a Merlin’s Rest tasting in 2014, it quickly sold out in the state and we didn’t think we’d ever encounter it again. Therefore, it was quite a pleasant surprise when we stumbled upon it while driving to Madison, Wisconsin to retrieve another hard-to-find dram, the Glen Breton Rare 10 year. When presented with such an opportunity, the last thing you do is not seize upon it. Glenmorangie’s Private Edition series are yearly releases, with the Companta spirit matured in 60% Burgundy wine casks from Clos de Tart and 40% Rasteau casks from the Côtes du Rhône region of France. As with others in this range, like the 2013 Elanta, the Companta has also won multiple whisky awards.
There is no question at this moment that Springbank is king of Campbeltown. Having a number of ranges, the main line of offerings is a little unusual in today’s whisky market in being comprised of only Scotches with age statements. This distillery, completely family owned, takes great pride in doing the entire whisky-making process themselves on site, from start to finish. The old ways are the good ways, they believe, and it’s hard to argue with their results. For the past several years, the distillery has also offered a Whisky School, which is probably even more amazing than it sounds. While the Hazelburn line is distilled three times and the Longrow twice, the Springbank is distilled two-and-a-half times, providing a product distinct from either.
The Scapa distillery is one of the most northern distilleries in Scotland, located in the Orkney islands. Is is also one of the smallest, with only three staff on site (the manager operates out of Speyside, and the distillery itself is part of the Chivas Brothers branch of Pernod Ricard). Sadly, the small staffing means the distillery is closed to the public. The distillery used to be larger and produce several different offerings; currently, all production goes into making this 16 year old that was launched in 2009. What kind of spirit is produced in a land where it is almost always ever-day or ever-night?