The Society returned to the Independent Bottler of the Year Challenge 2016 winning a total of 20 awards, including Independent Bottler of the Year for Campbeltown. Let’s take a look at the special bottlings that impressed the judges this year.

Campbeltown

13-20 Years Old
93.66 Take two 58.4% – awarded Silver
Flavour profile: Spicy & sweet
Vanilla ice cream with lemon curd dusted with cinnamon on the nose. Smooth and creamy palate with heather honey, green apple peel and butterscotch. Brandy snaps and candied lemon peel to finish.

93.68 Clean as a whistle! 58.3% – awarded Bronze
Flavour profile: Spicy & sweet
Clean aromas of sugarcane and agave syrup gave way to sandalwood, vetiver and hints of violet. Gooseberries, fresh herbs and cucumber cup, then wild strawberries on the finish.

21 Years & Over
93.65 Hickory smoked BBQ sauce 61.2% – awarded Gold
Flavour profile: Oily & coastal
A warm mix of dark toffees, set honey and balsa wood on the nose. Creamy yet spicy on the palate with a woody finish. Coconut, tropical, toasted marshmallows, cream crackers, dusty, milky.

27.110 Horse harnesses and mescal ‘worms’ 52.6% – awarded Silver
Flavour profile: Spicy & sweet
Old books and cigar boxes in a study, horse harnesses, mescal ‘worms’, a greengrocers shop and various savoury notes. Rich with pleasant wood influence.

The Society won Campbeltown Independent Bottler of the Year 2016.

Highland

12 Years & Under
125.73 Cream horns 59.3% – awarded Silver
Flavour profile: Sweet, fruity & mellow
Perfectly ripe fruits; peaches, apricots, pears, melons and lychees but at the same time the intense creamy luscious aroma of banana custard, sweetened fresh whipped cream and a puff pastry cream horn filled with strawberry jam.

26.116 Liquorice Catherine wheels 54% – awarded Bronze
Flavour profile: Spicy & sweet
An explosion of cinnamon/liquorice spice and the sweet fruitiness of pineapples and lychees with a quinine like dry finish. Water brings a creamy custard sweetness of poached pear in a silky vanilla crème anglaise.

Islands

12 Years & Under
42.24 The bee’s knees… 59.5% – awarded Gold
Flavour profile: Lightly peated
Oily, spirity, pine, shell fish, salty, wet newspaper. Vanilla pods, Chinese lemon sauce and BBQ sauce. Dried, smoked fish, damp warehouses comes out after all the sweetness.

42.18 Purple relaxation 59.3% – awarded Silver
Flavour profile: Lightly peated
Delicate perfumed lavender smoke made us feel calm, relaxed and all the tension fell away as we imagined wandering through a field of purple flowers on our way home where a freshly brewed cup of Lapsang souchong tea was waiting for us.

13-20 Years Old
4.218 A little warmth 55.9% – awarded Bronze
Flavour profile: Spicy & sweet
Brown sugar, craft workshops, sandalwood and perfume samples in women’s magazines. Even more fruits arrived on the palate – strawberry, blackcurrant, kiwi, fig and plum – all held down to earth by deeper notes of fortified wine, dark chocolate, Strepsils and sugar-coated fennel seeds.

21 Years & Over
31.31 A couple of classic icons 55.8% – awarded Silver
Flavour profile: Spicy & sweet
Lemon sherbet comes first on the nose. A hot sandy beach and coconut oil. Sweet tropical cocktail on the palate. Very fierce and difficult to tame. The finish is sweet and spicy.

Islay

12 Years & Under
33.134 Peat roasted pig Hawaiian style 60.9% – awarded Silver
Flavour profile: Peated
Salty, sweet and smoky, juicy and succulent on the inside and the caramelized bark is chewy, crispy and crunchy. Now imagine all of this with peat – a mouth-watering proposition!

33.143 Thank you and goodnight! 59.9% – awarded Bronze
Flavour profile: Spicy & sweet
Big licks of maple bacon, sticky pulled pork over hickory smoke morphing into gooey treacle toffee, liquorice and violet. Crispy skinned fish with barbecue sauce and tropical fruit kebabs roasted over white hot coals.

Lowland

13-20 Years Old
5.49 Lady of the night 57.7% – awarded Gold
Flavour profile: Juicy, oak & vanilla
Good depth with bright notes of cedar wood, stewed fruit, raisins and sultanas on the nose. A little marshy. Tropical fruits, eg. pineapple, emerge on the palate. Could this be the lowlands answer to um bongo juice? The finish is short, but luscious, this is lovely whisky!

5.50 Golden delicious 53.2% – awarded Silver
Flavour profile: Juicy, oak & vanilla
Sweet aromas of chocolate chip cookie dough, caramel apple crumble pie and gingersnap biscuits all washed down with a glass of Goldschläger, a Swiss cinnamon liqueur.

21 Years & Over
50.71 Alfresco brunch 58.2% – awarded Silver
Flavour profile: Spicy & sweet
The taste was satisfyingly sweet, like dipping a wooden spoon into a jar of heather honey or a glass of delicious viscous mead. Just a drop of water and meaty aromas appeared.

50.85 Conversations with my son 60.4% – awarded Silver
Flavour profile: Sweet, fruity & mellow
It was vibrant and creamy – old fashioned lemonade, spices (anise, cloves) and an old-style thick pastry apple pie. It took water well with aromas turning to marzipan and honey on brown toast, nutmeg and salted caramel.

Speyside

13-20 Years Old
35.140 Cornucopia of incredible creativity 55.5% – awarded Silver
Flavour profile: Spicy & sweet
This whisky is straight out of the Arabian Nights – incense, dessert, sweetmeats, tangy orange, cinnamon, Mon Cheri chocolates and honey-soaked oak.

21 Years & Over
35.142 Sweet treats and forbidden pleasures 56.2% -awarded Bronze
Flavour profile: Spicy & sweet
Dark Madeira honey cake, Jamaican truffles, Moroccan spice markets, buttered toast, marmalade, treacle, rich caramel, spiced almonds, maple syrup, ginger biscuits.

Grain

21 Years & Over
G3.9 Mellow and alluring 46.8% – awarded Bronze
Flavour profile: Sweet, fruity & mellow
Hints of leather, tobacco and vanilla, with sweeter dimensions of Rich Tea, Garibaldis, toffee and banana loaf. Water brought mango, banana chips and bourbon-like wood spices.

Non-Scotch

12 Years & Under
128.6 Rumbling, reverberating, resonances 59.9% – awarded Silver
Flavour profile: Spicy & sweet
Deep sweetness of cinder toffee, dried dates, trifle, marshmallows and Black Forest cherry cake with chocolate shavings; it also had dessert wine and a furniture restorer’s workshop.