• Transform magazine
  • November 13, 2018

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Whisky experience evokes Victoriana, modern sophistication

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The Lowlands, Speyside, the Highlands, Islay and the Islands – and Campbeltown. The traditional regions of whisky making in Scotland have been largely dominated by the former four, at least for the past couple of decades. But, with the reopening of a third distillery in Campbeltown, the once-thriving whisky capital is officially declared a ‘region’ once more. One of its stalwart brands, Glen Scotia, has been leading the charge.

The 186 year-old brand has been one of only two distilleries in Campbeltown until just recently. It has since embarked on a world tour to build brand awareness for the whiskies and for the region.

Campbeltown, known as the ‘whisky city’ was once home to 21 distilleries had dwindled to only two operational sites: Glen Scotia and Springbank. The nail in the Campbeltown coffin was the American prohibition laws, cutting the region’s business as an exporter and its primary market significantly. But, when the Loch Lomond Group acquired the Loch Lomond distillery in 2014, it began a charge to reinvigorate Campbeltown’s whisky.

To help drive awareness for Campbeltown, Glen Scotia took to the road on a ‘Grand Tour,’ stopping first in London’s Borough Market from 15-17 March. The intimate tastings and celebration immersed participants in the Campbeltown environment through an interactive pop-up event. With cocktails at the ready and food sourced from the Campbeltown area, the Victorian character of the brand was brought to life through a hip, modern approach. Recreating Campbeltown for whisky aficionados across the UK has helped develop a sense of engagement with and recognition of a place that is a four hour drive from Glasgow.

Iain McAlister, distillery manager at Glen Scotia, says, “We are the first to admit that Campbeltown isn’t the easiest to get to, but when whisky fans visit Glen Scotia they are deeply impressed by our whiskies and the unique character of the region. The Glen Scotia Grand Tour gives whisky lovers a chance to share that sense of discovery and experience the lure of Campbeltown for themselves.”

McAlister himself led the tasting of three Glen Scotia whiskies and one cask strength dram fresh from Campbeltown. The tasting took place in a pop-up dunnage warehouse full of whisky barrels and atmospheric visuals.

The tour continues in the US, where the Glen Scotia team will spend the spring. The tour will be succeeded by the Campbeltown Festival on 22-24 May, hosted by Glen Scotia, which will celebrate the region’s three whiskies.

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