Glen Scotia has launched the first in a new five-part limited-edition annual series ‘The Icons of Campbeltown’, a celebration of the Campbeltown community and inspired by the Campbeltown market cross, a historic meeting point for celebration and storytelling. Each release will be based on icons which were carved into the face of the medieval cross once found in the centre of the town, which dates from the 14th century.
For the first release, The Mermaid, the team at Glen Scotia pieced together historical information which detailed local sightings of mermaids along the coast, before crafting a whisky whose flavour profile would pay homage to this maritime myth. It is based on the story of a sighting which was told by various community members and, in particular, local townsman John McIsaac. He tells of a two-hour encounter with a half-human, half-amphibious being that took place on a cold October night in 1811, and which remains one of the most recounted and least contested mermaid sightings on record.
Master Blender, Michael Henry, along with the Glen Scotia team, carefully crafted this new liquid with characteristics which reflect the marine setting of the distillery and this first icon.
The Mermaid is a 12 Year Old unpeated single malt (54.1% ABV, £90). Aged in ex-bourbon barrels, the liquid was then transferred into Palo Cortado finishing casks for a further eight months. The result is a whisky with a sweet and nutty character with subtle maritime nuances, and a signature Glen Scotia saltiness on the palate. This new limited edition has been released at cask strength and its natural colour without chill filtration.
Presented in a bespoke box, Glen Scotia has collaborated with internationally renowned illustrator and artist, Joel Holtzman, the master behind several fantastical characters created for the likes of LucasFilm, Marvel and Macmillian Publishing, to create a series of new pack designs for the Icons collection. The new on-pack experience reimagines the scene before John McIsaac and amn on-pack QR code links to an animation and story book of the tale of the mermaid in Campbeltown.
Iain McAlister, Distillery Manager and Master Distiller at Glen Scotia, said, “The Mermaid is a wonderful release that serves as a reminder of the sea and tropical climate that shape our award-winning whisky. Our local community has played a huge role in the survival and re-emergence of whisky-making in Campbeltown, and the market cross remains an important historic symbol of that enduring spirit. We’re all proud to be able to release a series of single malt whiskies that pays homage to those that have supported us on the journey. Equally our Glen Scotia community has grown beyond Scotland to fans all over the world, and I’m excited to see what they make of this adventurous unpeated limited edition, as well as to see what future releases bring.”
Senior Global Brand Manager, Nick Bradley, added, “Given the continuing global success of Glen Scotia, we wanted to take the opportunity to share more stories about what makes our home, and Scotland’s fifth whisky-making region, so special. Our new Icons of Campbeltown series is the ideal creative medium to do this. We were privileged to work with whisky icon, Charlie MacLean to uncover the stories of the market cross, digging into his library and own personal records, and then to see Joel Holzman bring this first carving to life with his own unique style of art.
“With a truly interesting story to tell, it was important to the distillery and blending teams that we crafted a whisky to match. Using ex-bourbon and Palo Cortado casks gives us a floral and delicate whisky with evident coastal notes. The use of the Palo Cortado finishing casks, a rare selection for Glen Scotia, nods to the rare but fascinating mermaid sightings. This is a brilliant example of where distilling and blending creativity meets storytelling.”
The Mermaid is now available from the Glen Scotia website and select specialist retailers in the UK, Europe, USA, SA, Middle East, Singapore, Australia, China, Japan, Taiwan, Korea and Global Travel Retail.