Bladnoch distillery is the southernmost distillery in all of Scotland. It resides in Wigtownshire which is in the Lowlands region. In 1817 Bladnoch was established by John and Thomas McClelland. The brothers license the distillery in 1825 and began official production. Initially Bladnoch utilized rich barley from the farm surrounding the distillery. Their water comes the River Bladnoch which rises at Loch Maberry in Kirkcowan. During the latter part of the 19th century the distillery was expanded and refurbished to handle additional demand for their spirit. Disaster struck in 1905 and distillation was ceased. The distillery eventually closed in 1938 – at this point ownership changed hands several times. The present day owners are Raymond Armstrong who bought the distillery from Diageo who sold it for use as a holiday home. However after petitions from the Raymond Amstrong and the local towns people, Diageo relented and allowed distillation to take place at Bladnoch. It’s hard to find Bladnoch in the States and most of the releases are from independent bottlers. K&L Wines brought over three distillery direct expressions last year – two expressions are still available for sale. Today’s Bladnoch is from the indie bottler Exclusive Malts and is 21 years old and 48.1% ABV. There are only 265 bottles available.
Nose: rich, light smoke, honeycomb, syrup, dried blueberries, dried mango
Mouth: blueberries, grapes, green strawberries, peppery, salty
Finish: peppery, berry sweetness, oak, dark chocolate
Verdict: The nose is semi-closed up so I’d advise adding a few drops of water to help coax out the scents. For this Bladnoch I detected some light smoke, rich honeycomb and sweet syrup. There’s also strong evidence of dried fruits, specifically blueberries and mangoes. I really liked the dried fruit smells – it adds a level of richness and body to the nose. The berry theme continues on the palate which is dominated by ripe blueberries. There’s also purple grapes and green strawberries. At 48.1% ABV this whisky is very smooth and easy to drink. There’s some nice salt and pepper on the palate that adds just a bit of zing. This is a very berrylicious whisky almost to the point of being one dimensional. The finish is spicy with some blueberries and traces of dark chocolate. There’s also a good amount of black pepper and spices from the oak. I’m glad I got to try this Bladnoch since they’re really not available regularly in the States.