Bladnoch Distillery Bottlings Tasting Notes

Posted: August 17, 2011 in Bladnoch

Bladnoch New Make 71.4%

Tasted May 2008

Slightly oily on the nose with that obvious new make cereal character. It’s incredibly clean with a slight discernable fruitiness and only a touch of the marc-like rose petal notes that I was looking for. Given some time a touch of perfume and an earthy note becomes apparent. Initially it is quiet sweet, again with the cereal/ biscuity flavours evident.

Like the nose it is exceptionally clean and there is a touch of rose petals, and obviously a lot of alcohol. A drop of water now makes the marc-like rose petals a lot more noticeable. It also emphasises its sweetness and perfumed note. On the palate it makes it a touch more citrus in character with some coffee and yet again more of the marc=like character. Actually it is very drinkable, rounded and with a lovely sweetness. Very long with cereal and straw after taste.

Bladnoch Dew ‘Peated New Make Spirit’ 72.2%

Tasted: Nov 2009

Definitely new make on the nose – Full of toasted barley and cereal. Quite oily, with plenty of high toned botanicals and hints of manure and decaying rose petals. The peat aromas are quite subtle. The palate is lightly oily and full of similar to the nose, very cereally with sweet digestive biscuit, clean rose petals and manure. The peat has a lovely loamy moistness to it, reminiscent of potting or gardeners peat. The intense alcohol bites and shortens.

Water adds a lovely sweetness to the barley and cereal aromas, whilst it lightens the palate and possibly sweetens a bit. The peat is much more herbal in character now with heather notes. Some light honey and grass notes can also be discerned.

Bladnoch No Age ‘Distiller’s Choice’ 46%

Btl: 2010/ Tasted: May 2010

A perfumed and floral nose with a slight hint of rose petal marc. Very fresh with a lovely mature, honeyed core and supporting oak vanillins. Over time a more candied note appears. A lovely vatting of different aged spirits.

Soft and quite fruity on the palate, opening  with the youth marc component followed by some honey and an almost ‘grainy’ bite from the alcohol. Lovely length with a grassy/ herbaceous botanical finish. A lovely, crisp aperitif whisky. It seems to me that the older spirits in this vatting have given it a lovely body, and it’s a really good introduction to the distillery at a rather reasonable price!

Bladnoch No Age ‘Distillers Choice’ 46%

Btl: 2011/ Tasted: May 2011

Initially the aromas are crisp and freshly citrusy then the aged component begins to assert itself with some mature, deep honey followed by hints of wool fat, barley, malt and creamy/ toffee’d oak. The youthful element floats above this mature core and with time becomes more perfumed.

The palate however opens with the mature honey band straw  with no shortage of barley and a liberal dollop of creamy oak. The mid palate displays more of the youthful grassiness. Lovely length with the malt returning along with some slightly sugared fruit, liquorice and a touch of coffee. A text book vatting.

Bladnoch Distillers Choice Lightly Peated 46%

Tasted: May 2012

A lovely, youthful nose of slightly honeyed cereal and sweet barley along with a touch of tropical apricot and white flowers. The peat is relatively astringent in character but subtle and there is a touch of mature-ish oak coming through.

The palate opens with liberally oiled, sweet barley and gentle oak. Just like the nose there is a touch of white flowers and again the peat is relatively gentle in character. Youthful and cerealy on the middle, but its balanced well. Good length with a touch of bitter oak combining with a mineral note to give the finish a refreshing crispness. Lovely slightly salted, dusty peat after-taste. A very pleasant vatting.

Bladnoch No Age Statement Samsara 46.7%

Bourbon/ First Fill Californian red wine/ Spirit minimum 8 years old

Tasted: Mar 2017

Youthful aromas of rose petaly spirit notes float above some mature straw-like notes. Pleasantly barley’d with hints of Turkish delight, vanilla, earth and coffee’d spices.

The palate opens with the Turkish delight notes, followed by pithy strawberry and hints of straw, malt and barley. Robust and full with a touch of spice on the middle. Long and elegant, continuing spicy with mouth-watering citrus and a touch of honey and pepper on the finish. Lovely balance of youth and maturity.

Bladnoch ‘Lightly Peated’, currently 5 years old

Advance Sample/ Tasted Jan 2006

Quite obviously it has that ‘off the still’ note, but is beginning to mature. The light, medicinal peat aromas greet the nose first and underneath lurks the citrus bladnoch character.

On the palate is again displays its youth and has not quite melded together. The peat is delicate and trying to merge with the oily fruit and malt. it has a lovely sweetness and there is not much in the way of oak influence at present. As an experiment I tasted it against the 4 year old bottling of Inchmoan, the peated malt from the Loch Lowmond distillery, and on the nose the Inchmoan is as hard as nails with more coal smoke and positively revels in its rawness, where as the Bladnoch is soft and subtle and more beguiling with a lot more of a fruity character. In the mouth the Inchmoan is more tart and full of coal dust and again hard as nails, raw, edgy, forceful and complete, it was certainly able to be bottled at four years of age whereas the Bladnoch is going to need a bit more time, and although it is a bit of fun to occasionally drink and be assaulted by the Inchmoan I would choose the Bladnoch, even in its current state.

Bladnoch 6 year old 57.3%

Bourbon/ Tasted May 2008

This is extremely pale in colour. It must have been matured in a well used Bourbon cask as there is pretty much no wood influence whatsoever hence the nose opens with a lot of acetone and high notes. There is some grass and citrus but it is very young and spirity and consequently the marc-like rose petal character swamps any discernable lowland character.

The palate is pretty much like the nose raw, alcoholic and marc-like with a bit of sweetness coming through on the finish. A drop of water makes the nose very greasy – wool fat and lanolin, extremely heavy on the congeners. On the palate it is much the same with a dunnagey, slightly botanical note on the finish.

Bladnoch 6 year old ‘Lightly Peated’ 58.5%

Tasted May 2008

This is darker in colour than the Bourbon matured, which would indicate that there is more wood influence here. It seems richer but still has some of that marc-like rose petal aromas amongst the light earthy-peat and smoke. Obviously the greater wood influence makes it appear more together, as there definitely a more noticeable vanilla character. It also seems a bit more oiler/ fatter.

The palate is quiet oily and fat and very intense and dominated by its alcohol. The light peat and smoke are all present but the palate is a lot more evolved than the nose would suggest and there is definitely less of the marc-like notes. In fact there’s a lovely buttery/ vanillery note. I definitely think it benefits from a drop of water, which brings out the sweetness, vanilla and gristy barley character, lengthening and leaving a lovely coal dust finish.

Bladnoch 6 year old ‘Sherry Matured’ 56.9%

Tasted May 2008

Very much darker and I would imagine that this was matured in a first fill butt. It’s rich and crisp on the nose, exceptionally clean and creamy with sherry and coffee aromas. The marc-like rose petal notes stand up well to the cask and it has a lovely fresh, edgy feel to it along with a touch of menthol.

The palate is superb, full of moist, rich fruit cake flavours, chocolate and raisins. The marc-like notes develop on the middle along with a straw and dunnage note also, The sherry returns with a chocolate drop vengeance adding roasted coffee bean notes and a slight violet note in the finish.

A drop of water makes the nose a lot creamier the coffee and chocolate drops are set against a fabulous citrus background. It also brings out an orange blossom note as well. On the palate it pushes the sherry influence to the background allowing the marc-like rose petal notes to show fully. There are also some lovely dry, earthy, organic spices to compliment the wood tannins. It’ll be intriguing to see how these casks evolve over time.

Bladnoch 7 year old ‘Lightly Peated’ 56.4%

Cask 331/ Tasted: June 2009

The nose has deepened up really well. Initially it resembles Raymond’s Invergordon with, lovely creamy vanilla oak and light grassy notes. The youthful rose petal character is fading with age but there’s still a hint of it amongst the light honeyed fruit and the high-toned peat notes. This is developing very well!

The palate is quiet oily like the 6 year old was but the deep rich fruit character is evolving wonderfully so that the creamy oak is not too dominant. There’s still a touch of youthful cereal, spice and peat, however the intense alcohol masks the finish.

A drop of water really thickens up the nose. It seems weightier and emphasises the purity of the vanilla oils. Over time the peat reek increases with a suggestion of bog myrtle. It seems a lot more rounded than the 6 year old and the rose petal marc like note has practically disappeared. The palate likewise fees weightier, with a delightful depth of apricot and fleshy yellow fruit along with light, dry spice and a touch of gristy cereal. The alcohol still bites on the middle but its controlled now and the fruit is really beginning to shine. The peat has taken on a magnificent crumbly, light herbal/ grassy quality and although only light it has a purity and intensity. It finishes quiet dry with a suggestion of salt and an almost floral note.

If this spirit keeps evolving like this by the time it reaches 10 it is going to be stunning. It goes to show that you don’t need vast quantities of peat to make an interesting young peated malt, but what you do need is a depth of fruit and oak. Hat’s off to Raymond as he’s definitely onto a winner with this one!

Bladnoch 8 year old 46%

Tasted: May 2010

A quiet heavily oiled nose with a density of honeyed floral fruit with only a soupcon of marc like notes.

Soft on the palate with a more marked marc-like youthfulness. Delicately oily with soft, slightly honeyed apricot.  Wow! What a finish! A short but intense burst of peppery-cinnamon comes latterly out of nowhere, before fading back as the youthful cereal and botanicals return. The oak sits subserviently in the background adding an unobtrusive structure. Lovely after taste of hedgerow fruits.

Bladnoch 8 year old 55%

Tasted: Sept 2009

A real nose full of briny, floral honey, light earth and peat, bog myrtle and rose petals. It’s quite rounded and deep with an impression of beeswax encrusted fruit along with a background of oak.

The palate opens with crisp barley, light honey and a smidge of gentle earthy-peat along with a touch of salinity. Very fresh and mouth watering alcohol leaves white peach and herbal nuances on the middle, finally the oak arrives with a hint of butterscotch on the finish.

A drop of water emphasises the oils on the nose. There is a faint intimation of lanolin, but the fruit still seems reluctant to emerge from its honeyed depth. Later a touch of orange blossom and grass emerges and after what seems like an age it finally reveals some lovely juicy orange fruit. On the palate it has become a tad sweeter and the oak has become more prominent, (which was what was lacking from the first bottling at 6 years of age) adding some natural caramel and toasted butter. The oak dries out the finish a bit but the spirit is robust enough to cope – just!

Bladnoch 8 year old 55%

Tasted: May 2010

An extremely floral nose – lilies and pungent white flowers. Gorgeously herbal with light straw/ light eucalyptus infused honey. Really very pungent as hints of rose petal marc and manure is added to the mix. Bold and assertive, again the oak supports but adds more noticeable vanillins.

The palate is less oily than the 46% bottling and a lot grassier, almost like pre-Raymond era spirit. The piquant alcohol is mitigated by the bucket loads of honey coated apricot fruit. Excellent length. Develops a late tangerine/ Satsuma note as the marc and botanical notes returning on the finish. A really invigorating dram.

With water the aromas are even grassier, but with a nod towards the dried rushes/ reedy character of old Bladnoch. Poised and balanced, still very honeyed. That ‘reedy’ character is more noticeable on the palate, and the water has made this wonderfully mouth filling and robust. Even the youthful marc notes have faded into the background. Give this another couple of years and this will be the perfect age for the ‘new style’ Bladnoch.

Bladnoch 8 year old ‘Lightly Peated’ 58.2%

Tasted: May 2010

Very fishy and phenolic. This must be the heaviest ‘lightly peated’ Bladnoch ever! Beneath the rampaging peat lies some lovely marzipan oak, robust ‘new style’ spirit and honey, but it’s the phenolics that dominate the proceeding. The peat is quiet maritime in character but also has a lovely, soft smokiness. I would hazard a guess that this must have been peated to around 20ppm, so maybe it should have been called ‘Moderately Peated.’

Soft and juicy on the palate, opening with honeyed apricot fruit before the peat comes wading in. The salty-fishiness combined with the alcohol sends the palate into mouth watering over drive! Very Caol Ila-esque in its botanical freshness, but the robust ‘new style’ spirit fights its way back at the end.

With water there is less peat now which allows some gorgeously succulent tangerine fruit to shine and quite a bit of spice too! On the palate it has become more herbal and a touch candied. Again less peaty but still retaining its oily-smokiness. Full, yet gentle, now showing some mature wood notes – liquorice and coffee, whilst the briny phenolics only appear in the finish.

Bladnoch 8 year old ‘Lightly Peated’ 56%

Tasted: Feb 2011

The nose is more subtly peated than the last bottling. It displays a greater earthy character with a slight mentholated note. Quite robust with some burnt wood notes. Actually given some time the peat aromas really build in intensity. Very complex with hints of light coffee and toasty vanilla but some citrus fruit is beginning to shine through. With more time a delicious honeyed fruit note appears and the spirit seems to be showing a maturity beyond its years.

The palate is more like its real age with hints of rose petal marc, crisp barley, grass and citrus. The peat is more subservient than on the nose – almost ethereal. Piquant alcohol cleanses the palate and leaves behind some coastal glazed fruit and the crisp, almost mentholated citrus. Good length with the light peat lingering on the edge of the tongue.

Water pushed the earthy peat back on the nose allowing more of the oily spirit to show. The density had increased and it’s less overtly fruity but a lovely floral note has appeared. The palate, like the nose has become more oily and dense. Again the peat is delicate, but very pure and the finish has a really delightful peppery/ spiciness along with a sweetly floral after taste.

Bladnoch 8 year old ‘Sherry’ 55%

Tasted: May 2010

Oh dear, it’s a bit stinky and sulphurous. Although that passes fairly quickly it’s a little bit sickly sweet with lots of green coffee and herbal notes. The spirit seems very young as lots of marc like notes abound and it feels somewhat disjointed.

The palate pretty much follows the nose. Candied and dare I say it a bit plasticy and murky. The intense alcohol combined with the sherry tannins really dries it out. And I’m afraid to say that adding a drop of water only accentuates the sulphur.

Bladnoch 9 year old ‘Lightly Peated’ 55.5%

Bourbon cask 325/ Tasted: May 2011

The nose came as a complete shock – burnt toffee, burnt coffee, tarmac and cinders. My god what did they toast this cask with? A flamethrower??? There is not an awful lot of peat aromas and to be honest it feels a bit disjointed. With time some floral-marc notes try to put in an appearance. The palate is exactly the same as the nose, burnt, over-toasted and alcoholic.

Unfortunately water just emphasises the burnt notes and it’s really heavy going. There’s some late gentle peat but overall the cask has done the spirit a disservice!

Bladnoch 2002 (9 year old – Special Label) 55.7%

Bourbon/ Dist: 2002 Btl: 2012/ Tasted: Nov 2012

An intense and gently smoky nose with hints of straw-like white fruit and barley. The richness of the aromas builds pleasantly aided by a sprinkling of granulated sugar. Some lovely fresh citrus notes cut through and with time the nose becomes quite aromatic.

The palate opens with some slightly sweet barley followed by the straw-like apricot. Again wonderfully sugar coated with the oak vanillins filling out. Very piquant middle, which allows the crisp, mineral, citrus and grass notes to come through on the finish. A classic Lowland!

A drop of water brings out some light oils on the nose, which do counteract the lively citrus. More malty and woody now with hints of mocca, although in saying that it has possibly become a tad more floral. The palate displays more of a sugary softness as the alcohol is tamed and it allows some wonderfully mouth-fillingly fleshy. Again the citrus has taken a bit of a back seat to the wood spices but it’s just about discernable on the finish.

Diageo Flora & Fauna Bladnoch 10 year old 43%

Tasted: Mar 2006

A pleasant, clean nose of custard creams and earthy fruit with no shortage of cereal and lemon sherbert notes. Lovely depth with hints of citrus and summer meadow fruit. Dry on the palate, initially quite cerealy followed by tangy citrus fruit, apricot, apple blossom, hay, earth and a touch of honey. Lovely length with a slightly grassy and slightly spicy finish.

Bladnoch Lightly Peated 2001 (10 year old) 53.5%

Bourbon/ Dist Dec 2001 Btl: April 2012/ Tasted: May 2012

A very briny, phenolic, medicinal, iodine, bog myrtle-peat nose. Hmmm, has Bladnoch relocated toIslay? However the nose is definitely not one dimensional, there are hints of crisp, white fruit, honeyed barley and slightly sawdusty oak. There is definitely some maturity noticeable under all the peat! Very intense and very impressive.

The palate seems more youthful, opening with some oily cereal before the medicinal peat arrives. Like the nose there is a balancing barley sweetness along with hints of honey and white flowers. The alcohol arrives promptly to curtail any further development and the youthful feel is enhanced by a touch of cerealy marc. However the finish, although relatively masked does show some lovely rubbery, oily tar notes as the peat turns drier and dustier. Seriously enjoyable!

A drop of water does subdue both the nose and the palate, emphasising the natural oils, but it does curtail the rampant peat, so for the full effect it’s best to take this neat.

Bladnoch 10 year old 55%

Sherry Butt No 88/ Dist: May 2001 Btl: Nov 2011/ Tasted: Jan 2012

Initially the nose is a touch high toned and very citrusy. Seriously fruity with apricot and banana notes apparent. The sherry cask aromas are very subtle adding earthy, nutty notes along with a huge degree of vanillins/ marzipan (American sherry cask?). It’s a very perplexing nose. I have never come across so much overt ‘oakiness’ from a sherry cask before. Wonderfully fragrant however with a delightful softness and sweetness.

The palate is full with a more expected sherry character – nutty, dried fruit. Although the cask is relatively subtle it still prvides the majority of the flavours – pure sun-dried raisins, nutmeg, gingery spices and a touch of almond. This has an amazing complexity and is showing maturity beyond its years as it moves into an Armagnac-esque direction. Lovely length with the spirit adding a touch of citrus at the finish.

With water the sherry character becomes a shade more leafy and a touch sweeter with hints of demeara sugar. A simply stunning sherry cask.

Bladnoch 10 year old 55%

Btl: 2013/ Tasted: June 2013

A hard, almost Highland-eque granity barley nose with hints of honey, summer meadows and grass. With time it has become very grassy, almost old skool Bladnoch! Beautifully fresh and citrusy with apricot and a light straw note developing.

The palate opens with the soft, lightly oiled barley followed by apricot and white fruit. The freshness is ramped up towards the middle with a bracing citrus and grassy character now evident. The alcohol does mask the finish though.

With water the nose is a little muted to begin with displaying more of the straw notes, however once it settles down the fruit has become wonderfully juicy and a touch of creamy oak and spice appears. The palate is a little simpler, but it is a pleasant mouth full of soft fruit and gentle spice. Lovely depth with hints of Turkish delight and grass. Long, barley sweet finish.

Bladnoch 2001 (10 year old) Lightly Peated Sherry Matured 55%

Sherry Butt 284/ Dist: Nov 2001 Btl: July 2012/ Tasted: Nov 2012

The nose has a light, tarry peat pungency with the sherry sitting in the background adding subtle juicy notes. I’m guessing this was a refill sherry butt as the spirit comes through with a fresh citrus and lightly herbal rose petal marc note. With time that rose petal character becomes quite prominent and makes it feel a lot younger. However that’s not to say it’s not enjoyable!

The palate is quite subtle opening with some sugared apricot and very, very subtle peat. Quite earthy with the sherry again sitting in the background. The alcohol builds but the sugars keep it in check. Again that youthful rose petal character is noticeable, especially on the finish along with some drying tannins and wood spice.

As lovely as it is neat I would caution against adding any water to it.

Bladnoch 2001 (11 year old) Sherry ‘2012 Xmas Edition’ 55%

Sherry Cask 91/ Dist: May 2001 Btl: Aug 2012/ Tasted: Nov 2012

Pungent aromas of citrusy sherry with a lovely balancing demerara sugar sweetness. There are plenty of treacle coated dried fruit notes and a touch of marzipan. With time it becomes exceedingly buttery and almost Bourbon like (I’m guessing an American oak sherry cask?). Lightly spiced with some late toffee notes.

The palate is sweet and earthy with a minor sulphur blemish, which I didn’t detect on the nose. The wood spice and dried fruit sort of covers that blemish and just like the nose the oak becomes very buttery and creamy – It’s all very much like marzipan coated Christmas cake! Hugely spicy and piquant middle with a dry, bitter chocolate and almond finish.

Water = Ooops. Now I can smell that sulphur blemish. The palate has become slightly watery and again the blemish has been laid bare. A real shame.

Bladnoch 2001 (11 year old) Lightly Peated Sherry Matured 55%

Sherry Butt 283/ Dist: Nov 2001 Btl: Apr 2013/ Tasted: June 2013

A bigger, more intensely sherried nose than last years 10 year old. The chunky, leafy Oloroso is shot through with a pure, bitter, roasted coffee note. Seriously moist though with moist, raisin, sultana and prune fruit. It takes a while for the light, dusty peat to emerge, but it arrives with a fragrant pungency as do some hints of youthful rose petal marc.

The palate opens with the dry, dusty Oloroso, but the peat is definitely more prominent. Lovely complexity with herbs and a touch of coffee bean mingling with the sherrywood tannins. Good length with the rose petal marc and dusty wood spices coming through on the finish.

A drop of water lessens the sherry impact on the nose and brings forward the rose petal marc. The peat has diminished as well, but some beautiful crystallised orange has emerged and the coffee has taken on a lovely roasted Java quality. The palate is still soft and moist. Again there is less peat but what remains has an earthy edginess. Still quite dry but some fruitcake and treacle balances. Good length, again with the rose petal marc notes lingering.

Bladnoch 13 year old 46%

Tasted: Dec 2004

A delightfully crisp, youthful nose with the creamy Bourbon oak dominating. This is followed by a delicate touch of soft, citrus orange and tangerine. Light bodied with a lovely balance of soft citrus fruit, earth and granite. The middle opens up to display a very intense spicy character. Great length and finish,

Bladnoch 13 year old 55%

Tasted: Dec 2004

Less Bourbon oak on the nose. It has a greater elegance with a more typical grassy, straw, hay and earthy citrus nose. Very youthful and intense. The palate is softer with more white fruit and noticeable alcohol. It is more earthy than spicy with orange fruit notes. The addition of water softens it too much and it tends to loose its character, therefore I would recommend you drink it neat.

Bladnoch 14 year old 40%

Tasted: June 2007

Clean, quite spirity and seems rather young and a bit high toned. Plenty of crisp grassy vanilla aromas and a touch of citrus. Clean on the palate, fruity with straw, flax, grass, vanilla and orange fruit. Medium length, a touch short with a bit of a spirity finish. It shows more maturity on the palate but doesn’t have much of a finish.

Bladnoch 15 year old 46%

Tasted: Dec 2007

Quite oily on the nose, distinctly herbaceous with orange and tangerine notes. Not as heavy and rich as the 55% bottling, with more of a highland-esque granity hardness. Yet it retains a classic Lowland nose, with subtle earthy notes. Juicy and herbal on the palate, with grass, yellow soft fruit, citrus along with a minty freshness. Good length with hints of malt, barley and subtle ginger. Very much an aperitif malt.

Bladnoch 15 year old 55%

Tasted: Dec 2004

On the nose it is deeper and richer than the 13 year old with more of everything. Superb palate. Sweet and juicy with luscious fruit, soft alcohol, straw/ dried grass/ reeds followed by the returning juicy fruit with a suggestion of earth. Lovely fresh finish.

Bladnoch 15 year old ‘Sherry Cask’ 46%

Sherry Butt 1056/ Tasted: Feb 2007

A very intense nose. Very soft and polished. As to be expected there is a huge amount of sherry character, redolent of luscious, melting orange fruits, a touch of smoke and malt. Then in wades the butterscotch and natural caramel. Underneath all this lurks the grassy/ earthy citrus aromas and a faint whiff of gun powder, which I don’t think spoils the enjoyment.

The palate is luxurious, soft, smooth and loaded with butterscotch and natural caramel, coating the palate in lovely malty fruit. Very, very intense and powerful, the citrus fruit pokes it head up in the finish. Lovely tangy finish with loads of earth and sweet spice and a big buttery finale. Definitely one to savour with desert!

Bladnoch 15 year old ‘Sherry Cask’ 55%

Cask 2617/ Tasted May 2008

A very intense nose of pure, earthy, sherry cask and spices. Not an off note in sight. It has a lovely sweetness with notes of toffee, and a developing floral note. Over time there is a suggestion of grass as the distillery character fights its way through. Strangely enough the distillery character is more discernable in a Glen Cairn glass.

The palate follows the same pattern as the nose, opening with an intensity of sherry cask, drying tannins and alcohol. Yet there is a wonderful, silky60% chocolate ganache smoothness to this malt. Later the grassy notes appear, just like the nose.

A drop of water subdues the rampant sherry, bringing out a delightful orange and citrus note. The palate really now displays the wow factor! Creamy, ultra smooth and awesomely chocolatey. It’s actually quiet sweet for a Bladnoch, yet it finishes quiet dry. Now I’m not the worlds biggest fan of sherry casked whiskies, as you all know, and this bottling definitely edges towards the cask side. However……………. This is a marvellous sherry cask

Bladnoch 15 year old ‘Jamaican me Crazy Mon – Rum Cask Finish ‘57.4%

Tasted Jan 2006

Clean, aromatic, light and grassy with citrus fruit, vanilla oak and a very slight sweetness from the rum cask, maybe there is a hint of Demerara sugar. The finish is so subtle it’s almost unnoticeable.

Dry on the palate with oily golden apricot fruit followed by delicate spicy malt and grass/ hay. Superb mouthfeel, rounded and sweet with the vaguest hint of rum/ dried fruits on the finish. The rum cask has certainly given it quite a full body and added a subtle sweetness. Superb length with the oak flavours holding on.

Water emphasises the clean oak on the nose along with the mellow apricot and slight tropical spiciness. On the palate it brings forward the rum/ dried fruit flavours. It shows up its superb balance and creates waves of spice, oak and citrus fruit, along with garden flowers and juniper notes. This is soft and divine and floods the mouth with flavours. This could be the best finish I’ve tasted, maybe even better than the Mission series port finished Macallan.

Bladnoch Adela 15 year old 46.7%

Oloroso Sherry/ Tasted: Mar 2017

The nose opens with the lightly herbal Oloroso and tart citrus. Subtly balsamic, earthy and malty with a touch of barley and roasted coffee bean. With time the pruney fruit emerges along with a touch of walnut.

The palate shows more of the citrus and gives the palate a lovely freshness. The sherry is again lightly herbal and chocolaty with hints of coffee, prune, walnut, malt and barley. Soft but grippy tannins on the middle and the finish is long and very citric with a touch of rose petal Turkish delight and dark, chocolaty tannins.

Bladnoch 16 year old 46%

Tasted: May 2009

A classic Bladnoch nose, albeit a bit straightforward. Quiet oily and reminiscent of the 18 year old with less grass and more straw/ hay notes and a slight spirity-perfume. The fruit has gone a bit south on the palate leaving behind not much apart from old wood and alcohol, which is a bit spirity.

Bladnoch 16 year old Sherry Cask 55%

Tasted ?

A storming nose, absolutely superb. This is definitely my favourite. It is deeper and richer, with more of everything. The palate is stunning, sweet, luscious and full of juicy fruit. Quite soft alcohol is followed by straw, dried grass and reed flavours. Finishing with a return of the juicy fruit and earthy nuances.

A drop of water subdues the rampant sherry, bringing out a delightful orange and citrus note. The palate really now displays the wow factor! Creamy, ultra smooth and awesomely chocolatey. It’s actually quiet sweet for a Bladnoch, yet it finishes quiet dry. Now I’m not the worlds biggest fan of sherry casked whiskies, as you all know, and this bottling definitely edges towards the cask side. However……………. This is a marvellous sherry cask

Bladnoch 16 year old 55%

Tasted: Feb 2007

One word. Wow! Great nose! (Ok that’s three!) Deep, heavy and lusciously oily with loads of apricot, orange, grass, earth, citrus and vanilla. Extremely harmonious and stunning. Definitely Bladnoch at it’s best.

The palate like the nose is deep, rich and pretty much mirrors the nose. The finish is stunning with a wonderful sweetness. A drop of water emphasizes the grass and sweet spice notes along with fern and bracken (?). On the palate it certainly has the wow factor, emphasising the sweetness, and like the nose bringing out the fauna and spice (cinnamon). Now it has a real spicy kick to it and the finish lasts for ages!

Bladnoch 16 year old 55%

Tasted: May 2009

A deeper nose, which displays a greater complexity of vanilla oils, luscious honeycomb, apricot, maturing honey, lemon, white pear and a lovely hint of pepper, dusty spice and perfumed white flowers. T

hat’s more like it! Gentle and oily on the palate with mouth filling honeyed fruit, citrus and a light grassy note. Intense yet delicate. The mid palate explodes with an array of peppery, rose petal marc-like notes, Turkish delight, rose and peppermint oil – like a fight in a florists!. Amazing length. It oozes class.

A drop of water doesn’t change the palate and the palate is a lot less fun with the marc-like rose petal notes becoming more prominent. Ideally I would drink neat.

Bladnoch 16 year old ‘Sherry Cask’ 55%

Sherry Butt 2607/ Tasted: May 2009

A deep, leafy, nutty, sherry monster. Amazingly pure with Amontillado-esque green nuts and salt. Somewhere beneath the casks aromas some deep honey, walnuts, dates and stewed figs can be detected. Excellent, clean sherry butt. I can even detect a smidgen of perfumed Bladnoch spirt.

The palate pretty much mirrors the nose. There is quiet a bit of wood tannins as expected and a hint of candied rose petal marc on the middle. The finish is masked by its piquant alcohol. A drop of water brings out a lovely orange note on the nose and softens the palate. It is now so juicy and honeyed with a lovely seam of barley and the sweetness offsets the bitter tannins. Great balance and length with a slight candied finish.

A superb sherry cask with just enough distillery character poking through, as long as you know where to look.

Bladnoch 16 year old Sherry Cask’ Christmas 2008 Bottling’ 55%

Sherry/ Tasted: Dec 2008

The nose opens with a touch of burnt toffee and a suggestion of sulphur. However the sherry aromas are so big and luscious that you could cut them with a knife. Layers of juicy fruit, coffee and natural honey follow. The palate is quite sweet with mouth watering barley and honey just holding the tannins at bay. A big delivery of piquant alcohol just about makes it through the sherry.

A drop of water mitigates the sulphur and leaves me thinking that it would have been better to have bottled it at 46%. It’s still monstrously fruity and juicy. A touch floral with crystallised fruit and dunnage notes all bound up in the most exquisite honey. On the palate a touch of coffee and mocha swirls amid the weight of honey and an arrow of crisp barley finds the target. There is a suggestion of grassy, herbal, distillery character on the finish. Great fun and hugely entertaining, it’ll definitely go nicely with the mince pies!

Bladnoch 16 year old ‘Jamaican me Crazy Mon – Rum Cask Finish ‘ 46%

Cask 5102/ Tasted: June 2007

Quiet a big and expansive nose, classic Bladnoch aromas mingle with buttered rum toffees, dried fruits and lazy sweet spices. It’s a bit schizophrenic, swirl it around the glass and one minute it’s all grassy citrus-ness and the next time it’s all buttered toffee. It’s quiet mad really and I love it!

On the palate the entry is soft and sweet with the buttered rum toffee flavours predominating, yet slowly the distillery character seeps through. It has a lovely mouth feel with oodles of tangy, spicy, citrus, apricot and a touch of tropical fruit. Wow this really wakes up the palate; it certainly tasted higher than 46% (the last bottling was bottled at 57.4%).

A drop of water doesn’t diminish its Jekyl and Hide character on the nose yet on the palate it rounds it out; the distillery character is now more prevalent although it retains its sweetness nicely. Now the finish is playing a supporting role like it should do. It is very grassy with a floral note and the gorgeous spice drifts in effortlessly on the finish. Absolutely yummy!

Bladnoch 17 year old ‘Christmas Bottling 2009’ 46%

Bourbon Hogshead 2713/ Tasted: Oct 2009

The nose is a bit on the high toned side and spirity to be honest. There’s some perfumed rose petals but no real discernable grass or citrus, or fruit to be frank. It’s a bit candied with some late butter and vanilla.

The palate is soft and candied-sweet. Reminiscent of old tropical fruit, but some lovely Sauvignon blanc-esque white fruit and grass comes through on the middle. The alcohol however cuts in quickly and stops the fun! The finish is thus a bit bereft and oily with some light spices.

Out of curiosity I added a drop of water and unfortunately it goes all cardboardy on the nose and the palate turned to sugar water. I think it goes without saying that this is not one of Raymond’s better bottlings.

I will add that this was tasted from a 5cl miniature and may not represent the actual 70cl bottling. …….. And would you know that was indeed the case. The cask used for the 5cl was Hogshead 2713, whereas the cask used for the 70cl bottles was Hogshead 1098, for which tasted like this………..

Bladnoch 17 year old ‘The Real Christmas Bottling 2009’ 46%

Bourbon Hogshead 1098/ Tasted: Oct 2009

The nose opens with a very odd aroma that I can only really describe as nettles and pond weed soaked in turpentine. It passes relatively quickly and is not as unpleasant as it sounds. Crisp barley and robust fruit follow as does the vanilla oak and a late orange note.

The palate is soft and honeyed, opening with the milky-vanilla crème caramel oak flavours before the apricot/ fleshy yellow fruit, wood spices and earth arrive. However the flavours are really all on the front palate and once the alcohol (albeit soft) hits the tongue there is not much in the way of returning fruit apart from the herbal/ grass notes.

Bladnoch 17 year old ‘Sherry Cask’ 55%

Fino Sherry Butt 2609/ Dist: July 1992  Btl: July 2009

Quite a floral nose. Juicy apple and apricot combine well with the cask imparting a saline, green nuts and light hickory character. It’s very fresh and there is a suggestion of peat. Over time it becomes quite herbaceous and finally some oak vanillins join in.

The palate definitely needs some water as it is all grape, green nuts, wood tannins and alcohol. As the alcohol fades there are hints of white fruit, herbs and buckets of salt.

A drop of water brings of a faint rubbery/ sulphur note, but the rancio from the cask keeps continuously evolving and some lovely orange fruit with an oily sheen emerges. On the palate, it has allowed some sweetness to come through and balance the saltiness. Now it begins to show some complexity – rose petals, lemon and floral apricot. Still very grippy but that apricot fruit shines beautifully. An attractive finish with spices and rose petal notes returning and a candied after taste.

Bladnoch 18 year old 55%

Tasted June 2008

Initially very grassy on the nose – Not freshly cut but old, dried grass, rushes and straw followed by deep, mature orange and lime with hints of honey and caramel. Lovely and rounded with a slight barley note.

Dry, gentle and mellow on the palate, the flavours reflect the nose. It’s quiet oily and the alcohol dominates somewhat. A drop of water subdues the alcohol and allows the juicy, delicious fruit to show. Excellent intensity and length with a touch of earth and gin like botanicals. Definitely and old lady!

Bladnoch 18 year old ‘Sherry Cask’ 55%

Oloroso Sherry/ Tasted: Feb 2011

A big, slightly perfumed nose of leafy first-fill Oloroso. Lovely complexity with sweet dried fruits, brown sugar and molasses. With time a gun smoke (sulphur?) note creeps in along with some blood orange and iron like notes. The citrus starts to become a touch butyric however and a slight soapiness is now evident. What isn’t evident is any distillery character though.

The palate is juicy and leafy, with no shortage of herbal notes, tannins and alcohol. It’s a bit on the tart side with that gun smoke note hovering just on the edge of sulphurousness. Very dry finish with again no distillery character and a finish that become a touch confected.

Water pushes the cask back on the nose but not enough to let any spirit character show through, still the gun smoke/ sulphur note lingers at the edge of perception. On the palate it does emphasises that blemish though and it’s still pretty tannic and dry.

Bladnoch 18 year old 55%

Sherry/ Tasted: Jan 2012

A full on toffee’d, molasses, dark treacle, tarry sherry nose with hints of burnt herbs and malt. With time some liquorice coated orange fruit appears, dark chocolate and coffee. Yes the aromas are all cask derived but it has a lovely fresh edge to it.

Like the nose the palate opens with a mountain of toffee’d sherry. Slightly leafy and quite fresh. Piquant alcohol leads into a oily walnut, bitter chocolate, dark spice and slightly tannic finish. Again all cask derived.

With water the nose becomes very Amontillado like, developing a salty, nutty character. A lot olier now with hints of incense and spice. The palate is much the same, a tad simpler maybe but delightful mellow. One for the sherry enthusiasts.

Bladnoch 19 year old 55%

Bourbon/ Tasted: Sept 2009

After ones first sniff I thought it was a dead ringer for the 18 year old bottled awhile ago (Initially very grassy on the nose – Not freshly cut but old, dried grass, rushes and straw) but with a greater degree of oak and an old spirity note, even the orange fruit was just about hanging on by it’s fingertips! – However……….. It just needs some time and a bit of swirling………… and suddenly as if by the magic of the Brownie of Bladnoch (yes I remember that bottling!) the most delightful perfumed white flower note appears, as does some wonderfully luscious, honeyed fruit.

The palate is very much like the 18 year old, with the alcohol dominating the proceedings and only the old grass/ straw notes getting a look in. Adding a drop of water one word springs to mind. Beautiful! The honey caresses the tongue and the liquid orange fruit fills the mouth. Where it may have lost the vibrant complexity of youth it has more than made up for it with the mellow softness of age. There is definitely life left in the old girl!

Bladnoch 19 year old 55%

Sherry Butt 2618/ Dist: Jul 1992 Btl: Nov 2011/ Tasted: Jan 2012

A lovely, mature, chocolatey, refill-sherry nose. The sherry is subtler than the 18 year old and allows the slightly high toned, mature grassy spirit to come through. For its age it has a lovely fresh intensity and with time a touch of perfumed white flowers, orange, earth and cream emerges. Beautifully balanced with some late nutty notes.

The palate is a tad dry and slightly woody to begin with showing coffee and chocolate coated nuts, but the slightly sugar coated orange fruit balances. Piquant alcohol leads into a spicy, slightly perfumed white fruit, brown sugar and light malt finish.

With water it becomes mellower and less intense but the orange fruit on the nose has become emphasised and exceedingly luscious and it really emphasises the spiciness of the finish.

Bladnoch 20 year old 52.4%

Bourbon/ Tasted: May 2010

Quiet perfumed and floral with a beautiful depth of mature honey glazed apricot and mandarin. For its age it has a lovely freshness along with hints of white peach, straw, barley and supporting oak. The palate is quite sweet for a Bladnoch. A complex melange of honeyed apricot, mature honey, straw, earth and wood notes. Piquant alcohol cleans the palate and leaves a botanical infused finish.

With water the nose becomes gorgeously honeyed and although it is still perfumed the spirit seems to be showing its age more. The palate has become slightly oilier and maybe a bit more delicate. With some spicy citrus fruit emerging and the oak gripping at the finish. I’m still amazed at how fresh this is for a 20 year old!

Bladnoch 20 year old 52.9%

Bourbon/ Tasted: Apr 2011

A big, robust and quite malty nose, which begins quite freshly grassy and earthy with plenty of cereal laced fruit, mature honey. Not as perfumed and definitely more robust than the previous bottling. With time the oak continues to build and a mature orange fruit note becomes apparent.

The palate is like the nose. Full and robust with a beautiful depth of crisp cereal and malt. It becomes more delicate towards the middle with some straw and mature honeyed nuances along with spice and white perfumed fruits. Piquant alcohol cleanses the palate and leaves a long perfumed finish. It just goes to show that a good Lowland spirit can age remarkably well.

With water the nose become more perfumed, like the first bottling and some exuberant spiced orange notes have emerged as has the oak with a delightful crème caramel and clotted creamy character. Now the big soft vanillins are running riot! The palate is lighter and like the nose the oak does dominate now. The spirit has receded beneath the weight of caramel and toffee and it does become a tad spirity towards the end, but the finale is pure spice heaven.

Bladnoch 20 year old 52.4%

Bourbon/ Tasted: May 2011

A slightly butyric nose. Rather sickly with some old straw and creamy/ lactic oak aromas struggling to get through the fatty, lanolin and baby sick.

The palate is not as butyric as the nose, but it is still somewhat un-clean with some old honey, straw and rich, biscuity malt. The alcoholic is cleansing to say the least and leaves some old marc notes and a bitter, dry, tannic finish. Not one of the better casks of 20 year old!

With water the nose attempts to redeem itself and has now become grassier and more aromatic with some white fruit notes. It seems a tad younger now there is now masking baby sick! The palate is much the same, lighter and younger with the oak pushed to the background (adding some old marzipan, dark chocolate and coffee) allowing some pleasant citrus moments to show.

Bladnoch 20 year old 51.4%

Bourbon Hogshead 5739/ Dist: Dec 1990/  Tasted: Jan 2012

A lovely venerable nose of mature honey and dried grass with hints of coffee, liquorice and toasted caramel. Still there is a hint of honeyed-citrus and hints of perfumed white fruit to give the nose some lift and freshness.

The palate opens with some earthy, dried grass, mature coffee, and more loamy, earthy notes. Delicate toffee-spices weave in along with a touch of barley and more dried grass. Beneath is some delicately sweet, malty spirit resulting in a brief citrus flourish before the dried grass notes return.

A drop of water opens the nose to display some beautifully fragrant, perfumed lilly and musky rose and has endowed the nose with a beguiling sumptuous character. The palate one could argue has become a tad watery, but it has allowed a touch of white fruit and oily, old rose petal/ Turkish delight to emerge. All that aside it is still a beautifully mature dram.

Bladnoch 1990 (22 year old) 51.7%

Dist: Nov 1990 Btl: Apr 2013/ Tasted: June 2013

Intense and straw-like aromas of apricot and orange fruit, shot through with powerful lime note. The lovely, mature oak adds weight and a light oily/ butteriness. Quite fresh and lightly herbal with just a brief coal smoke note along with a touch of tar and coffee.

The palate is dark-ish and malty with some straw-like apricot and citrus interwoven with some lovely honeyed moments. The mature oak comes through on the middle and the alcohol dries and masks the finish to certain extent, although that lovely, lightly sweetened honey lingers.

Diluted the nose becomes more straw-like with hints of damp earth but an evocative perfumed note emerges and the fruit has become exceedingly juicy. Light mandarin, tangerine along with an almost Riesling-esque petrol note. The palate has also become wonderfully juicy with some gentle mouth-filling barley and showing more mature wood notes. Lovely long vanilla and rose petal fade. Another excellent old Bladnoch!

Bladnoch Talia 25 year old 49.2%

Finished in new oak/ Tasted: Mar 2017

Gritty, freshly charred oak, cinnamon and black pepper to start with a good dollop of toasty vanilla. The new oak character settles down and allows the dusty mature oak and fragrant barley to come through along with white chocolate and luscious, mature honey.

The palate opens in the same manner as the nose with plenty of new oak character, vanilla and toffee. Again, like the nose the mature spirit and dusty barley comes through as the new oak moves into the background and adds hints of toast and roasted nuts. Subtly citric on the middle, which builds pleasantly to a juicy, mouth-watering finale. Finishes with a touch of floral apricot, malt and coffee’d oak. I’m not sure it really needs the finishing in new oak, but it certainly adds another dimension to the whisky.

 

Aiken’s Dram ‘The Brownie of Bladnoch’s Darkest Secret’ 15 year old 46%

Tasted: Mar 2006

Greeny brown in colour, reminiscent of swamp water!

An odd nose. Initially orange fruit and marzipan followed by old cardboard, cold coffee or is it over stewed cold tea! What the hell am I smelling here??! This is bizarre! I think I’m having a supercharged Tobermory moment! Finally a touch of peat smoke arrives, just to round out possibly the strangest nose ever!

If the nose was odd then it comes as no surprise that the palate is…er…well…odd! It’s earthy and peaty with wet paper and old cardboard notes. Faintly dirty fruit macerated in cold tea – This is an experience I think I’ll never forget! One thinks this is a dark secret that the Brownie should have, well, kept a secret!!?! This is an abject lesson in tasting your casks before purchasing and then bottling them!!!

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