Sunday, August 22, 2010


A Fairy Tale Story ?

Bladnoch distillery

Bladnoch distillery is Scotlands southernmost distillery, It's located just outside Wigtown in Galloway, and is one of the remote distilleries in Scotland. Diageo mothballed Bladnoch in 1993 and sold it to Raymond Armstrong, a building entrepeneur from Northern Ireland in 1994, with a condition not to distill. Raymond Armstrong needed a summerhouse and Bladnoch he bought.

Bladnoch River from the distillery

Raymond, being an entrepeneur, soon wanted to reopen the place, but it wasn't after many years of hard work and negotiating with Diageo he got the permissions. In December 2000 production was kicked off again. 
 A visitor centre was opened and old stock was acquired, and Raymond was able to release his own bottlings of Bladnoch. In 2008 he released his first bottlings of his own production, three 6 year olds, a lightly peated, an ex-bourbon cask and an ex-sherry cask. Recently an 8yo has been released.
 Bladnoch is a whiskyentusiasts dream of a distillery. The releases, both from new and old stock are single cask or small batches, often bottled at casks strength. Beside Bladnoch bottlings, Raymond also purchases casks from other distilleries and bottle them for his online Forum members. And it's cheap, very cheap whisky

Check out the best online distillery website here :

The cask of one of the first forum bottlings

Raymond Armstrong and a cask of Bladnoch

Ralfy and Raymond

Just this week the bottle no.1 of a 28yo Inchgower is being auctioned for charity. The bottle has the signature of both Ralfy and Raymond. Ralfy made a vlog about this bottling and you can follow the auction via the Bladnoch Forum.

Bidding ends 29th August. The money is destined for local charity 

The Bladnoch Forum got a lively activity, with regular postings from Raymond about the daily doos at the distillery, and participation from other distillers and bottlers as well as whiskyentusiast from all over the world.

Joining the forum gives access to discounts on both Bladnoch and Forum bottlings.

You can also follow Bladnoch on facebook here :

Well, this post was really an excuse to have a few drams, so here we go :

Bladnoch bottlings

1. Bladnoch 8yo 55% 

I have to say I love this bottling. Young whisky that isn't peated, heavily sherried or finished. Just plain "simple" whisky from good casks. It's very easy drinkable, and I have before described it's complexity as sniper like, and that still holds. After 2 or 3 sips the flavours starts to explode in your mouth.

It's a fresh, clean malt
Today I get : Mint, firecrackers, slight grassy-citus and some maltyness
The finish is very long and playful

Very more-ish whisky!

This should be a compulsary part of every entusiasts whiskycupboard 

Rating 89

2. Bladnoch 19yo 55%

Floral, minty, coconut

I have tried quite a few "old" Bladnochs during the last 5 years. With the gap in production of 8 years the bottlings from Raymonds older releases slowly gets older and older. The first one I acquired around 2004-2005 was 15yo and the most recent bottling is 19yo and 20yo's. This 19yo, one of the more perfume-floral Bladnochs (I find this quite a lot of Bladnochs from 1988-1993) is the first bottling I tried that appears more aged whisky than fresh whisky. In that sense it reminds me most of the 23yo Rare Malt Bladnoch, that until I saw the 20yo on the Bladnoch Forum just recently, was the only 20+ yo Bladnoch I was aware of, and is the only 20+ yo Bladnoch I ever tasted. 23yo Bladnoch was a magnificient dram and I am really looking forward to what will be bottled in 5 years time from Raymond, if any old stock will be left by then!

Well, this is essential the first bottling from Raymond I had that felt like "old" whisky when drinking it.

Rating 84

3. Glen Elgin 25yo 41.8% Bladnoch Forum Bottling

Sweet, candylike, well aged, slight elderflower, good bourboncask. Another cracker of a whisky from a bourbon cask.. The finish is long and reveals a bit of coconut and mint

Rating 85

4. Glen Elgin 25yo 42.5% Bladnoch Forum Bottling

Not far from the 41.8% bottling flavourwise, but not as intense in its expression.I've always had Glen Elgin on my secret gem list and these two bottlings are just more water on my mill ! 
Excellent whiskies. The ABV is lower than expected for a 25yo casks strength, but I almost always found that whiskies that has gone surprisingly low on their ABV relative to their age are absolutely wonderful. The alcohol content is low, but the whisky, and by that also the ingredients responsible for flavour hasn't been diluted

Rating 85

5. Benriach 23yo 49.7%

Spicy, very minty, meaty. Another cracker of an ex-bourbon cask. Some floral notes in the finish

Rating 85

6. Balblair 20yo 53.7%

An ex-sherry cask bottling. If you like raisins you will like this one. I get a minimum impact of sulphur on the nose but after 10 seconds it's gone. The sherry casks impact still allow a slight note of vanilla to get thru. A really good bottling that improves over time

Rating 89

I also reviewed a couple of Bladnoch Forum Glenburgies at this post :


  1. steffen,

    i see you've changed your "scoring" system...
    i do feel that 100 points systems are better than 5...


  2. Hi Gal

    Yeah, I changed it. I had too much trouble managing the 100 point system and I always ended up with things like "Oh no, I gotta give this one more for it's better than X" ratings.
    So to stay within my capabilities I changed it to a system closer to like/don't like
    Saves me from rating apples against pears too much
    To only thing is I tend to like most whiskies :-)


  3. well, this is why i do not grade the whiskies at all.

    i just write how i like or dislike. saves me the hassle.

    points are not really meaningful...

  4. I have been retasting the Balblair and sure do deserve an extra star so I upped my rating!


    (first impression isnt always right)