Bottler: Official bottling
Age: 22 years
Price at the time of purchasing: 62€
Cask: Single bourbon cask #4644
Unchillfiltered & natural color
For a 22 year old whisky the color is very light (might have been a refill cask), but this dram is a prime example of color being a poor indicator of quality. At 52,4% alcohol you get a fresh, clean, vanilla-honey sweetness as the first impression but the alcohol note fades quickly, even without adding any water. There’s some fresh ginger, lime, lemon zests, ripe brambles, fresh barley and subtle oaky notes. This cask surely has delayed maturation keeping the spirit fresh yet very intriguing and perfectly balanced. On the palate there’s an immediate, mouth filling, juicy sweetness. The alcohol is noticeable as well. A few drops of water reveal a very mellow, rounded, well aged yet still lively spirit with some florals, milk chocolate and lots of citrus notes. Also hints of caramel and a tad dry. The initially very honey-vanilla sweet (think lemonade, not dark fruits!), juicy finish reveals some more intense oak notes, which were previously hidden. What remains is a medium long, sweet, malty aftertaste.
This must have been one of the last casks left at the distillery from the stock bought by the Armstrongs when they purchased Bladnoch as I once read on the Bladnoch forum that only one “old” cask was left which should’ve been bottled as a special bottling (Can’t find the post right now, sorry…). We’ll see what will become of it now that Bladnoch is (sadly) being sold again. Anyway, I digress. I wanted to say it’s most likely one of the last casks of old and more or less officially bottled Bladnochs from the time before Diageo closed the place down – and what a cracker it is! Very fresh, juicy, sweet. This was the very first Bladnoch I’ve tried and was the dram which made me fall in love with this distillery. And let me tell you, the new stuff is mostly great as well. But, anyway, this bottle comes highly recommended. At the time of writing (April 2014) a few bottles can still be found and at about 60€ it is very good value for the money for a 22 year old, sadly often overlooked and underrepresented lowlander.
*tasting notes based on a retasting using my original notes published as “moviemaniac” on whiskybase.com