Whisk(e)y

Bladnoch 10 Year (Limited Edition 200 Year Anniversary Release)

The Lowlands Region of Scotland is one of the least known of the five scotch regions.  Despite being the second largest region by area, only smaller than the Highland Region, there are very few offerings coming out of The Lowlands.  To my knowledge there are only 6-7, if not fewer, Lowland Distilleries in operation and we will be talking about one of them in this review.

For those unfamiliar with Lowland Distilleries, their expressions are generally lighter with little to no peat on the palate.  For wine drinkers I like to think of Lowland Scotches as comparable to a Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc or a German Gewürztraminer in the sense that Lowland expressions have a light, mineral, grass, and citrus characteristic.

The Bladnoch Distillery founded in 1817 is still the southern most distillery in Scotland.  Throughout its long history, The Bladnoch Distillery always seemed to find a way to persevere.  During the Second World War, Bladnoch stayed open producing malt for the war effort even though whisky production had ceased.  There was a period between 1949 and 1957 where the distillery had to completely shutter its doors as it was in between ownership, but officially reopened and started producing whisky again in 1983.  The distillery would change hands several times between 1983 and 2015 until finally settling with an Australian entrepreneur David Prior who is thought to be the first ever Australian to own a scotch distillery.  Prior invested heavily into Bladnoch purchasing a plethora of brand-new equipment.  In late 2016, Prior announced the revival of Bladnoch and resumed production in the spring of 2017.

This Bladnoch 10 year expression was released in 2017 to celebrate the 200 year anniversary of the storied distillery. Aged 10 years in ex-bourbon barrels under the tenure of Master Distiller Ian MacMillan, this expression shows the exciting future of Bladnoch. The whisky is a lovely golden yellow and the initial nose produces heavy citrus, orange zest notes.  It has a medium-light body and the first note I get on the palate is a bitter citrus, similar to white grapefruit.  As I let it sit on the palate, I start noticing graham cracker and marzipan undertones along with the classic Lowland grass/mineral note.  On the finish, honeydew lingers on the back of the palate leaving a medium length finish.  Although I was pleasantly surprised by some of the notes in the whisky along with its delicate complexity.  It didn’t quite reach my level of a 90+ rated excellent whisky, as I thought it was a bit too bitter/musky up front.

I’d rate this expression from Bladnoch a very respectable 87/100 and consider it a very good whisky to try if you’re interested in a Lowland or if you want a great conversation piece for your bar!

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