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Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Single Malt Report: Bladnoch 13 year old 1991 McGibbon's Provenance (casks 1083+1447)

This is the second of four Bladnochs this week.  Yesterday's was weird but lovable (like some of us) and proved to be a good sparring partner for this whisky.

Today's helpful facts: The distillery was built alongside the river Bladnoch in Wigtownshire (real name) in 1817 by the brothers McClelland, though they didn't get the legal license to start distilling until eight years later.  An Irish company (Dunville & Co.) bought the distillery in 1911 and ran it intermittently until it was liquidated 26 years later.  After passing through the hands of six different owners (including Inver House and United Distillers), Bladnoch wound up in the hands of Co-ordinated Development Services, half of which was made up of the brothers Armstrong, also from the neighboring green isle.  Then (as mentioned yesterday) the distillery went up for sale after less than 20 years.

Distillery: Bladnoch
Ownership: ???
Bottler: McGibbon's Provenance (Douglas Laing)
Age: 13 years (July 1991 - August 2004)
Cask #s: 1083 & 1447
Region: Lowlands
Alcohol by Volume: 46%
Chillfiltered? No
Caramel Colorant? No
(Thank you to Mr. Cocktailchem himself for the sample!)

The color is brass.  Whiskybase says there's no added colorant and I'm inclined to believe them/it here.  First up in the nose is a combination of anise, grain, and yeast.  Mostly oak free.  Some orange oil, grapefruits.  Hot cereal and flower blossoms.  There's some grimy funk involved that may or may not be related to peat.  With time in the glass, the whisky starts picking up bright notes like confectioner's sugar, roses, peach nectar, and blueberries.  The palate is soft and creamy with a slight peppery bite.  Vanilla shows up for the first time and in quantity.  It all gets sweeter with time, but a subtle tartness keeps it in check for a while.  After some time, here comes the anise, flowers, and grapefruit.  Eventually the sweetness becomes aggressive.  More citrus comes out in the lengthy finish.  That's followed by peppercorns, vanilla, and a hint of mocha.  Again, the sweetness expands with time.

In Jordan's review of this whisky, he mentions that this bottle got better with time.  I had aired my sample out for a while because I got involved with baby-related matters, so perhaps a little bit of oxidation helped things out because I liked this one.  (Also, Jordan and I found more similar notes than we usually do.)

This isn't as zany as yesterday's Bladnoch, but the casks were very reserved, again.  As a result this whisky might feel a little young to those folks used to a lot of oak in their glass.  The sweetness gets a little bold at times and I wouldn't say this was the most complicated of malts, but it's good drinkin' after it has breathed.

Too bad the price on it is so silly.  $90?  I'm not surprised it's still on the shelves after 10 years.  At half its going rate, I would recommend it.

Availability - A few US stores still have it
Pricing - $80-$90
Rating - 83