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Thursday, December 8, 2022

Bladnoch 28 year old 1990 SMWS 50.103

The final two Bladnochs come from Scotch Malt Whisky Society's warehouse(s) and contain spirit from the distillery's Arthur Bell & Sons era. Both today's and tomorrow's Bladnochs were distilled in 1990 and matured in second fill bourbon barrels. I tasted them side-by-side in an attempt to gain some perspective.

Distillery: Bladnoch
Owners at time of Distillation: Arthur Bell & Sons
Region: Lowlands
Bottler: Scotch Malt Whisky Society
Age: 28 years (26 Jan 1990 - 2018)
Maturation: second-fill bourbon barrel
Cask #: 50.103, "Funky nuts and a glass of wine"
Outturn: 118 bottles
Alcohol by Volume: 57.7%
(from a bottle split)


Damn it. As per the silly SMWS cask name, I get wine notes in the nose, specifically French chardonnay or, specifically-er (it's been a long night), Chablis. Plenty of minerals and clay in the fore, with dashes of lemon juice and white grape juice around the edges. Slowly the wine fades into the background, as cara cara oranges, white chocolate and shortbread cookies come forward. The palate has a nice mix of mineral and sweet, grassy and fruity. Lime, grapefruit, lychee and a whiff of blossoms. It gets tangier and sweeter with time. The sweetness calms in the finish. There's a pinch of salt, a hint of metal, and tropical fruit punch residue.

DILUTED TO ~46%abv, or 1½ tsp of water per 30mL whisky

The nose holds shortbread, toffee, orange blossoms and lemon zest. A solid balance of tart and sweet fills the palate. Some guavas roll with the grapefruits. Hints of hay and toasted nuts rest underneath. The finish matches the palate.


Though it's not as wildly complex as the SMWS notes make it seem, this Bladnoch does have angles, especially in the nose. Had it brought the funk as advertised, this would have easily been a 90+ point whisky. For my particular palate, the fruit alone keeps the score up as the second-fill barrel plays the middle ground well, being neither too pushy nor playing dead. Will the other 1990 Bladnoch's cask behave, too?

Availability - Secondary market
Pricing - ???
Rating - 88

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