May 2013 Archives
To say that Bladnoch has had a checkered history is a bit of an understatement. Having been rebuilt twice, sold four times, and closed twice, anyone could be excused for not having managed to get a dram of this Lowland whisky into their glass. The most recent closure of the distillery occurred in 1993, the same year this spirit was distilled, when United Distillers and Vintners (UDV for short, and now known as Diageo) mothballed the distillery, ultimately selling it to Irishman Raymond Alexander in 1994, who since reopened Bladnoch in 2000. Thankfully prior to the decision to mothball it, UDV opted to sell some of their new make to Gordon & MacPhail whose careful maturation of it in their own casks has resulted in this particular expression becoming available to whisky lovers around the world upon bottling in 2009 at 43%.
Since I was first introduced to the dram, nearly two short years ago, I've considered this expression to be my "quintessential" Macallan experience. Matured exclusively in sherry oak casks from Jerez, Spain that were previously seasoned with dry Oloroso for 18 months; this whisky is like Christmas morning in a glass. It's bottled at cask strength (60.1% A.B.V. on the label but I've noticed variation between batches), without chill filtration and is best enjoyed with a splash of water.
Fans of The Macallan and lovers of big, richly sherried Speyside whiskies take note: The Macallan Cask Strength has been discontinued in Ontario and, judging by the website, globally as well. Perhaps as part of the shuffle within the product range, the heretofore non-age-stated red mahogany beauty has now been re-launched as a 10 year old cask strength offering. Although I have yet to try the new formula, I'm left wondering "If it ain't broke..."
Nose: Without water, expect to be taken aback by a strong, concentrated burst of alcohol co-mingled with dried fruits, orange, and spice. With a generous splash of water, the nose becomes more nuanced and layered and you can actually begin to pull out some distinctive fruity notes like: apricot, raisins, plums and candied pineapple alongside buttery oak.