Trying to describe the flavor profile of Bladnoch is challenging because the distillery has really passed through four different eras. There is the single malt years of the 1800s, the production years of the early 1900s, the reform and modernization years at the turn of the millenium, and now the entire place is being retooled and upgraded again during the David Prior era.
The bottles of Bladnoch available now were from the previous era and they tended to be fruitier and medium-bodied examples of Lowland single malt with a strong herbal nose and the tingle of strawberry jam and baking spices on the palate. It will be several years before we see the influence the the newest owner on this historic single malt Whisky.
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David Prior made his fortune building a successful chain of yoghurt shops in Australia called "five:am yoghurt." he sold his successful company for £52 million, and is wisely -- in our opinion -- investing those proceeds in Bladnoch.
It may seem a small thing, but David Prior is believed to be the only Australian in the Whisky business, in the UK. Cheers mate!
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The Galloway region of southern Scotland, is a penninsula that reaches out into the Irish Sea, toward Belfast. It is a jagged mix of hard bedrock and forest land, protected by landmass from the more fierce Atlantic storms. Bladnoch Distillery is here, about five miles south of Route A75, where it crosses the River Cree.
The story of Bladnoch is one of our favorite stories. It was originally founded in 1817, by brothers John and Thomas McClelland. For they day, they enjoyed quite a bit of success, and by 1845 they had grown to twenty full-time workers, in addition to the tradesmen contractors who maintained the facilities.
They enlarged everything once again in 1878, and attached more land in order to grow their own barley for the mash. In the 1890s a series of what they simply describe as "misfortunes" occurred.
But we can guess at much of it -- there was a barley shortage at the time, excise taxes were increased, and this period was the begining of the temperence movement in much of the western world.
But the little shop managed to hang on, even as several other neighboring distilleries were forced to close. They sold the business in 1911 to William Dunville & Co., who operated the business until 1937. World War II came and the business was mothballed.
In 1957 it reopened again, changing ownership every few years or so. Then, the famous Bell's Blended Whisky Company bought and modernized everything, but then quickly mothballed all that work once again.
Then, IrishmanRaymond Armstrong was walking down the road on holiday, and found the closed shop in 1994. He acquired rights to the property, and spent several years finding old parts and equipment. But it officially reopened once again in 2000, as an operation of Co-Ordinated Development Services.
The business went into liquidation in 2014, and Australian yoghurt mogul David Prior snapped it up. He is investing his personal fortune, installing new vats and stills, and plans to return once again to full production in 2017.
With the current two-still set-up, Bladnoch has a capacity of about 36k liters per week. When David Prior is done with the revamp early next year, production capacity should be doubled -- instantly launching this small shop into the top tier of Whisky production in Scotland. Not bad for a yoghurt guy, right?
CountryUnited Kingdom, Scotland
No. of stills1 wash, 1 spirit
AddressBladnoch, Newton Stewart DG8 9AB, United Kingdom