Whiskyfun
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September 26, 2016


Whiskyfun

Wigtown limoncello

Bladnoch, missed opportunities, perhaps.There used to be some great ones, but the name lost a little polish in recent times, in my opinion. I’m all in favour of products above brands and marketing (pushing - or trying to premiumise - a brand without a good product is just pathetic, as can be seen here and there these days), but still, a little good marketing can do no harm… Anyway, let’s have a wee bunch…

Bladnoch 22 yo 1992 (53.3%, Exclusive Malts, cask #4270, 295 bottles, +/-2015)

Bladnoch 22 yo 1992 (53.3%, Exclusive Malts, cask #4270, 295 bottles, +/-2015) Two stars and a half Birds are very fashionables on whisky labels these days. Colour: straw/white wine. Nose: very Bladnoch, and not easy-easy. A lot of lemon squash mixed with plaster, something sour (more lemon juice), and quite some baker’s yeast. Sharp and singular. With water: gets very porridge-y, grainy, yeasty, and bready. Mashed potatoes and more lemon juice. Mouth (neat): hot, very lemony, with chemical touches, between, plastic and chalk. Bread dough. It really is an unusual style. With water: gets rather cleaner, but we’re still having a feeling of, say fresh baguette dipped into limoncello. Finish: medium, on more or less the same flavours. Perhaps some aniseed in the aftertaste. Comments: a malt like no other. Certainly good, of course it is, but it’s not totally my cup of malt. SGP:451 - 78 points.

Bladnoch 25 yo 1990/2015 (52.2%, The Whisky Agency and Acla Selection, barrel)

Bladnoch 25 yo 1990/2015 (52.2%, The Whisky Agency and Acla Selection, barrel) Four stars Colour: white wine. Nose: this one’s much brighter, without any yeasty or fermentary notes this time, and rather a lovely combination involving the usual lemons, apples, oranges, and just a touch of vanilla to nicely coat all that. Now there is a little porridge too, but we’re below the limits. With water: some perfect lemon juice. I mean, real squeezed lemons! Mouth (neat): good, very zesty, angular, lemony, with sweets, our friends the famous jelly beans, and no coating this time. Great citrusy sharpness. With water: but this is artisan limoncello! What’s funny is that I do detect a saltiness too, which isn’t very ‘Lowlands’, is it? Finish: rather long, lemony and always a little salty. Would you pass the tequila please? Comments: like it quite a lot. It really is a singular style, only Rosebank could be like this, in my humble opinion. SGP:541 - 85 points.

Bladnoch 25 yo 1990/2016 (50.7%, Cadenhead, Authentic Collection, bourbon, 264 bottles)

Bladnoch 25 yo 1990/2016 (50.7%, Cadenhead, Authentic Collection, bourbon, 264 bottles) Four stars Colour: pale white wine. Nose: it’s unsurprising that we would be so close to the previous 1990, but this one’s maybe even better chiselled, precise, lemony of course, and Sancerre-like. I’d love to try it on some goat cheese from Provence, too bad I don’t like goat cheese too much (now that was useful, S.!) With water: grapefruits! Damn, what’s the name of that molecule again?... Mouth (neat): very sharp, like a good knife, and totally lemony. Someone must have invented the word ‘zesty’ after having quaffed this kind of Bladnoch. Good grass as well. With water: lemon and grapefruit juices with a little agave syrup to round it off. Finish: ditto. Medium length. A funny fizziness remains on your tongue, there used to be sweets like this in the seventies. But then again, there were the Kursaal Flyers too. Comments: excellent Bladnochian Bladnoch. I so hate Cadenhead! SGP:541 - 87 points.

Bonus (kind of), and old session I did two or three years ago, and which I never dared to publish. Not too happy about it, but there, for the record…

Bladnoch 22 yo 1990/2013 (49.5%, OB, cask #5762)

Bladnoch 22 yo 1990/2013 (49.5%, OB, cask #5762) Two stars and a half Colour: pale gold. Nose: little citrus, rather some kind of porridgy and yeasty and grassy notes, some raw eau-de-vie (tutti frutti straight from the still) and quite some soot. Touches of yoghurt too, milk, soaked barley… Not the easiest Bladnoch so far. With water: cheese, more yoghurt, apple vinegar and distant whiffs of gym socks. Challenging and… ar, er, athletic? Mouth (neat): raw, very grassy, with some spritzy lemon, aspirin tablets, then chilli and green pepper. Very, very austere but it’s got quite some character. It’s just a little difficult. With water: even more lemon as well as more rocks, limestone, beer… Finish: moderately long, lemony and yeasty as before. Comments: totally unsexy, very austere. Was that intentional? SGP:362 - 77 points.

Bladnoch 23 yo 1990/2013 (54%, Duncan Taylor, Dimensions, cask #3484, 116 bottles)

Bladnoch 23 yo 1990/2013 (54%, Duncan Taylor, Dimensions, cask #3484, 116 bottles) Two stars Colour: gold. Nose: can you smoke fudge? We’ve got the same kind of yeasty profile as with the OB, but it seems that the cask imparted more sexiness, even if all this remains a little unlikely. Toasted oak, charcoaled yoghurt (!), sour wood, fern and moss… Very intriguing. With water: flambéed yoghurt and Swiss cheese plus bags of artisanal muesli. Hoppla. Also raisins, more burnt cake… Mouth (neat): same feeling of fudge, praline, toasted oak… As if a rather strange kind of reracking occurred. So a layer of toasted oak and burnt vanilla cake over beer, yeast and Turkish yoghurt sauce (I think that’s called Cacik). With water: the oak comes out and makes it drying and rather bitter. Sawdust. Finish: quite long and very drying. Big tannicity. Comments: not too sure… It feels like if some new oak was involved. SGP:351 - 73 points.

Bladnoch 21 yo 1991/2012 (54.9%, Riverstown, hogshead, cask ref #2012-123, 296 bottles)

Bladnoch 21 yo 1991/2012 (54.9%, Riverstown, hogshead, cask ref #2012-123, 296 bottles) Three stars Colour: straw. Nose: there, another austere one, with some smoked oak and charcoal, but rather less yoghurty notes than in the 1990s. A lot of burning grass, whiffs of fresh mint leaves – which is nice, obviously – then some freshly ground pepper and some coriander. Very austere but works well, I think. With water: the barley comes out, with plenty of bready notes but very little yeast, which is all fine. Mouth (neat): there, lemons and grapefruits! They’re most welcome and complement the very grassy and peppery style quite well. A little extreme, but balanced. With water: more or less the same. Fully barley-driven, in fact, which becomes more and more uncommon. Finish: quite long and rather clean. Barley, apple peelings, white pepper. Comments: a big sharp austere Bladnoch. Better balanced than the others in my opinion. SGP:461 - 82 points.

Let’s try to find more fruits in an older bottling…

Bladnoch 23 yo (46%, Cadenhead, dumpy, handwritten label, +/-1990)

Bladnoch 23 yo (46%, Cadenhead, dumpy, handwritten label, +/-1990) Three stars and a half Colour: gold. Nose: aaaaahhhh! There, all these wonderful fruity tones we were expecting have arrived, together with some kind of smoky/sooty notes that go well with them. Also a lot of metal polish, we’re well in the style of many old Dumpies by Cadenhead. Smoked tangerines? Very lovely nose, let’s just hope the palate won’t be too metallic. Mouth: a tad more deconstructed, if I may, with also some unexpected notes of coconut liqueur that give it a mild bourbon profile. It’s not big, and I also find a little too much cardboard and drops of stale tea. Having said that, I enjoy the beeswax and the notes of old marc de Bourgogne, this wild earthiness (humus, another flavour that’s often to be found in old dumpies in my experience) as well as these touches of bitter almonds, marzipan and lemon zests. It’s a complex whisky, it just lacks focus. Finish: not too long, rather green, drying, with a lot of green tea and a peppery aftertaste. The good news is that there are also tangerines and grapefruits. Comments: it’s not a very harmonious old Bladnoch in my opinion, but we’re well above the newer ones, mainly because of the citrus. SGP:461 - 84 points.

More tasting notes Check the index of all Bladnoch I've tasted so far

 

 

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