Bladnoch Distillery

Newton Stewart


History - For most distilleries in Scotland it has not always been as rosy as it is in this golden era for Scotch. Most have a turbulent past of being mothballed (closed down), fires and Scotch just going out of trend over the last couple of hundred years. Bladnoch out of most of them has had a rollercoaster ride since its foundations dating back to 1817, when when John and Thomas McClelland took out a licence to make their own whisky on their farm in the hamlet of Bladnoch in the south-west of Scotland. It stayed in the same family for almost 100 years until the start of the 20th century when there was too much Scotch getting made and not enough sales. The next 100 years saw several closures of the distillery and a number of different owners who just couldn't get the distillery to fulfill its potential. In the 80’s it was bought by spirit giants Diageo but agin went into commission in 1993. From 1994 to 2014 it was owned by two Northern Irish brothers who after a years of trying to make the place more of a tourist attraction eventually gave up and the historic distillery went into liquidation. Many people were extremely interested in the distillery and still saw the potential and in July 2015 it had no owners once again in the form of Australian businessman David Prior and ex-Scotch Whisky Association CEO, Gavin Hewitt, who purchased Bladnoch with a vision to restore the distillery to its former glory. In June last year spirt once again started to flow from Bladnoch distillery.

The Whisky – Bladnoch is one of very few Lowland whiskies and you cant get much lower than where Bladnoch is situated. Because of its turbulent past its has always had different “house styles” when it comes to its flavour profile. In its heyday it was known for its grassy malty and buttery taste and aroma. The new owners are determined to bring this profile back when the whisky is eventually ready. When the new owners took over they also got 2,500 casks of stock when they bought the distillery, which have been released in 3 bottlingsa a no-age-statement called Samsara, a 15-year-old named Adela, and a 25-year-old named Talia.

Favourite Dram - Its a bit step at £175 a bottle but if you can get a hold of the Bladnoch 10 released by Diageo as part of their Flora & Fauna range in the 90’s. I can’t wait to taste the new liquid from here once it is ready.

Why Visit? – The new owners are putting huge investment into the distillery and the visitors centre is a big part of that investment. It looks like it will be finished soon and once again the distillery will give the locals and Scotland something to be proud of.

Interesting fact – While they are waiting for their own whisky to mature they have also launched a brand new blended whisky crafted by Ian MacMillan, the Master Distiller at Bladnoch, which they describe as “light, fresh but with a distinct character and is a great whisky to try and convert a devout malt lover”.

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