Bladnoch 20 year old 52.4%

Bladnoch 20 year old 52.4%

This whisky was released in April 2010 and is taken from the old stock inherited from the previous owners. It was distilled in January 1990 and bottled in February 2010 at the natural cask strength of 52.4% ABV. The whisky was matured in ex-bourbon casks. It represents the oldest distillery bottling of Bladnoch currently on the market, although older ones are available through various independent bottling companies. We thank Sue at Bladnoch for the opportunity to sample this whisky.

Our tasting notes
The colour of this whisky is a pale gold and the nose is enticing, becoming even more so with time in the glass. The nose has an initial mix of vanilla, honey, stewed fruit (especially apples) and cereal grain notes. There is also a zingy, zesty lemon note that appears, along with something floral (this is hard to pin down but is reminiscent of a flower such as honeysuckle) and a distinct grassy aroma (imagine dried grass or hay – this element also increases with time). It is a promising and very interesting start. On the palate, this is light, fresh and vibrant – these characteristics can be lost as whisky increases with age. The palate reflects the order of the nose very closely with initial sweetness coming from vanilla, honey and cereals. Then comes the fruit with tangy lemon zest being followed by the softer, sweeter stewed apples and a touch of brown sugar. The cereal notes increase and join with the late developing dried grassy character to add balance and finish things off very nicely. There is also just a hint of some spicy ginger and a tiny pinch of nutmeg. The finish is long, fresh and very enjoyable with honey and vanilla combining well with cereals and dried grass notes.

What’s the verdict?
This Bladnoch 20 years old is lovely. It is as simple as that! The quality of the spirit shines through, as does the sympathetic use of good ex-bourbon casks. The alcoholic strength leads you to want to add water and it is still very good – the sweetness and grassiness really comes through, the alcohol and zingy citrus sharpness are softened but it still retains some vibrancy. This would be an ideal light, fresh summer dram or as an aperitif. It has certainly gone done well here in London’s mini ‘heatwave’!

Notes supplied by


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