Bladnoch began making whisky in 1817, and this was nearly seven years before production was legal in Scotland. However, in 2009, production was at a standstill and in 2015 David Prior an entrepreneur from Australia purchased the distillery, revived production and relaunched a new range of whiskies to celebrate Bladnoch’s rebirth. The new Bladnoch Bicentennial Release, a 29-year old expression celebrates the Lowland distillery’s history. In a statement Prior said, “In the last three years, we have significantly invested in Bladnoch to revive whisky production, as we strive to give Scotland’s most southerly distillery back its true title as the ‘Queen of the Lowlands.’”
In honour of the distillery’s 200th birthday, a limited 200 bottles were made available to the public. The Bicentennial Release is made from two ‘exceptional’ casks of whisky distilled back in 1988. This 29-year old single malt Scotch whisky, bottled at 41.2% ABV, was initially matured in Oloroso Sherry casks and were finished in ex-Moscatel wine casks. Ian Macmillan, the master distiller at Bladnoch and an industry expert with nearly 40 years of experience describes the “chestnut gold” expression as having, “…lovely rich Sherry and acacia aromas, with notes of dark chocolate, sweet oak and citrus with a long and satisfying finish.” MacMillian further adds, “This is a fantastic whisky…and I’d say is best enjoyed, shared, and savoured with friends and family.” Prior considers MacMillian a key member of his team who has “recasked” the Scotch whisky to give it a “…very unique expression of Bladnoch.”
Back in 2014, Prior sold off his yoghurt brand, five:am Organics, for $80 million and took a flight to Bladnoch, bought the Scottish distillery and built a state-of-the-art facility that produces nearly three million bottles per annum. Today, Prior frequently travels from Toorak to the Scottish Lowlands for business purposes, a journey he thinks is necessary for continuing the distilling operations.
The Bladnoch Bicentennial Release is available in select international markets and retails at £5,000 (US$6,980).