Bladnoch 19, Cow Label

bladnoch19beltieRenowned TTB stalkersleuth, Sku reported details yesterday of three K&L casks of Bladnoch whose labels are in the process of being approved. There is to be a lightly peated 12 yo, a heavily peated 3-4 yo, and a 21 yo. When the casks are ready there will doubtless be an email from K&L proclaiming these the greatest casks of Bladnoch ever bottled. Of course, earlier this year David D. all but said that no impressive whisky has yet been bottled by the Armstrongs (who own Bladnoch); and so it is entirely possible that we will be told that K&L’s casks are the only great casks of Bladnoch ever bottled. Well, though I hope these casks will be as good as we’ll be told they are (and fairly priced as Bladnoch always is in the UK and EU) I do hope I will be wrong about the hyperbole. If I am wrong I will post a video of Werner Herzog eating his shoe.

In the meantime, here’s one of a number of very good Bladnochs released without any fanfare by the distillery in recent years. This is a 19 yo from a couple of years ago.

(Cows on Bladnoch’s labels generally indicate bourbon cask matured whisky, while sheep indicate sherry cask matured whisky. I learned recently that even though the labels don’t always indicate it almost all of these bottles are from single casks.)

Bladnoch 19, Cow Label (55%; bottled in 2009; from a sample received in a swap)

Nose: Grassy and acidic at first but there’s some nice fruit under the acid: lemon, pineapple, kiwi, even some green bananas. Some wood as well and some champagne vinegar. With time and air there’s some nice malt. As often seems to happen in profiles like this one, water makes the lemon take on a preserved aspect; but there’s also sugary sweetness to go with the lemon.

Palate: Sweet is the first impression but before I can form the word there’s a rush of acid–grapes more than citrus–and then it’s sweet again by the time I swallow. Nice malt here too but not as much fruit as promised by the nose. Well, at least not on the first sip; let’s take another: nope, not much fruit on the second sip either, but there is a really nice maltiness and sweetness that coats the mouth. Some pepper too. With more time there’s more citrus. Let’s see what water does. Water makes the lemon expand but the sweetness is still there as is the pepperiness. More vanilla too. On the very last sip I seemed to be getting more tropical fruit notes–ah, I left it too late to add water.

Finish: Medium. Sweet and malty. Hint of milky coffee/chicory too. Water extends the finish but doesn’t bring out anything new.

Comments: A classic summer malt. Simple but simply pleasurable. But please note that the last sip seemed to promise things I hadn’t yet got much of on the palate. This is the problem with reviewing from samples–I can’t pour some more to verify/confirm fleeting impressions.

Thanks to bpbleus for the sample!

Rating: 87 points.

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