This Bladnoch 21 was distilled prior to the distillery’s takeover and revival under Raymond Armstrong. As most whisky geeks know, that era too has ended, with the distillery now in receivership. It’s unknown what its fate will be. Hopefully, it will be purchased by someone who will keep it going and who will also continue Raymond’s approach of making simple, good whisky and marketing it at a competitive price without any frippery. This seems unlikely but let’s hope for the best. For now at least some of the Armstrong era releases can still be found at reasonable prices as can older indies such as this one.
Edition Spirits and their “First Editions” series, which this bottle is in, are now in the US as well (this is not a US release though). I don’t have very much experience of them. If you’ve tried any of their US releases and have recommendations one way or the other please chime in below.
Bladnoch 21, 1990 (58.3%; Edition Spirits; cask ES 005/01; from a purchased sample)
Nose: A bit of paint thinner at first but then the chemical notes are joined by some fruit: apple and then some cherry; quite a bit of cherry, actually, and a bit of plum too. And after a minute or so the chemical notes are gone. With a lot of time the fruit on the nose really becomes quite expressive with just a hint of citrus too now and a little bit of vanilla and cream. Water brings out more of the citrus (lemon) on the nose.
Palate: Hotter than the nose suggested, and also maltier. There’s a little more acid here than on the nose but also that chemical note and more wood. Let’s give it some more time. Some of the sweet fruit from the nose begins to appear, but I think this needs water. Yes, much more expressive with water with much the same mix of fruit as on the nose: lemon, apples, plums. Some pepper.
Finish: Medium-long. Some menthol coolness and some spicy oak. Red apples. Nothing very new with water–maybe more bitter apple peel than apple per se.
Comments: Definitely needs time and definitely needs water for the palate–the nose comes along fine with time and air. Quite nice but nothing amazing.
Rating: 85 points.