I certainly hope that you don’t remember that a bit over a year ago I split a bunch of Scott’s Selection bottles on sale at a Minneapolis store with some friends and that Michael Kravitz (who was among that number) and I simul-reviewed some of them. This bottle was purchased from that very same store a year later and also split with friends; and while Michael K is again one of those who got part of this bottle we are not simul-reviewing it this year. This is because he now has a small child of his own which raises the number of distracted parties in the planning of any such possible undertaking from one to two.
This is yet another of the Scott’s bottlings released in the mid-2000s that is still around in the US (stores from coast to coast have a number of these second and third-tier distillery bottles, often close to original prices). I’ve passed on it in the past because I never could find any information on it. Now I hope to be the source of such information for you if you too have occasionally paused in front of a bottle in a store, stared at if for a while and then moved on to a safer purchase.
On a melancholy note: Scott’s Selection is now defunct and the fate of Bladnoch continues to be up in the air. I’ll drink to both tonight.
Bladnoch 1984-2004 (55.1%; Scott’s Selection; from a bottle split with friends)
Nose: Rich malty sweetness at first. Lime zest pokes its way out too with some pepper. As more time goes by there’s more fruit—apples first, and then muskier notes (canned pineapple and apricot?). With more time there’s vanilla and a buttery/creamy note along with some toasted wood. Beautifully balanced. With more time there’s a faint grassy note and the wood is more apparent but it doesn’t amount to anything objectionable. Water emphasizes the sweeter notes and also the buttery, vanilla thing.
Palate: Leads with citrus (lemon) and then there’s a big whack of the malty sweetness. Nice, thick mouthfeel. On the second sip there’s more of the pepper and toasted wood. On the third sip the the sweeter fruit comes through, but there’s also a bit of a soapy note that begins to develop. With more time the fruit begins to turn tropical—bits of mango and muskier lime. More acidic with water.
Finish: Long. The pepper and the wood are most pronounced here—the lemon hangs around as well and it also gets more salty. That soapy note lingers but doesn’t expand. As on the palate with water and the soapy thing seems to get tamped down a bit.
Comments: This was really quite nice. Nothing overly complex but very pleasurable, especially on the nose. That slight soapy note on the palate detracted a little but not too much and in any case the tropical notes were a fine compensation.
Rating: 88 points.
I really enjoyed this one!
Michael K reviewed this one today.
Finally getting around to finishing my share of this bottle and I’m sorry to report that while the nose is still quite lovely, sitting around for more than a year hasn’t done any favours for the soapy note on the palate. I added more water than usual to see if it might drive it away but it made it expand. I’ve since rectified matters by dropping in some sweet vermouth and a few dashes of orange bitters for a very expensive Rob Roy. That’s much better.