Wednesday, 29 January 2014

No Frills

Bladnoch 10YO Lightly Peated - Sheep Label - 55%

You're lucky they give you a picture.

Bog-standard bottle. Lack of shiny box adorned with Celtic symbols (lack of a box at all, in fact). No blurb recounting tales of warriors past doing battle in the midst of the cataclysmic Scottish elements. Rather uninspiring, possibly home-printed label. It's fair to say that the chaps at Bladnoch don't have a lot of time for marketing.

Luckily for us, what they do have time for is producing good quality whisky at very reasonable prices. You'll frequently find 10-14 year old single cask offerings, bottled at cask strength, for a shade over forty notes. I have yet to experience a bad Bladnoch; thinking back, I'm struggling to recall one that has been anything short of excellent. Admittedly I've yet to experience a peated version, so today all bets are off.

A wee nip courtesy of the high strength greets me but this soon dissolves into a rich, fruity aroma. Pralines and milk chocolate follow with the faintest whisper of smoke on the end.

Water unveils darker fruits and hazelnuts with gentle smoke humming along underneath. Creamy milk chocolate and sweet honeycomb. Fantastic.

Initially sharp but mellows almost instantly. Delivers its 55% very well indeed with red apples and damsons drizzled with alpine chocolate and pralines. There is peat in the mix but it's mild and unobtrusive.

Water brings out some unbelievably creamy notes with the peat taking a more dominant role. It simply sparkles. Everything about this dram is working in harmony. Quality oozes from every drop.

Creamy and spicy with wafts of smoke. The finish betrays the smooth delivery of the alcohol with a lovely nip at the tail end. Every now and then a mild medicinal note wanders through the door.

Water amps up the cream. Sweet sherry and fading chocolate biscults. The spice has ebbed away leaving time for a sweet, smoky brulee encore.

I'm a massive fan of Bladnoch's offerings and this is no exception. The peat adds a new, albeit subtle, dimension but the quality still shines through. Water brings great balance and doesn't diminish the quality at all and, believe me, it holds up to a lot of water. Natural presentation, cask strength and under £50. Sold.

Grade: A
Awesome quality as usual and an interesting twist to boot. A real find.

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