Each year I am brought out to The Feathers Pub, Toronto for my birthday. Some years multiple times. This year, just once, and that’s okay by me. Too much of a good thing and that.
So typically I try to hit each region of Scotland. Except Campbeltown, because by the end I’m a little knackered.
But what order to you go in? Well I’ve always said that Lowlands should go first. The lighter, floral aspect of Lowland malts typically means that aspects of them can be lost if drank after. Also I need to have dinner part way through, and Lowlands are nicer as an aperitif.
So what did I start with? Why Bladnoch 23 Rare Malts Selection, of course.
Bladnoch has recently seen it’s doors reopen, under new management. This came out before, when it was owned by United Distillers, who later became Diageo. Or after. It’s hard to line up the timeline.
This whisky was bottled at natural cask strength.
None the less, let’ see how it tastes, shall we?
Number of bottles: 6000
Colour: 5Y 9/6
Nose: Violets, canned peaches, buttery, lemongrass
Nose is quite restricted, even given the high strength or older age. A bit of water brings out some grassiness and some butter.
That said, this is very restricted on the nose.
Taste: Violet chocolate, caramel, brine, rich lemonade (Not Beyonce, though her album was good), cinnamon
Needs water. Badly. Initially it’s nothing but a lighter, floral chocolate on the tongue. Takes quite a few sips, and when water is brought in, that subsides and more rich, citrus elements come out, along with some spice.
Finish: Hot cocoa, floral, goat cheese, salt, Mesquite, currants
Good finish. If anything, the whole thing was for the finish. it’s not super long, though it’s unique and is like one of those odd dishes you see on a menu and ask “how could that be good” and then try it and go “Wow”.
Just me? Alright I’m the guy ordering the goat cheese polenta pancakes then, if you’re wondering.
This is that balance between savoury and sweet that works nicely.
Conclusion: So it’s difficult to rate a whisky like this. The nose was hard to pick apart, and really doesn’t give too much off.
The taste I enjoyed, but I enjoy eating flowers. Also the water brings out an interesting flavour profile of rich lemonade that doesn’t come up too often.
Finally the finish is really quite interesting. It plays with the ideas of sweet and savoury, what heather can do, and rich notes and light notes.
So keep that all in mind when having this. Certainly not the easiest dram to wrap your head around.
Scotch review #824, Lowland review #39, Whisky Network review #1335