Bladnoch is a Lowland distillery – one of the few left – that’s over 200 years old. The distillery was sold in 2015, and the new owner, David Prior, is busy making his mark on the distillery and brand. There’s a new line-up of age stated single malts coming out soon, but the initial new release is a blend called Pure Scot. It contains a range of Scottish whiskies aside from 9 year old Bladnoch, including some from Speyside, Highland, and Islay distilleries, as well as grain whiskies.
It’s being marketed as the perfect cocktail whisky rather than a neat sipper, which is how we typically enjoy our drams. When representatives of the distillery asked us if we could review it, there were some questions whether a group of whisky snobs would enjoy it if it’s being billed as a mixer, but we’re always happy to give a new dram a try. The following is a summary of the reviews from a number of our members, with the individual reviews copied below.
Bladnoch Pure Scot Blend – 40% ABV
- Common Nose Notes: Brine, bread, honey, oak, earth
- Common Taste Notes: salt, earth, honey, oak, pepper
- Common Finish Notes: earth, smoke, honey, oak, malt
- High Score: 76
- Low Score: 73
- Average Score: 74.6
Overall the group remarked that it’s quite good for a blend and exceeded expectations. The proportion of malt seemed high and masked grainy notes well, and the various malts gave it some depth with earth and brine from the coast and floral honey notes from the mainland. You can check out the individual reviews below.
- Price: Not yet available, however coming soon to the LCBO
- Region: Blend
- Abv: 40%
- Colour: 2.5Y 8/6
- Nose: Yeast, brine, wood, vegetal, light honey. Initial nose is quite yeasty. However that subsides quite quickly. It’s light, there’s quite a bit of honey and vegetal notes. Some brine to it. Takes some time to really bring it all out.
- Taste: Caramel, earth, floral, parsnip. I’m actually quite surprised at the nice strength of the caramel. It’s a lot stronger than the nose. Lots of earth going on here, and a lot of floral notes. It’s simple, but no rough notes.
- Finish: Smoke, anise, earth, floral, lime. Even more earth now. The Islay shows up and kicks down the door, as it’s want to do. It’s not going to compete with peated scotches for power. Granted it’s not going to compete with black holes for power. However it’s a nice finish.
- Score: 73/100
Conclusion: Earth forward dram. I went into this concerned yet open minded. I looked for rough notes or for something that may denote “rough grain whisky”. Instead I ended up with a lighter blended whisky that is nice. Almost as nice as Johnnie Walker Black, and not as bad as the Johnnie Walker Red I expected. Is this amazing? Not really, however it’s appreciated. I really do wish more blends tasted like this. I also hope they bring out a blended malt. It’s a daily drinker that also works well as a cocktail. Colour me surprised.
- Nose: honey, vanilla, salty brine, vegetal, light peat, grain, pear, green apple. Smells very speysidey with a hint of island brine.
- Palate: thin bodied, spirity, honey, grain spirits, light fruit, some brine, bready, pear
- Finish: short, hot, cereal, pears
- Score: 74/100
this is better than a lot of entry level blends I’ve had, and has a very pleasant nose, but the palate and finish are a bit too youthful and grain forward. The briney notes are a nice complement, but could be included in higher proportions in the blend to improve this. Overall if you cut out the grain whisky, this would likely be a very nice blended malt!
- N: Salt, light honey, oatmeal, slightly sour pears, dry leaves/dirt
- P: Light, vegetal, malt, pear, honey, salt, light earthy funk
- F: Short. A vegetal note briefly lingers with some honey, malt, and earth. Drying.
- Score: 74
Overall: This is a light and simple dram but it manages to hide the grain notes pretty well and is balanced and not overly sweet. Although it’s not my preference the earthy profile was interesting as well as I don’t often get that from blends and was a nice for a change of pace. Ultimately I thought this was too simple and forgetful for me to recommend over almost any entry level single malt I would take this over most bottom shelf blends.
- Nose: Toffee, leather, play doh, bread, dried apricot
- Taste: Earth, oak, honey, salt, pepper, flaxseed oil
- Finish: Oak, earth, smoke, grain, salt
- Score: 76/100
Starts off with a light toffee sweetness, mixed with a mild leather and earthiness. Gets oddly doughy, both in a modelling compound and rising yeast kind of way. There’s a dried fruit note towards the tail end of the nose. The mild earthiness continues in the taste, with a fleeting sweetness before turning oaky, mildly nutty and bitter. There’s a subtle graininess, along with a salt and pepper combo at the back. The finish introduces a little bit of smoke, but otherwise the dominant oak/earth/grain notes persist. Still slightly on the bitter side. For an entry level blend, it’s not bad actually. A little muted, the salty wheat-based doughy note in the nose was a bit odd but interesting, and the oak and earth dominated the taste and finish, basically overpowering everything but the mild graininess. There were no off notes to speak of, but you need to like earthy notes to like this one though.
- Nose: Salt, honey, yeast, youthful, oak, leather, earthy
- Palate: Earth, honey, oak, pepper, salt, floral.
- Finish: Medium to short. Earth, smoke and vegetal leather, smoke, honey, malt, floral.
- Score: 76
Well above entry level blend, would take this any day over Johnnie Walker Red Label. Earth forward profile, not overly sweet, well rounded and balanced. Would work very for cocktails or an intro scotch. Considering the lowland region tends to be my least favorite production region in Scotland, I am happy to have more earthy notes in this Bladnoch, instead of a floral driven dram