This is an official release from the period when the Armstrong brothers were in charge. Distilled in 2001, bottled in 2011 – so almost as long in the bottle than on the cask. Raymond and Colin clearly felt the contents was more important than the looks, judging by the packaging. Oh, lest I forget, this Bladnoch is ‘lightly peated’. I am curious.
Grain cookies, hay and vanilla come first, but then the nose does show the peat. Totally different from Islay, island or Highland peat, so it takes some getting used to. Some potato skins, curry powder and stale beer. Citrus in the background. I confess, I am not yet convinced.
The palate is much better. Lime, grapefruit, vanilla, oranges, white pepper, fresh ginger, quinine and even some chocolate, the whole shrouded in a pleasant smokiness. The peat gives it some earthy and mildly sour notes, while the wood offers some bitterness and the vanilla keeps the whole sweet enough to prevent you from pulling a face. Midpalate it even turns quite pleasantly sweet and powerful. Yup, this is good after all.
In the finish I get orangettes, breakfast cereals with chocolate and a lingering smokiness.
I do not mean to put this Bladnoch down, but I would dare to describe this as Ardmore Light. Surprising and good, despite the rather queer nose.