As dark clouds gather above the Bladnoch distillery, just three years from its second centennial, how about a review of the 10yo by Raymond Armstrong?
Nose: a briny nose, with farmy notes like hay, malt and yeast in the background. A second layer improves the nose with hints of iodine, peat, a few fruity tones of figs and citrus accompanied by a subdued whiff of vanilla and toasted oak. (With a dash of water the nose becomes surprisingly clean and new coconut aromas surface)
Mouth: warm on the palate, with spicy orange peels and honey on the forefront, mouth drying and bitter in the middle with notes of oak leaf lettuce and spiced up with black pepper in the tail (with water added, more fruity notes like pineapple and white grapes develop)
Finish: long and lingering finish with notes of cereal, biscuits and a bit of porridge and good touch of spice.
Good points. Indeed, when I emailed the distillery they mentioned that most of their releases were single cask ones. Even the 55% sherry cask matured are all different. I was lucky to get to from their first 10 YO cask and I have 3 unpeated 55% sherry expressions ( 10, 11, 12 YO) as a set. Those are for the distant future. I then have a cask strength 10, 1-2 slightly peated 10s (55% sherry) and about 4 11 and 4 12, also 55% (the latter 8 still in Florida where they were shipped).
I did try a lightly peated 9 YO bourbon cask at 46% and was less impressed, but all 3 expressions so far have been good to fabulous, and I look forward to (over decades) opening a few more.
Raymond Armstrong released a lot of 10yo whiskies, so there is probably no standard 10yo. There are a lot of single cask editions or different batches available on the market. However, I'm talking about the 10yo that was released in 2013, matured in a bourbon cask and bottled at 46%. Most likely unpeated (not mentioned) but I detected a whiff of peat, maybe from the watersource or the barley. A 84 may be a bit low, but not by my standards, for me this was a whisky somewhere in the 84-86 range: an overall pleasant whisky but nothing earth-shocking. I've had better single cask releases by Bladnoch.
To me an 95 would be for an cask strength Lochside or so. Got the lightly peated 11yo Bladnoch 55% in my cabinet, but I'm going to keep that one closed until the future of the distillery is assured