Rare Ayrshire 1975 35 years Signatory Cask Strength 45.5%

Distilled 21.02.1975, bottled 05.08.2010, matured in an ex-bourbon cask with cask number 553.

It’s an open secret that Signatory’s Rare Ayrshire contains single malt from Ladyburn, but they are not allowed to state so on the label.


Nose: Shortbread, honey. With water I get tart apples and after a while vanilla and sherbet powder.

Palate: Fruity oak, maltiness. More apple pie with water.

Comments: Not bad at all, though less complex than I could wish for.

Bladnoch 6 years Lightly Peated 58.5%

This completes the series. The first bottlings of Bladnoch from Armstrong & Co: Bourbon Matured, Sherry Matured and here Lightly Peated.

bladnoch6peatNose: Subtle smoke, wood fired sauna, vanilla and vanilla sauce. With water the vanilla is emphasised, but not in a good way. It is most reminiscent of vanilla sauce made from powder that has been somewhat burned and then left to coagulate in the pot over night. There is something artificially intense over the vanilla.

Palate: Cloying wood, vanilla, and wet, rotting, singed wood. More vanilla sauce with water, though lightly smoked vanilla sauce.

Comments: The advantage of owning one’s own distillery is being able to experiment. The disadvantage is that, unless you have access to unlimited means, you sooner or later have to bottle and sell the results of your experiments. This particular bottling is not a complete disaster, it’s drinkable, but only just. The palate is all right once the water has removed the rotting wood note, and again I’m left wanting some sort of complexity.

Bladnoch 6 years Sherry Matured 59.6%

So this is the sherry variety of the botlings released by Bladnoch in 2008. Tasting notes for the bourbon matured here, Lightly Peated to follow.

Nose: Butterscotch and dried cranberries, hints of oak. Water brings out yellow flowers and resin, but the main impression is still butterscotch.

Palate: Caramel sauce with a side note of burnt rubber. Did someone use the wrong kind of implement to stir the hot caramel? The burnt taste is emphasised with water, but the rubbery note fades a little.

Comments: No skimping on the cask influence here. When I tasted these three the first time, I seem to remember prefering the Bourbon Matured, but that has changed. This Sherry Matured is no star, but I wouldn’t mind drinking a few drams. It lacks complexity, and both nose and palate is dominiated by butterscotch, but the young age is camouflaged by the cask and it would work as a session whisky.

Bladnoch 8 years 55%

This 8-year-old was launched in 2009, and was the first broadly available bottling from Armstrong & Co from Bladnoch. Let’s see if it comes across as mote mature than the 6-year-old.


Nose: Spirit, lemon, lilacs, vanilla and malt. With water I get mealy, but still tart apples, heather and brushwood.

Palate: The vanilla is apparent, the malt hiding behind it. Dry wood and yeasty dough. With water it turns to fruit; lemon and apples. Oaky bitterness on the finish, which is middling to short.

Comments: Surprisingly drinkable at 55% for such a young and light whisky. If adding water, add more than just a few drops as with just a drop or two it turns a bit wild. Chemistry is odd stuff, but you obviously release congeners of some sort. With a bit more water it’s quite pleasant.

A light whisky, it still shows its age, but is far more promising than its younger brother.

On another note entirely: Notice the nice colours refected in the bottle in the picture above. It’s caused by the fact that I went out on the veranda to snap a picture, and this is what the sky looked like:


Bladnoch 6 years Bourbon Matured 57.3%

This is one of three Bladnoch bottlings from 2008, released to showcase the spirit made after Raymond Armstrong & Co purchased Bladnoch. The two others are Sherry Matured and Lightly Peated, tasting notes to follow. As the fate of the distillery is uncertain again, it seems an appropriate time to taste these. I hope a serious buyer turns up soon; that there is potential for great whisky to be made at Bladnoch is beyond doubt.


Nose: Young spirit. Citrus, especially lemon, and a somewhat chemical whiff, which leads the mind to lemon-scented cleaning solutions. There is also a flowery note. With water vanilla makes an appearance, and I am strongly reminded of the lemon-flavoured vanilla cream filling our local Italian cafe favours. I’m not such a big fan (I like my vanilla cream filling to taste of vanilla), but in a whisky it’s not all wrong. Unfortunately there is also a sweetish off-note and a whiff of barnyard (the sort of notes likely to be polished off with a few more years in the cask, though).

Palate: The malt is apparent on the palate, but the main impression is again young spirit. Vanilla bitterness and a light oaky note, as well. With water it turns undefinably nicer.

Comments: It’s not undrinkable, but it’s not a stirlig advertisement for Bladnoch, either. First and foremost 6 years is obviously not long enough for this spirit, but I’m also missing some complexity which is normally evident in young whiskies aspiring to be great when older.