Up until recently, the majority of bottlings from Bladnoch you'd see on shelves would be independent bottlings – from the likes of Gordon & Macphail, Duncan Taylor, Adelphi and SMWS amongst others – or older official bottlings, such as Diageo Rare Malts.
That all changed in 2015 when Aussie businessman David Prior purchased the Bladnoch Distillery in south west Scotland, becoming the latest in a long line of owners over the lowland distillery's nearly 200-year history.
After an initial launch of its non-sage statement (NAS) Pure Scot blended whisky, the distillery has now released three single malts: the 25 year old Talia, 15 year old Adela, and the NAS Samsara, which is the focus of this week's review.
Despite not carrying an age statement, distillery closure periods tell us the whisky in Samsara would have been distilled in at least 2008 if not earlier, making it approximately 8 years old at minimum. Bladnoch has also taken the decision to bottle non-chill filtered, and at 46.7% alcohol by volume – two big ticks in my books.
The bottle design is stunning – the thick glass base, weighty stopper and metallic label all exude quality and wouldn't look out of place next to a bottle of Hibiki, which is saying something.
Colour: Pale yellow gold.
Nose: Youthful and expressive at first. Peaches and mango, with a touch of dryness, and some Posca market pens (remember those?)
Palate: Apricots and marmalade. Sweet tropical fruit juice poppers (yes, this really brings back some primary school memories!). Hints of drying oak, and crayon. After a good 20 minutes in the glass, the palate became a lot rounder and more creamy (still sweet), and actually quite moreish.
Finish: Long, slightly oaky, with a residual (and enjoyable) sugary-spice.
Rating: 88/100. A nice, smooth easy-sipping whisky – one which (after time) I came to really enjoy, and found myself going back to more and more.
Details: 46.7% ABV, A$130