Bladnoch Whisky

Bladnoch Distillery

  • Scotland
  • World Whiskies Awards 2024, San Francisco Spirits Competition, Queen’s Award for Enterprise 2022
Phone Number
  • +441988402605
  • Bladnoch, Newton Stewart DG8 9AB, United Kingdom

Bladnoch Distillery signage with stone building background.


History of Bladnoch Distillery

In 1817, John and Thomas McClelland were granted a licence to distil whisky on their Bladnoch farm, marking the establishment of Bladnoch Distillery in Scotland’s Lowlands. This section will explore the distillery’s inception, focusing on its founders and the initial setup that laid the groundwork for its future success.

Growth and Modernization

For nearly a century, the McClelland family oversaw the distillery, implementing significant modernizations. By its peak, Bladnoch boasted six washbacks and produced approximately 230,000 litres of alcohol annually, earning the nickname “Queen of the Lowlands.” This part of the history will delve into the distillery’s development and the family’s role in its evolution.

Changing Hands and Expansion

From the early 20th century through to the late 1900s, Bladnoch Distillery experienced several ownership changes. In 1966, the distillery expanded its stillhouse to four stills, marking a period of growth and innovation. This section will cover the various owners, including Arthur Bell & Sons and the Armstrong family, and how each contributed to the distillery’s legacy.

Revival and Modern Era

Australian entrepreneur David Prior acquired Bladnoch in 2015, initiating an extensive refurbishment. By 2017, under the guidance of Master Distiller Ian MacMillan, production resumed, celebrating its 206th anniversary as one of the oldest and largest privately owned Scotch whisky distilleries. The arrival of Master Distiller Dr. Nick Savage in 2019 further highlighted Bladnoch’s commitment to excellence. This segment will highlight the distillery’s recent developments, focusing on the revival efforts and the impact of new leadership.

Bladnoch Today

Today, Bladnoch Distillery stands as a testament to its rich history and dedication to the craft of whisky making, celebrating over two centuries of operation. This final section will summarize the distillery’s journey, its current status, and its vision for the future, emphasizing its significance in the Scotch whisky industry.

Awards Won by Bladnoch Distillery

  1. World Whiskies Awards 2024:
    • Bladnoch 19: Gold Medal in the 13-20 years, Scotch Lowlands category.
    • Bladnoch 14: Silver Award in the 13-20 years Single Malt, Scotch Lowlands category.
    • Bladnoch Alinta: Silver Award in the Single Malt NAS, Scotch Lowlands category.
    • Bladnoch Samsara: Bronze Award in the Single Malt NAS, Scotch Lowlands category.
    • Additionally, the Bladnoch 19 yo PX Sherry Cask won the Golden Dram category at the Drambusters Golden Dram 2023 Festival​​.
  2. Queen’s Award for Enterprise 2022:
    • Bladnoch Distillery was honoured with this prestigious award for excellence in international trade, one of the highest business accolades in the UK​​.
  3. San Francisco Spirits Competition:
    • Bladnoch Adela: Matured for 15 years in Oloroso Sherry casks, awarded Double Gold in 2017.
    • Bladnoch Talia: A 25-year-old single malt finished in new oak casks, also received Double Gold in 2017.

Bladnoch Distillery Tour Information and Experience

The Bladnoch Distillery offers an immersive experience for those interested in the art of Scotch whisky making. Located in the scenic Lowlands of Scotland, this distillery, with over 200 years of history, provides guests with a variety of tour options to explore its rich heritage and meticulous whisky production process.

Classic Tour & Taste at Bladnoch Distillery

One of the key tours offered is the Classic Tour & Taste, which allows visitors to discover how Bladnoch and Pure Scot Whiskies are crafted. This tour provides an insightful journey through the key sites of the distillery, which has been operational for 206 years. Participants are treated to a tasting session that includes three of the distillery’s favourite releases from the Bladnoch and Pure Scot range​​.

The 1817 Tour: A Deep Dive into Distilling

For those seeking a more in-depth experience, the 1817 Tour is an excellent choice. Lasting 2 hours, it provides a hands-on opportunity to use the same tools and equipment as the production team to analyse malted barley, wash, and spirit, offering a deeper understanding of the distilling process​​.

Unique Features and Offerings

The distillery is independently owned and has a more relaxed “cottage industry” feel compared to larger commercial distilleries. It boasts seven different expressions of Bladnoch Malt, making it a unique find for whisky enthusiasts. The distillery also hosts live music events, adding an entertainment element to visits​​.

Tour and Scotch Whisky Tasting Experience

The Tour and Scotch Whisky Tasting experience is designed for groups of 1-8 people and lasts approximately 1 hour. Participants will taste two whiskies and a new Bladnoch spirit, providing a comprehensive tasting experience that showcases the distillery’s craft and innovation​​.

Planning Your Visit

Visitors are encouraged to plan ahead and book their tours in advance, as the distillery operates by appointment only to ensure a smooth customer experience. Please note that children under the age of 14 are not permitted on tours, and takeaway drams are available for drivers over 18​​.

Shop and Café Melba

To explore the full range of Bladnoch and Pure Scot Whiskies or to find a beautiful gift, the shop at Bladnoch Distillery is open to all, regardless of participation in a tour. Additionally, the on-site Café Melba offers a selection of light lunches, desserts, cakes, and an excellent drinks menu, including whiskies, cocktails, wines, beers, and soft drinks​​.

Flask & Barrel Review of Bladnoch Distillery

As a whisky collector who’s seen their fair share of distilleries, I’ve got to say, my trip to Bladnoch Distillery was a standout experience, deserving a solid 4.7 out of 5. Nestled in the lush Scottish Lowlands, Bladnoch isn’t just another stop on the whisky trail; it’s a deep dive into two centuries of distilling craft.

From the get-go, the warmth of the welcome matched the depth of the drams. The tour itself was a fascinating blend of history, technique, and, of course, tasting. Unlike some of the larger, more commercial tours I’ve been on, Bladnoch offered a more intimate and detailed insight into their process. It’s clear they take immense pride in their craft, and it shines through in the passionate storytelling of their guides.

Tasting Bladnoch’s range was the highlight for me. Each dram was a testament to the distillery’s commitment to quality and innovation. From the rich complexity of the 19-year-old to the vibrant nuances of the Alinta, every sip was a revelation. The 17-year-old, finished in Californian red wine casks, was particularly memorable for its smoothness and depth of flavor. It’s no wonder they’ve racked up awards, including a coveted Gold Medal at the World Whiskies Awards.

What sets Bladnoch apart, in my view, is its ability to balance tradition with a forward-looking approach to whisky making. The visitor center, state-of-the-art yet respectful of its heritage, encapsulates this ethos perfectly.

If I had to nitpick, the only thing holding back a full 5/5 was the accessibility of some areas of the tour for those with mobility issues. But for the sheer quality of the whisky and the richness of the experience, Bladnoch is a must-visit for any whisky enthusiast.

Frequently Asked Questions

What restaurants are near Bladnoch Distillery?

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Here are the 3 restaurants with ratings above 4:

Cafe Rendezvous: It has a rating of 4.7 stars on Google Maps. For reservations, you can reach out to them on their phone at +44 1988 402074. Their address is 2 Agnew Cres, Wigtown, Newton Stewart DG8 9DS, United Kingdom.

Roadhouse Blues Ltd: It has a rating of 4.5 stars on Google Maps. For reservations, you can reach out to them on their phone at +44 1671 820350. Their address is The Galloway Fisherman, Carsluith, Newton Stewart DG8 7DN, United Kingdom.

The Riverbank Restaurant: It has a rating of 4.6 stars on Google Maps. For reservations, you can reach out to them on their phone at +44 1671 403330. Their address is Goods Ln, Newton Stewart DG8 6EH, United Kingdom.

What hotels are near Bladnoch Distillery?

The Crown Hotel: It has a rating of 4.5 stars on Google Maps. For reservations, you can reach out to them on their phone at +44 1671 402727. Their address is 102 Queen St, Wigtown Rd, Newton Stewart DG8 6JW, United Kingdom.

Creebridge House Hotel: It has a rating of 4.6 stars on Google Maps. For reservations, you can reach out to them on their phone at +44 1671 402121. Their address is 6 Creebridge, Newton Stewart DG8 6NP, United Kingdom.

The Bruce Hotel: It has a rating of 4.0 stars on Google Maps. For reservations, you can reach out to them on their phone at +44 1671 638090. Their address is 88 Queen St, Newton Stewart DG8 6JL, United Kingdom.