Up until very recently, the majority of Bladnoch bottlings 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, like this Diageo Rare Malts bottling.
That all changed in 2015 though, when Aussie businessman David Prior purchased Bladnoch Distillery, becoming the latest in a long line of owners over the distillery's nearly 200-year history.
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. The distillery has also taken the decision to bottle non-chill filtered, and at 46.7%. Two big ticks in my books.
There's no denying the bottle design (used for all 3 single malts) is stunning, with its thick glass base, weighty stopper and metallic label. It exudes quality and wouldn't look out of place next to a bottle of Hibiki (which is saying something).
...but ultimately, it's about the liquid inside. So...how's it fare?
Bladnoch 'Samsara' (46.7% ABV, NAS, Lowlands, Scotland, $129.99AUD)
Colour: Pale yellow gold.
Nose: Youthful and expressive at first. Peaches and mango, with a touch of dryness, and some Posca pens (remember those?!)
Palate: Apricots and marmalade. Sweet tropical fruit juice poppers (wow this is really bringing back some primary school memories). Hints of drying oak, and some crayons. After a good 20 minutes in the glass, the palate became a lot rounder and more creamy (still sweet) - actually quite moreish.
Finish: Long, slightly oaky, with a residual (and enjoyable) sugary-spice.