Inverleven 1990 (Gordon and MacPhail) (70cl, 40.0%)

Lowland, whisky

Sadly a distillery which has reached the end of it’s life, the stills of Inverleven fell into complete silence in 1991. Inverleven was founded by Hiram Walker and Sons in the late 1930’s at the Dumbarton complex.

The site in Dumbarton is owned by George Ballatine and Son and plays host to continuous stills. This allows the production of both malt and grain whisky. The complex produces the whisky for the Ballantines blended products. Inverleven draws its water from Loch Lomond, and sits by the River Clyde.

A 1990 vintage Inverleven, bottled by stalwart independent bottlers, Gordon and MacPhail.


I poured the whisky in to a Copita nosing glass, added a teaspoon of water and left the whisky covered to develop for ten minutes. This whisky is very light gold in colour, akin to new jewelry.

The nose is initially soft with hints of grain, and citrus up front. As the nose builds more sweetness and a light spice from the grain becomes more prominent. Towards the end of the aroma toffee and more notes of cereal round of a very laid back Lowland nose.

The taste is quite soft, laid back and maybe not as much body as hoped. There are is again a malt sweetness, followed by fudge and toffee. Citrus and a slight peppery note come through followed by vanilla and a twist of orange at the end.

The finish is soft and maybe slightly short, this whisky is pleasant and quietly complex. As an introduction to Lowland whisky this, if you find is a great first step.



Bladnoch 1991 14 Year Old (50%)

Lowland, whisky

Bladnoch Distillery is a Single malt Scotch whisky distillery in south west Scotland. It is one of six remaining Lowland distilleries, located at Bladnoch, near Wigtown, Dumfries and Galloway. The distillery is situated on the banks of the River Bladnoch, and is the most southerly whisky distillery in Scotland.

During the 1890s incidents which are not specified struck the distilling industry; these could have been the reduction nationwide in the production of barley, a possible rise in excise duty and the growth of the various temperance movements. The other distilleries in Galloway were forced to close but Bladnoch survived. Between 1911 and 1937 it was owned by Wm Dunville & Co. Ltd, an Irish company, and on the outbreak of World War II whisky production ceased, but malt continued to be produced until 1949 when the distillery closed until 1957.

Upon re-opening under new ownership whisky production began again and continued under a number of different owners until 1983 when Bell’s took over and initiated a programme of modernisation and computerisation. In 1987 the United Distillers Group took over Bell’s and continued the modernisation as a result of which the weekly production rose to over 8,000 imperial gallons (36,000 L), more than eight times the output in 1887.

The mothballed distillery was discovered by Irishman Raymond Armstrong while on holiday in the area in 1994. After several years spent finding and replacing the old plant and equipment, the distillery reopened for production in late 2000. The first 8-year-old product produced by the new team became available in 2009.

The company operating Bladnoch Distillery, Co-Ordinated Development Services, went into liquidation on 10 March 2014. The distillery was bought in July 2015 by Australian yoghurt mogul David Prior, who had sold his five yoghurt business for £52m in August 2014. At the moment the shop is not open, nor are distillery tours available.


I poured the whisky in to a Copita nosing glass, added a teaspoon of water and left the whisky covered to develop for ten minutes. The whisky pours a light honeyed golden colour, leaving long legs flowing down the inside of the glass.

The nose is initially quite floral with notes of honey and grass coming forward. This is followed by more mineral tones almost like wet sandstone on a beach. As the aroma develops hits of elderflower and red fruit come through initally softly but this becomes more prominent through the development. At the very finish there are waves of white stone fruit and pear. A really fresh and floral opening to the whisky.

The flavour is initially quite soft with hints of stone fruit but as the whisky develops on the palate this almost gain momentum. Floral flavours teamed with peach and apricot flavours build and build. This is followed by notes of baked apple and lime huge amounts going on in this very well balanced whisky. The taste finished with a ribbon of chili spice running through the dominating fruit and floral flavours.

The finish is long and dry with notes of oak and dried herbs.

This whisky is excellent and I will be keeping my eye out for Bladnoch in the future! The only examples I can find are at auction of a Gordon and Macphail bottling available HERE!