Not really a gem and here more for sentimental reasons than anything else given the strong connections between this typical Lowland distillery and Australia. It is now owned by Australian businessman, David Prior, who reopened it in June, 2017 after considerable refurbishment and the launch of a series of single malts using existing stocks. It also forms the basis of his recently introduced blend “Pure Scot”. A new visitors centre is on its way.
Other Australian connections are present. Jack Sellers, the distiller at Nant distillery in Tasmania learned some of his trade at Bladnoch and the new owner of Sullivans Cove, also in Tasmania, Adam Sable, gained experience at Bladnoch. No wonder much of the marketing of the new-look Bladnoch product appears to be managed from down-under.
It is an old distillery, dating from 1817, and it remained in the ownership of the McClelland family for nearly 100 years. It was sold in 1911 to the Belfast distillers, Dunville and Co. Thereafter, it suffered periods of closure and a succession of miscellaneous owners.
Given is geographic location, it was the last distillery in Scotland which I visited in 1987 at the conclusion of my Scottish itinerary in the footsteps of Alfred Barnard. By then, it was in the hands of the prominent blenders, Arthur Bell & Sons. Barnard had three more distilleries to visit. I had none as they had all disappeared in the intervening 100 years. Bladnoch is now the only distillery in a beautiful area of Scotland which once boasted 11 of that ilk.