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Issue 41 - BladnochisastrongSouthWesterly

Whisky Magazine Issue 41
July 2004

 

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BladnochisastrongSouthWesterly

IttakessomegettingtobutScotland'smostsoutherndistilleryisworththeeffort.Evenwhenit'ssilenced

Afterdrivingforsomehours,IdecidedthatthequickestwaytogettoBladnochisprobablytoflytoBelfast,hireacar,taketheferrybacktoStranraerandpotteralongtothedistillery–fromwhichyou'lldeducethatBladnochisn'tthesortofplaceyoufindbyaccident.

Yetthat'swhatownerRaymondArmstrongwillhaveyoubelievehappenedtohim.Lookingforaholidayhouse,sothestorygoes,hestumbledacrossthedistilleryand,findingitclosed,snappeditup.Now,giventhatRaymondhailsfromtheEmeraldIsle,theremightjustbeatouchoftheblarneyinthere–thoughtheguidewillpointouthisholidayhomeasyoutourroundthismosttraditionalofLowlanddistilleries,sothestorymustbetrue.

So,whereisthisremarkableplaceexactly?Well,BladnochisScotland'smostsoutherlydistillery,justamileorsooutsideWigtown,Scotland'sanswertoHay-on-Wye.FindDumfriesonthemap,gowest,andifyouhittheIrishSeayou'vegonetoofar.ThisisalargelyoverlookedpartofScotland,ajumpingoffpointfortravellersheadingfortheStranraerferry,despiteitsconsiderablecharmsandancienthistory.

IrishmonksbroughtChristianityhere,throughthemonasteryatnearbyWhithorn,soit'snottoofancifultoimaginethatdistillingcamewiththem.However,Bladnochtracesitshistorybackonlyasfaras1818,whenitwasownedbytheMcClellands,alocalfarmingfamily.By1911,itwasanIrishconcernthoughitcontinuedtochangehandsrightthroughthelastcentury.

LatterlyoperatedbyArthurBell&SonsofPerth,itwasacquiredbyUDV(laterDiageo)whomothballedthedistilleryin1993.AlittlelaterRaymondArmstrongtookawrongturnonhismotoringholidayandBladnochwasassuredofanewleaseoflife.

However,Diageohasimpo...

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