Founded in 1817 Bladnoch distillery would remain in the McClelland name until the turn of the next century. The 1890s were a particularly tough period for the Lowlands region due to the Pattison Crash (overproduction of cheap whisky killed the market), but Bladnoch was one of the few survivors due to producing better quality whisky than its other Lowlands contemporaries. This is where the distillery gained the name: “The Queen of the Lowlands”.
It continued under the Irish company Wm Dunville & Co. Ltd until the start of World War 2, when whisky production was halted. It would not be until 1957 that production once again started, from there it would change hands a few more times, at one point being part of Bell’s portfolio. By 1994 the distillery was mothballed.
It would be rediscovered by two Irish brothers while on a holiday, who loved the site so much that they purchased the distillery. Originally intending to turn the site into a holiday village, they changed their minds and luckily they wanted to start producing whisky again. Distillation restarted in 2000, with the first releases coming out in 2009. By 2014 however, the distillery ran out of capital and went into administration.
The distillery was then purchased by Australian cereal and yoghurt mogul David Prior in 2015, who invested much of his fortune into the distillery. Extensive renovations took place over the next two years, until the first casks of the new Bladnoch were laid in 2017. This distillery has had few modern releases yet, but with industry legends such as Dr Nick Savage, the former master distiller at Macallan it certainly has potential. Its independent ownership and commitment to producing authentic Lowlands malts certainly makes it a standout.