gone grant bladnoch review caperdonich whisky sponge

Gone Grant 31 Years / Bladnoch 34 Years (Whisky Sponge)

Always a pleasure to dive into whatever Decadent Drinks (or the Whisky Sponge) has in store. Most of their whiskies manage to capture our imagination, and today’s two single malts are no exception. First, the cleverly named Gone Grant 31 Years, followed by a Bladnoch 34 Years (a sequel to a release from last year).

The Gone Grant 31 Years might be the first time I’ve come across an undisclosed whisky from a closed distillery. It’s a reference to Glen Grant’s sister distillery, Caperdonich, which was originally known as Glen Grant #2. It was constructed in 1898 across the road on a site currently owned by coppersmiths Forsyths Ltd. The distillery wasn’t renamed until 1977.

Should you doubt my deductive skills, according to the Decadent Drinks website, the Gone Grant 31 Years was distilled at “a closed Speyside distillery that sounds like ‘Cap her sporran itch’.” Classic Sponge…

Today’s second whisky is a Bladnoch 34 Years. A small amount of this refill cask was bottled last year as a Special Edition. The remainder was left to continue maturing with additional head space in the cask. More oxidation, which theoretically could lead to a more concentrated, fruitier successor.

gone grant 1993 31 years caperdonich whisky sponge

Gone Grant 1993 31 Years (43.9%, Whisky Sponge, Edition No. 89)

Nose: The waxy notes stand out immediately, followed by notes of sandalwood, melted butter, a touch of fennel and some very elegant fruits. Think jammy apricots, but also pear skin and pineapple. Slightly tart as well. There’s a sliver of chalky minerals too.
Taste: The waxiness translates to a wonderful mouthfeel. A minor pinch of pepper, but also a delightful tanginess, sweet fruits, a sliver of cotton candy and some pollen as well. Somewhat austere, but in a way that I associate with Pulteney, so that’s a good thing.
Finish: Medium to long. Lingering waxiness. Gentle oak. Something slightly herbacious. Ending on a honey-like sweetness.

Textbook older style single malt from the 1990s, which sounds contradictory, but here we are. Over three decades old, the waxiness of the Gone Grant / Cap her sporran itch / Caperdonich (or whatever you want to call it) is a characteristic that elevates this whisky to a higher level than most. Available directly from Decadent Drinks.

bladnoch 1990 34 years edition 90 whisky sponge

Bladnoch 1990 34 Years (55.1%, Whisky Sponge, Edition No. 90)

Nose: Slivers of papaya and mango intertwined with beeswax, oats and orange peel. There are hints of Werther’s Original, honey and buttercups, as well as a touch of ripe banana and gorse. Big and rich with more of a zesty citrus influence there at the end.
Taste: Bold malt. This has everything you’d hope for. There’s a candy-esque sweetness counterbalanced by citrus-y fruits, quince jelly and madeira cake. There’s a gentle leafiness to go with a sprinkle of pepper and a general zestiness that’s very attractive.
Finish: Long. Grassy, buttery and very citrus-forward with a gentle bitter touch and some faint notes of aniseed.


For me, Bladnoch has become this below-the-radar distillery. I've had some lovely whiskies of theirs, but it's rarely bottled independently anymore and the official releases just don't manage to grab my attention. Glad to see Whisky Sponge highlighting how good Bladnoch can be. Available directly from Decadent Drinks.


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