The Samhla Collection

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We are excited to unveil Bladnoch: The Dragon Series, a collection of five exceptional single malt whiskies that celebrate the natural unpredictability and captivating beauty of the whisky making craft. Each Iteration in the series captures a pivotal moment in the whisky making process, showcasing its unique and unpredictable character.

The Dragon Series draws its inspiration from the Dragon Curve, a fractional curve in mathematics that exemplifies the timeless battle between Science and Nature, predictability and chaos, natural order and beauty. The Dragon Curve has a simple origin, suggesting a stable and predictable pattern, with few clues given as to the underlying complexity. With each iterative step, a structure emerges, revealing unpredictability and chaos. Yet, as the iterations approach infinity, these chaotic and variable intermediates conclude with a natural and beautiful order.

 Drawing parallels with whisky production, The Dragon Series pays homage to the multifaceted journey of whisky production. Every step in the process presents an array of variables, seemingly chaotic and unpredictable. Nevertheless, through skilled craftsmanship, guided by the wisdom of their predecessors, the final whisky always becomes beautiful through each of these golden iterations. The Dragon Series showcases this incredible journey, highlighting the scale of variability in the process, while celebrating the inherent beauty that emerges from each step of the way. 

Bladnoch’s Master Distiller Dr. Nick Savage remarked, “The Dragon Curve demonstrates the science versus nature of predictability, chaos, natural order, and beauty. The building of The Dragon Series whiskies really brought this to life in the sample room. We have attempted to demonstrate the resultant beauty that occurs from the natural unpredictability inherent within our whisky making process, which we endeavour to control over the decades. These five expressions of the Dragon Series have evolved to really capture the essence of each iteration of our process. It will be fascinating to hear everyone’s personal interpretation and appreciation for our whisky making. The Dragon Series also gives us great confidence and excitement upon which to build and bring to life more concepts with Bladnoch in the future”.

1st Iteration: The Field – Field to Distillery

The 1st Iteration of The Dragon Series, is The Field, and tells the journey from Field to Distillery, the origin story for all Bladnoch's whiskies. Each year, barley is harvested from the farmer's fields and undergoes the process of malting. The resulting malted barley serves as the primary raw material for the distillery, but even before it arrives at the facility, it has already been shaped by the unpredictable and diverse forces of nature, environment, and the malting process. Bottled at 46.7% ABV and matured in refill bourbon casks, this single malt whisky captures the essence of the Field, providing a tantalising taste of the natural beauty that drives Bladnoch's whisky-making process.

2nd Iteration: The Spirit – Malt to Spirit

 The 2nd Iteration of The Dragon Series, The Spirit, captures the first stage of distillery production, taking the malted barley from the Field through three pivotal processes: mashing, fermentation, and distillation. Each step amplifies the potential for variability and unpredictability, with numerous factors like gravities, temperatures, and cut points requiring an acute understanding from our mash and stillmen, ensuring the consistent quality of our new make spirit. The resulting Lowland floral and fruity distillery character is now ready to move on to the next stage - maturation in our oak casks. Bottled at 48.3% ABV, this whisky is the quintessential example of a Lowlands whisky and comes from an artful blend of 1st fill and refill bourbon casks, offering a harmonious balance of flavours and aromas. 

3rd Iteration: The Casks – Tree to Cask

The third iteration of The Dragon Series, The Casks, showcases another crucial element of variability within the parallel process of cask coopering. Crafting Bladnoch's casks requires careful consideration of numerous variables, including the oak species, growth environment, and technical aspects of toasting, charring, and seasoning. Each factor has the potential to create a butterfly effect on the final whisky if the natural chaos within is not crafted by the cooper. This expression is bottled at 49.9% ABV and masterfully combines the richness of 1st fill American Oak bourbon casks with the complexity of 1st fill Spanish oak sherry casks, delivering a unique and robust flavour profile. 

4th Iteration: The Ageing – New to Mature 

The 4th Iteration of the Dragon Series, The Ageing, focuses on the longest, and probably most intricate and least understood aspect of whisky making: maturation. Casks filled with new make now undergo years, if not decades, of interactions with their environment, building an elusive and intricate structure for the whisky to come. Those who lay the casks down pass them on to future generations who will be the custodians of the eventual results. The seasonal fluctuations in temperature and humidity, warehouse type and location, as well as the evaporation of the "angels' share" all contribute to significant complexity to manage. To accentuate these effects, casks have been chosen from the darkest and coldest areas in Bladnoch's warehousing for the 4th Iteration. Bottled at 51.1%, this whisky is matured in Red Wine Hogshead and 1st fill bourbon casks.

5th Iteration: The Decision – Complexity to Simplicity

The 5th and final Iteration of The Dragon Series zeroes in on the meticulous craftsmanship involved in whisky making in the sample room where the decisions are made for the final products. Here, all the variabilities and unpredictabilities are considered and weighed against each other, with a keen eye on future prospects and a steadfast commitment to delivering a consistent and sustainable whisky experience. The intricate complexity of the entire process is streamlined and simplified in these final steps, and the skills to build maturing stocks flexibly, the variability and unpredictability of everything in the process curve to this point should not be noticed by anyone if we make the right decisions. The final whisky of this collection, The Decision, is bottled at a robust 53.1%, using a masterful blend of Hungarian Tokaji wine casks and Spanish Canasta sherry casks.

The Dragon Series is a testament to Bladnoch's meticulous attention to detail and unparalleled craftsmanship, resulting in a truly exceptional collection of whiskies. The Dragon Series will be available to buy online via Bladnoch’s website and in their Visitor Centre in the heart of Dumfries and Galloway and will be sold globally through Bladnoch’s network of distributors.

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