Ordering Whisky From Scotland by Mail in California

Last week I ordered a bottle of Bladnoch directly from the distillery in Scotland. Bladnoch had been shut down 1993 but was reopened in 2001, and it is unavailable in local San Francisco whisky shops except by special order.

Bladnoch is one of three lowland distillers now in operation, alongside Auchentoshan and Glenkinchie (there were once 118). I had just recently tried the Auchentoshan 3 Wood for the first time, and enjoyed it. I was curious.

I ordered through the online form (easy). The people at Bladnoch were kind enough to warn me via email that the delivery might be confiscated, and give me the chance to cancel the deal. In the email, they said they had a customer in New Orleans who orders regularly from them via regular post, and has always received his bottles. But they made no guarantees.

I decided to go ahead and see what happened.

Well, yesterday a box arrived. The top was sealed with cheap packing tape, and it looked like it had been opened and inspected. But there it was — my Bladnoch had arrived intact, along with a nice bonus tasting glass.

By law, the post office is authorized to refuse delivery of unlicensed, out-of-state liquor imports into California, so any time you try this it’s a gamble. But I can now attest that this can work.

Bladnoch is just beginning to sell some 6 year olds from new distillings that it is offering as a preview of what’s to come ($68), but I decided to go for the 18 year old ($78).

The total was about $115 after the exchange, including the rather stiff $36 shipping charge. They’ll only ship bottles outside the U.K. singly, so that’s an unavoidable premium.

This is about comparable to prices for Bladnoch independent bottlings available through special order at K&L ($95-$125, including tax) though quite a bit pricier than 13yo and 14yo Bladnoch independent bottlings at the Whisky Shop ($82-$96, including tax).

More detailed distillery notes for the index and tasting notes on the Bladnoch 18 to follow.

~ by whisky1 on August 24, 2008.

2 Responses to “Ordering Whisky From Scotland by Mail in California”

  1. […] Mark, Celebrates with New Crystal I got my first Glencairn glass last week with a shipment of Bladnoch from Scotland. I like the glass a lot. It has a tapered top, which helps concentrate the nose. It […]

  2. […] to spend $100 or more for a single malt scotch, and I’ve been doing my share of spending. I recently dropped $115 including shipping for an 18 year old Bladnoch cask strength. I also spent about $70 (after discount) on an 8 year old Hazelburn, from the highly regarded […]

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