August 17, 2015 – The one remaining secret about Bladnoch Distillery’s future is out. When Australian entrepreneur David Prior announced his plans last month to acquire the Lowlands distillery out of administration and resume production, he said a new master distiller and blender had been hired but could not release the name yet. Now, it’s been announced that longtime Burn Stewart Distillers master blender and distiller Ian Macmillan is leaving the company to join Bladnoch on October 15. Macmillan’s expertise in blending will be useful in the distillery’s plans to bottle some of the aging stocks of whisky distilled before Bladnoch stopped production in 2009.
Macmillan has 40 years of experience in the Scotch Whisky industry, and has been in his current role at Burn Stewart since 1991. He’ll be leaving behind responsibility for Bunnahabhain, Deanston, and Tobermory distilleries (along with Tobermory’s Ledaig peated malts) to oversee the upgrades planned for Bladnoch’s revival. Prior told WhiskyCast earlier this month that he’s planning a substantial investment to upgrade Bladnoch’s aging infrastructure. The distillery was forced into court-ordered administration last year after members of the Armstrong family disagreed on whether to keep Bladnoch as an ongoing business or sell it.
Burn Stewart Distillers has not announced a successor for Macmillan yet. The company is a unit of South Africa-based Distell Ltd.