Review: Black Bottle


Black Bottle 2Burn Stewart Distillers unveiled the new Black Bottle Scotch Whisky in September 2014 and it will be available to consumers later in the year. Black Bottle was originally crafted in 1879 by three brothers, Charles, David and Gordon Graham. They were tea blenders from Aberdeen and decided to up the ante and try their hands at whisky blending. After their inaugural Black Bottle blend, the brothers never looked back. Black Bottle is a premium blended Scotch Whisky which was acquired by Burn Stewart in 2003. Ian MacMillan recreated a whisky which is supposedly in line with the original recipe of Black Bottle. Ian toned down some of the smoky Islay influence which crept into the blend in the 1990s and reintroduced some of the north east coast identity to Black Bottle. The original black flask-shaped bottle which inspired the name of this whisky is back! The label reads: Gordon Graham’s Black Bottle and it comes in a very elaborate high-tech box complete with a self-playing video upon opening. Don’t be alarmed by the creep music accompanying the video – it’s just a short history about the blend. Due to their many similarities it’s logical that Black Bottle will compete directly with Johnnie Walker’s Black Label. Read on to find out how it stacks up!

Tasting Notes

Black Bottle 1Nose: pine, cinnamon, oaky, floral, honey

Mouth: peppery, soft, corn syrup (sweet), hint of smoke, heather peat, dried red cherries

Finish: nutmeg, all spice, hint of sherry sweetness, peppery, syrupy coating

Score: 83/100

Verdict: The nose on this whisky is filled with pine and cinnamon. There’s also a floral (tea) element complemented by some nice honey notes. I enjoyed the freshly cut oak aromas with hints of smoke. This whisky definitely has some sherry-aged whisky in it as evidenced by a distinct dried cherries flavor. It’s richer and more full bodied than most blends. There’s some sweet corn syrup flavor like you might find in a bourbon. Finally there’s some heather peat which comes across in the whisky as a hint of sweet smoke. On the finish there’s nutmeg, all spice and a hint of sherry. It’s soft and mellow as you might expect from a blend. There’s a hint of strange syrupy coating on the finish that I could do  without. But on the whole this whisky is quite enjoyable for a blend. It’s more complex than the popular Black Label. I recommend giving this a try especially if you’re new to the world of whisky. This is a nice blend to kick back and relax with during the winter months.

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