Whisky Reviews

Black Bottle


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I recently had the pleasure of trying a blend which, to me, was completely new. How I hadn’t heard of it before I don’t know, either way it was a pleasant surprise to find an Islay blend priced at a highly affordable less than $3 for 16 ounces in an otherwise quite expensive pub! The whisky in question is, as the title suggests, Black Bottle (it’s funny how brainwashed you can become; as soon as I type “black” in a whisky article I automatically follow it with “lab” wanting to write label, damn you Johnnie Walker!) .

While I couldn’t find an official website for the blend – if you happen to know of or find it, I’d appreciate if you dropped a comment! – I understand that Black Bottle is a blend of whiskies from 7 of the Islay distilleries. The result isn’t the smoky peaty monster you might assume, however, but a quite light and deliciously moreish whisky that makes for a perfect session dram. The nose is light and presents a quite light – but by no means weak or dissatisfying – dose of peat, along with a whisper of smoke, as well as buttery honey and just a bit of dried fruit. While light, it’s very nicely balanced.

The palate isn’t dissimilar, and starts off with a mouth-watering sweetness that may remind you once again of honey, perhaps a bit of warm toffee, before fading into a light cloud of savory peat and a breeze of tantalizing smoke which stays with you throughout the finish. Another pleasant aspect of Black Bottle is the mouth feel; if you could imagine what a light (as in not as thick as the real stuff) warm caramel sauce might feel like, that’s it.

As you may have gathered from the above, I took a liking to Black Bottle rather quickly. Not because it’s the best whisky I’ve ever had –far from it – or even the best blend, technically speaking, but because it’s so darn drinkable without being boring in the slightest. It would also serve as an absolutely perfect to Islay whisky for anyone who wants to experience the unique taste of Islay peat and smoke without being overwhelmed by it. Add to that that you can pick up a bottle for under $26, and there’s no question about it; this is an awesome whisky that offers outstanding bang for your buck, and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend that you pick up a bottle.

Color: The pub was too dark to make out the color – I’ll return once I’ve bought a bottle!

Nose: All light –  peat, smoke, buttery honey, dried fruit.

Palate: Honey, warm toffee, light savory peat and smoke.

Want to buy this whisky? Available in: UK & World (click)

About Whisky Critic

My name is Martin and I live in Scotland. I love fine things in life, such as gourmet food, travelling around the world and, last but not least, whisky (naturally, I’m partial to a tipple of whiskey or bourbon as well). I have tasted hundreds of whiskies during the recent years and I finally decided to share my experience.

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  1. Florin

    November 2, 2012 at 2:15 pm

    It probably has a good proportion of Bunnahabhain in it, which explains why it’s not a peat monster.

  2. Justin

    November 6, 2012 at 3:01 am

    http://www.blackbottle.com is the Burns Stewart site for the blend.

  3. Jason Debly

    November 6, 2012 at 8:25 pm

    I suspect that Black Bottle is over looked by serious scotch whisky fans who assume such a low price cannot deliver a great flavorful Islay experience. They are mistaken.

    Black Bottle and White Horse are stellar cheap priced blends that everyone should try.

  4. Bourbon Intelligencer

    December 14, 2012 at 12:24 am

    Loved Black Bottle. A really great inexpensive peated blend. Quite impressed the first time I tried it this summer.

  5. Ben

    February 3, 2013 at 1:40 pm

    I’m forced to disagree. Having heard good things about BB, and being impressed with the low (hell, very low) price, I decided to give it a try. I was sorry I did, and recently polished off the bottle when I had a bad cold figuring my impaired sense of taste would limit the unpleasantness. Although this says it’s a blend of peated whiskies, BB is no substitute for any Islay Scotch I’ve had. The smokiness is very light and unsatisfying, and the there’s a nasty sort of chemical “blend” quality to the finish, if that makes any sense. If peat is what you want, for a few more dollars you can get the Bowmore “Legend,” which, though not as good as it’s cracked up to be, is a good bit better than BB. Never again.

  6. f4wizzo

    February 11, 2013 at 10:05 am

    I’ve seen and heard such great things about BB. Ralfy likes it. But I agree with Ben on the finish. The amazing thing is the butterscotch, caramel glob first taste that moves to peppery, band-aid, medicinal finish. A little water makes it drinkable for me. No doubt you get your money’s worth with this blend.

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