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Black Bottle

Back In Black

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@talexanderReview by @talexander

15th Oct 2015


  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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Well, it's been a while since I've reviewed anything (life gets in the way of whisky, unfortunately) so let's do a fairly straightforward, easy-to-find scotch: Black Bottle. Note that last year I reviewed an older bottling of a mini, from the early 1990s; this is the current bottling that I just picked up a few days ago (it has been decanted for about a week).

The colour is a medium amber. On the nose there is barley sugar (it's rather sweet), malt and a hint of peat. Quite herbal with thyme and mint. Apple skins and overripe pears. Bandages from the Islay ingredients. Slightly dusty. Not a terribly complex nose, but has enough elements (peat smoke, fruit, medicinal notes) to provide interest. Water kills the nose though; proceed accordingly.

On the palate the peat is a little more restrained; what remains is a fairly generic combination of fruit, malt and oak. The peat is there but it's not very smoky - just biting and herbal enough. Water ups the malt and adds a brininess. A little underwhelming but very drinkable.

The finish is tropical fruits, with a heathery, cottony quality (I don't quite know how else to put it) and touches of oak. A salty tang lingers in the mouth. My research tells me that most people feel that the older bottlings of Black Bottle (like the mini I had) are superior to the recent ones. Well, I disagree. I noted in my old review that I had tried this new bottling in Scotland, and the older mini simply was not up to snuff; now that I try this one, although it has many flaws, it still holds up as a decent, very drinkable and enjoyable dram. Well worth the price, as long as you don't expect to be blown away.

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Benancio commented

The old version was a blend of all the Islay distilleries with some grain alcohol as well. The older bottles had that statement written on the label. Sometime around 2008 Black Bottle removed that statement and it lost most of its smoke and became sweeter. Around 2013 Black Bottle repackaged and re blended their formula. I have not tried the new version but reviews are much like yours. "A little underwhelming but very drinkable ", that's not a bad thing. For the price and 83 points, it sounds like a nice scotch to have on hand. Thx for the review..

8 years ago 0

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