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Black Bottle

Black Bottle, Dark Humor

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RReview by @Rigmorole

24th Jan 2013


  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

I first heard about this whisky from Ralfy on Youtube. He really talked it up, saying it could fool connosrs at a bar into thinking it was a real Islay and not some half-azzed teaser.

Personally I don't think it could fool a malty monkey (as Ralfy says), unless that malt lover was already on the tipsy side and not up to par with his (or her) taste buds.

Black Bottle is not bad, but it's not good either. The grain alcohol does evaporate a bit, mellow the bite that you will first get in a pour of Black Bottle, but it never really comes round for me.

I don't process grain alcohol as well as regular single malt. So that right there means it won't sit as well with me. In other words, more than two drams of this bad boy will put me under the weather a bit the next day, or at least reaching for my sunglasses.

The nose on my Black Bottle better with time in the glass. The body does indeed have tantalizing hints of some fair whiskies from Isla in there, but they seem almost ruined by the grain. Kind of like a glass of great wine with about 60% MD 20/20 bum wine mixed in there. Black Bottle brand says the grain alcohol is high quality, but I have my doubts. That's how the company can charge $23 per bottle, but getting by on the grain alcohol to balance out the good stuff. One thing's for sure, the gain hooch in Black Bottle ain't no Stoli Crystal, that's for sure.

I would say that the finish is better than the initial attack on the tongue. However, even the finish doesn't end well, however. It seems as though it will, and then it trails off into a bitterness that is unforgiving. After you've drunk a bit of the stuff, it begins to seem better. It's almost as if you tastebuds magically go down about 20 IQ points from some spell or something. You start say, "Eh, it's really not bad. In fact, I think I under rated it." And then, the next day, you start out saying, "Oh Jesus, it isn't as good as I remembered it." After two more glasses, you're once again saying, "You know, I was too hard on this dram. For $23, how can I complain?" And so on.

As for the price, it is stellar. In Oregon, it's only $23. This said, it has been discontinued. So good look finding a bottle.

My attitude about this whisky is to go a notch up and get a 10 year old bottle of something decent from Islay if you crave the peat and smoke and sea air. Or go for a dram of a peated whisky from the highlands or something. Ardmore is the main single malt in Teachers. It's quite good. Or, go for Sheep Dip. It can be had in bars for an even more reasonable price than a bottle in a liquor store. I think the prices for that vatted single malt must have gone up in the past few years and the bars are still pouring from their older (cheaper) bottles.

As for comparing this bottle with Teachers or more accurately with Islay Mist, I can't do it because I have yet to taste those other blends with grain in them. I'm starting to learn towards inexpensive vatted malts like Famous Grouse, Black Grouse or Sheep Dip, rather than the blended stuff with grain alcohol.

At any rate, I'm not overly impressed with Black Bottle, even considering the excellent price value. After about 20 minutes in the glass, it comes around but it never fully satisfies. It's like a girl you take home only to realize that she is covered in zits under her clothing or is wearing a girdle to hide her fat rolls, or that she has on a padded bra under her sweater. Then, again, these days I probably would disappoint the lady who took me home. I "carry my weight" better than average, or so says my lady of the manse!

Point in fact: I haven't found myself in a one night stand situation since I was 24 years old, and those one nighters never work out well, as most of us learned the hard way, sooner or later. So I'm really not one to talk, especially when it comes to the use of crude analogies. I guess the Black Bottle brings out my blackest sardonic wit (or lack thereof)

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bourbondrinker commented

I guess I'm lucky that I can't find that bottle down here eh? Very colourful review there...

10 years ago 0

PeatyZealot commented

After the 2nd bottle of this I have to conclude the same; not enough peat and too young and grainish. JW Black label is a good blend for me, still love it!

10 years ago 0

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