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I stopped in at my new local pub for a cheeky dram on way home last night. Conveniently it has an excellent selection of nearly 100 whiskies to choose from (much more than I previously thought).
Of all the fine whisky brands that stood tall in front of me Black Bottle, a diminutive figure with low slouched shoulders and a fat neck, caught my eye in the corner.
It's a blend of whiskies from Islay - a sacred place revered by whisky lovers and worshiped for it's single malts - apparently Black Bottle includes whisky from all seven distilleries on the island.
Not much further information is available on what proportions go into the blend, though I can tell you that it's most closely aligned with Bunnahabhain who are owned by the same group, Burn Stewart.
So, an Islay blend.... intriguing!
First up it's not overly smokey - the characteristics you may associated with Islay - the peat is there but it's soft and sweet.
Nose: fruity and light with a peat smoke infusion and a hint of Honeysuckle. It's 40% so you don't get any strong wafts of alcohol.
Taste: Soft and velvety (it was slightly warm in the glass being a hot day), waves of light smoke. There is something both sweet and savory about it, like caramelised onions.
Finish: Lingering with a honied sweetness and light glowing ember of charcoal smoke.
A very enjoyable whisky and excellent value. A worthy addition to any collection.