The standard Black Label was always my whisky of choice after a few beers, usually swamped with ice and knocked back pretty quickly. Oh how I've changed ;)
I still think the 12 BL is a solid blend but one to catch in the sales as it's gone a bit pricey. In that vein, I saw this on sale for £25 recently and took the plunge, just for a change, you understand?
On the nose it's lovely, actually. A peat note that reminds me of Caol Ila, surprisingly, with lots of charred smoky notes. A little sweetness and fruitiness is there as well. No grain is overtly present but probably adding to the sweet notes.
Taste wise though is where it starts to falter. My first sip was so uninspiring I thought I'd missed my mouth. OK, there's some slight sweet and sour tang that develops into a bitterness. The peat notes seem to have flown away on the sea breeze. What is there isn't unpleasant to be fair, there's just not a lot going on.
Finish is fairly short, bitter tannins and perhaps a slight tang of peat residue clinging on for dear life. A little salty note?
Overall, it's not bad - it's not! - it's just not that inspiring and you feel let down after the promise of the nose. Would I have paid the asking of £40? Hmm! What I will say is that I'm glad i got this on offer and £25 seems about right for this. I rarely mix whisky, maybe the odd Old-Fashioned or a more budget blend on ice but something tells me this would go well in coffee if that's your thing? Perhaps when the cold sets in I'll make a flask to take out on the golf course and top it up with some of this. I'll be getting the 12 in future.
I picked one up at LAX duty free about 4 or 5 years ago. What I actually wanted was a litre of Ardbeg Ten. There was one on the shelf without the box marked at $51. It was the last one and they could not sell it to me unless they could find the box, which they couldn't. Boarding time was getting closer so I grabbed the Double Black for $40. First off I had to dig out the one way ball from the neck so I could pour it without making a mess. I tasted it a few times over the next couple of months, got the same Liquid Smoke impression as @Victor, and ended up giving the rest away. I should have been a bit more insistent that they sell me the Ardbeg. LAX has possibly the most useless duty free on the planet.
Thanks for the comments, Gents! Liquid smoke, that sums it up nicely.