In 2013, Burn Stewart Distillery relaunched a long established blended Scotch brand: Black Bottle. They changed the bottle and they changed the contents. With a new mashbill the question is whether or not it is as good as the older version?
Prior to 2013, Black Bottle was a wonderful blended Scotch with a tremendous amount of smooth, sweet Islay whiskies with some grain whiskies that were never offensive. A real treat that was super cheap to buy too! I mean typically around $23 or so. It and White Horse dominated the very best of blended Scotch whisky bargains. The new version tasting note is as follows:
Spirity, young for sure, but getting past that it exhibits notes of sea air, smoke, roses. Nothing special here nor did I expect an incredible nose given the cheap blend price.
Sherry for sure, hardly any Islay influence like peat and smoke.. I am tasting black grapes, black cherry, graphite, pencil lead and young oak.
Smokey, like a damp wood fire beachside, with much grainy notes, sandy, mineral water and herbs.
Big disappointment. This is a shadow of its predecessor. What was once a wonderfully smooth and peated blended Scotch with plenty of Islay notes of tar, seaweed and dulse is now a tired, boring and young whisky exhibiting dull black grapes, black cherry and little smoke.
Do not buy. This represents a cheap blended Scotch whisky experience that I do not care to repeat.
If you ever see the old Black Bottle on a shelf, buy it! Here is a review of the pre-2013 bottling: