I realise I’ve allowed myself to become a bit tardy on the whisky front of late. It’s not that I’ve not been enjoying the odd dram or two, it’s just that I haven’t tried anything new, opting instead for reassuring familiar (namely Black Grouse).
Still, I did get the chance to try some Black Bottle recently. I was looking forward to trying this blend as it has a quite a heritage and is oft regarded in glowing terms by the red-nosed whisky community.
Key to the blend is the balance between the grain and the characteristics, in this case the peat and smoke, of the malts. I found the Black Bottle to be ‘too alcohol’ for my palette, a burning initial sensation in the mouth and nose dominating any soothing undertones of the malt.
In fact, on further sampling, this characteristic is a bit rampant. Only on the finish did I get that familiar smoke and warmth of Islay.
This ‘sharpness’ may originate from the youth of some of the spirit used in this blend. Overall, it’s not as refined and balanced as a Black Grouse or the BnJ. One person’s ‘balance’ is another person’s ‘dull’, though.
I will lament the fact that I didn’t get the chance to try a Black Bottle ten year old. This version boasts a multitude of Islay malts in the blend and all over a decade old.
Researching a little deeper into this discontinued
dram, the peat and Islay-ness is much more prevalent. If I can find some (which seems unlikely) I’ll report back.