Monday, July 11, 2016

Whisky Review: Black Bottle Blended Scotch Whisky

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:


Age Statement

Nose (undiluted)
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.

Palate (undiluted)
Sherry for sure, hardly any Islay influence like peat and smoke.  I am tasting black grapes, black cherry, graphite, pencil lead and young oak.

Finish (undiluted)
Smokey, like a damp wood fire beachside, with much grainy notes, sandy, mineral water and herbs.

General Impressions
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:



Jason Debly


  1. Could never find BB here anyway. Recently they changed the White Horse bottle to a more standard one, but I tasted and the contents remain the same to my palate. I liked the old bottle but am relieved they did not change contents. I did notice they no longer reference it as containing Lagavulin.

    1. White Horse seems to taste great as always. Interesting that they no longer reference Lagavulin. This obviously means that it is not a component malt anymore or maybe it still is but the distillery does not want its name to appear on the label anymore of that entry level blend.

      In any event, just pass on the Black Bottle.

      thanks for commenting!

    2. Jason, Black Bottle may be worth a another look. I just picked up a new bottle that's head and shoulders above the 2013 relaunch. It has a definite hit of peat that's been missing for a while, and the nose and palate are quite nice too; maybe a tad sweeter than the old BB, but still much improved over the more recent stuff. The label also shows they've bumped up the ABV to 43%, so keep an eye out for that if you decide to give it a try.

      - Paul M.

    3. Thanks for the update! I will certainly give it another go!

  2. Alas the new style bottle has found its' way on to shelves of the local liquor shop.... Oh well....
    AL(from OZ)