Review: Black Bottle old bottling

Whisky clubs are full of tales concern individuals who stumble into a remote shop to find an Aladdin’s cave of rarely seen bottles for sale. This has yet to truly happen to me despite taking the opportunity to circumnavigate every unlikely dusty shop shelf during my trips across Scotland, much to my wife’s displeasure. You could view this as failure but my persistence does occasionally pay dividends as I stumbled across a trio of this Black Bottle blend with its distinctive bottle shape last year.
 
The new version of the Black Bottle was launched in 2013 and moved the blend away from its Islay addiction towards its Highland roots. This can be judged as a sign of the times. Islay stock is very much at a premium and anything aged (or so they tell us) is scarcer and unlikely to be used for low-end blends. This old bottling of Black Bottle is claimed to include a percentage of almost every distillery on Islay within its blend recipe. The writing was on the wall once the 10 year old was discontinued in 2010 by Burn Stewart Distillers.
I did review the new, sweeter, 2013 variety and the bottle is very fetching with its old-style presentation. Sadly the well-liked old style Black Bottle was deleted and consigned to the remote dusty shelves of Highland retailers. As the 10 year old blend of this style was also killed off a couple of years prior to the no age statement blend decision, if I had located a bottle of this I’d have been very fortunate, as it is an excellent example of an age statement blend. Instead we’ll have to make do with the bargain bin version.
 
Distillery: a blend of Islay single malt whiskies (apparently 7 distilleries if you believe the rumours) and a variety grain whisky from the mainland

Age: No Age Statement
Strength: 40% ABV
Price: around £15 for 70cl when it was available
 
 
Colour: classic caramel colouring 
 
Nose: those familiar echoes of Islay with a little peat and background of smoke. A sweetness is evident with honey and a surprising juicy fruit aspect. A fun and engaging nose if a little limited. 
 
Taste: the nose characteristics move onto the palate with the warmth of burning peat, a rush of orange sweetness and lemon. A lovely smoky finish leaves you content with what was a bargain blend and one that is sadly no more.

Whisky Rover

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