Black Bottle is a brand that dates back to the 1879 when it was first founded by the Graham brothers, who were tea merchants from Aberdeen. Today it is owned by Burn Stewart Distillers, who also own other well-known brands such as Ledaig and Deanston.
The modern iteration of Black Bottle pays homage to the original through its vintage branding, and of course, the black bottle it is sold in.But since its early days, it has changed quite a bit.
The biggest change has occurred in the flavour profile. In 2013 Burn Stewart decided to change the recipe to make Black Bottle less peated, saying they were trying to recapture what the original would have tasted like.
Today, the blend is mellower in flavour, but does have a dash of Bunnahabhain to give it a nice peated backdrop.
The nose opens with sweet notes of honey and vanilla oak wood. These are soft and warming, with a lovely hint of peat far in the background.
There are lovely orchard notes coming through, with apple blossom and floral notes appearing. These go perfectly with the oak wood.
The fruits are ripe and slightly sherried, with a little hint of cinnamon to them
On the palate, the oak becomes slightly charred, with a creamy, smooth caramel coming out of it.
This is gentle and delicate and lends a soft texture to the mouth feel. The caramel has warming notes to it, with little dashes of cinnamon coming through.
Apples, pears and apricots all appear, with lots of flavour and juice. They melt in the mouth and offer a lovely tang to bounce off the oak wood.
The honey from the nose also appears on the palate, and is wrapped up in swathes of smoke and peat. These notes are bold but not overwhelming, a big difference from the old Black Bottle.
The finish is rich and strong, with little hints of peat but lots of fruit and sherry notes.
Also published on Medium.