Tuesday 26 August 2014

Tasted #116: Black Bottle (#101drams)

When I started the #101dram Charitable Challenge in February 2013, I included a mix of rare, common, unusual, cheap, expensive, blended and single malt whiskies (and one or two white dogs as well). One that made its way onto the list, by virtue of being three of those things (unusual, blended, and cheap), was Black Bottle.

At the time, it was a blended whisky containing almost every Islay malt currently in existence. I'm told it's now no longer Islay-focused (an indication of the rising price / scarcity of aged Islay whisky perhaps?) Whatever the case, this post is about the older, Islay-focused blend, which comes in the still-style bottle.

At the time, it was about $44AUD from Vintage Cellars (seems they still stock it, for $52 now), so it was pretty easy to take a punt on a whole bottle (I figured worst-case scenario, I'd use it for cocktails like smokey Blood & sands).

Turns out, it's not half-bad on its own.

Black Bottle (40% ABV, NAS, Scotland, $51.99AUD).
Colour: Light honied gold.

Nose: Young and spirity, the peat smoke is there, but it's not huge like you might expect.

Palate: More peat smoke than the nose, but also potato bake and some residual honey notes which were very welcome. A quick look at the glass, and the complete lack of legs, suggests this isn't terribly old, nor high in ABV (it does feel a little thin on the palate, but it is only 40% ABV).

Finish: More peat smoke still, short and hot, with some asparagus notes and a slight hint of those sweet honey notes from the palate.

Rating (on my very non-scientific scale): 89/100. Not likely to set the world on fire, but for the price, it certainly punches above its weight (how many decent Islay whiskies can you find in Australia, readily available, for ~$50AUD)? ...and hey, if you don't love it, it makes a mean smokey Blood & Sand.


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