Black Bottle was established by the three sons of the Aberdeen shoemaker, James Graham. In 1850, the three brothers opened an office on Market Street in Aberdeen. The trio had started out in the tea trade; Aberdeen is a port and was a hub for tea importation from China and Ceylon. The Grahams also developed quite an aptitude for whisky blending and created a rather powerful blend, namely Black Bottle blended Scotch Whisky which was first launched in 1879. Tea was still their staple business until 1881 when they moved to Regent Street and concentrated their efforts solely on whisky blending.
The blended whisky was originally named for the black bottle in which the whisky was sold, this changed in 1914 with the onset of the First World War; for the previous bottle was German-made and had to be replaced, thus a green bottle was used for some time. David Graham died in 1919 and the business was left to the youngest brother, Charles Innes Graham. He took to driving around the country in his car, an itinerant vendor, hawking his flavoursome and peaty wares.
In 1926, Charles Innes died and he left in his wake a profitable business of which his wife Ann Jane Graham assumed control. By the mid 20th century, the Black Bottle brand was becoming highly lucrative. Today the bottle is black once more and it is a blend made up of a proportion of malt whisky from every distillery on Islay.