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Relaunched in 2013, Black Bottle Blended Scotch whisky now features a balanced mix of fruitiness and spice alongside the peaty Islay notes that the brand has been known for. This change in direction is a return to Black Bottle's past, as it is said to have been inspired by what the whisky was like when it was made all the way back in 1879. This has also inspired the new old-style black glass bottle, which gave the whisky its name.
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I came to BB some years ago through their support for the Islay Jazz Festival and have never looked back until recently when I heard of their re-formulation and the new bottle. The bottle change is a sad loss but the loss of the hint of peat and seaweed seems to have been largely overcome, maybe by using a more robust Islay malt. I will always be a bit sad at the loss of the Islay origin but will forgive all if they return to their support a jazz and will certainly keep a bottle at the front of the cupboard and drink it neat to enjoy its subtle flavours. Its still the best of blends.
18th December 2016
This one tasted too harsh and spicy for my taste.
10th December 2016
I was surprised at how this tasted, I was expecting a big Smokey smell and taste considering it is from Islay,but what you get is more subtle smoke and a lovely sweetness coming through with a long earthy finish but not too peaty. It has a lot of layers making it a very good blend if you like Bunnahabhain 12 year old you would like this, certainly worth the money.
29th November 2016
A well drink for mixers. Gone is the complexity and richness of the old Black Bottle. This is garbage.
14th September 2016
One of the best blended whiskies I have ever tasted. Far in front of such as J@B and other average whiskies.
7th August 2016
I'm a great believer in tradition. I can't vouch for the 19th century of course as I wasn't around but anything that returns to traditional blending is OK by me. The whisky is one of the best blend I've tasted only surpassed bu Baillie Nicol Jarvie which you can sadly no longer get. Nice whisky!
31st July 2016
God they took an excellent smokey blend and made something that is average and every day. It must have become too expensive to blend the islay scotches to keep the blend. Seriously, I see people talking about ow good this new version is, and it is basically Dewars or J&B for a little more money. What's the point.
14th June 2016
Rich, creamy, Carmel, vanilla, honey, complex baking spices, and a kiss of peat. Full rich mouthfeel and nice finish. Love it!!!!
5th June 2016
I NEVER tried the old style. Only the post 2013 version. I LOVE IT. one of the best blended scotches under $40. Delicious. Blows JWB out of the water at half the price. Sweet, With a a slight hint of peat sort of in the background. Like a kiss of peat in the finish. Very subtle, not overpowering. I get some sherry, Carmel, vanilla, some baking spice (maybe cinnamon and nutmeg). Very smooth. Nice mouthfeel. Warm full finish. Would buy it at twice the price. A real bargain.
It maybe is not complex, but its a well balanced fruity very drinkable blend.Is there a better blend for the money (£14) ? . I am sure there is not. Lovely stuff. Cheers.
28th May 2016
I was never happy the old style that contained some pretty ropey young Islays. This is a more polished blend with a little Islay character. They use some quality well matured grains that that make this a well rounded and complete blend. I don't think you can beat this for a standard budget blended scotch. I prefer Islay Mist 12 but this is now in a different price category.
22nd May 2016
Very young, rather bland and totally devoid of the Islay character that once made this a stand out blend. It will develop a little in the glass if you give time , but plenty of better blends available at the same price point, and cheaper. As another reviewer said it's going in the cupboard for guests who drink their whiskey with a mixer. A shame if you stumble across the old stlye bottle I would suggest snaffling it up.
4th April 2016
Smoky, briny, peaty, iodine and hint of umami with well balanced fruitiness. I have never tried the old bottling but this one really hit the spot. Discovered this in my Brooklyn local boutique wine store for around $26- $30 USD. My wife hates peaty whisky but she loves this one due to the lack of "medicinal taste". You know, not everyday I can afford to drink a Lagavulin or Ardbeg Uigeadail. Best bang for the buck, period!
21st February 2016
14th February 2016
A good introduction into the smoky, peaty Islay whiskies, without the high price tag, one of my favourite blends.
11th February 2016
Great value blend. Bought as a go to bottle to save some of my more expensive bottles and ended up enjoying this just as much. Very smooth and easy to drink which was what I was looking for so it was spot on, short finish to this but just makes you want another sip.
30th January 2016
10th December 2015
It used to be superb value and, to my taste, the best of blends and first choice when a single malt isn't available. The changes have now made it no more than a reasonable blend amongst blends. And am I alone in preferring the old-style bottle? More stability and you could see how much was in the bottle!
30th November 2015
I bought Black Bottle and Glenmorangie Original yesterday. I like them both, but BB has a fuller taste and mouth feel. I tried the BB a few years ago and I remember it having more peat than the current offering, but it's been so long ago that I really can't say which is better..the new or the old. I prefer it over the Glenmorangie, and it is 1/3 less in price ($23 vs. $35); the name is also easier to pronounce and type correctly. I'll continue to enjoy both, as my mood sees fit.
11th November 2015
10th November 2015
Differs from old, More Islay Salty peat less Fruitiness. But still completely underrated.
15th October 2015
For a blend and a cheap one at that this really is the best value blend that I've had. Don't expect the same level of peaty intensity as the Islay single malts that it contains. What you will get is a pleasant whiff of peat and a lovely finish redolent of said single malts. This is a very well made blend and probably my go-to blended whisky from now on. A very pleasant surprise.
27th September 2015
I always heard this was a great bargain blend but never tried it. I recently bought some (on offer) and then looked up reviews, and was sad to see so many reviews saying it had gone way downhill. I was prepared to be disappointed, but happily I was not disappointed at all. This is an most enjoyable dram. Young and brash for sure, but big enough smoke, peat and iodine flavors to remind me of the Islay superstars I love (but alas cannot afford to drink daily). Perhaps it WAS better before, but it is still pretty good. At least head and shoulders over the usual grants/whyte-mackay/grouse stuff.
21st July 2015
I gave this a good reviews at first. Had had one glass too many. I take it back- it's disappointing compared to the old. A fair bit above average with some character, but they've destroyed what was perhaps the best cheaper blend available. Like others said- it's basically a mixer now. Don't buy it unless they go back to smoky BB.
25th June 2015
Once I moved onto BB to save wasting Laphroaig, having drunk less responsibly than anyone should- I found that adding 2 or 3 drips of Laphroaig to a measure of BB made it delicious. Possibly I'd reached the stage where any whisky tastes great though.
22nd June 2015
Was missing then reappeared- Wondered how my palate had changed in its absence and delighted to see it- so bought a bottle. Loved the nose- Not as peaty as before- but greater complexity than I remembered- and beats most affordable blends in that regard- Nice bursts of flavours- Develops a bit more syrupy on the palate than I would like- and barely any smoke. Longer finish than most of the familiar affordable malts- so that's a bargain- a dry, liquorice finish transforming to barley sugar. Commendable for that. There's stuff actually happening here; enough to make me curious to search out the notes. It is a shame to lose the old one though- Hope I get a chance to try old and new in alternate sips. I enjoyed it- it's probably the best in its price range. Can't remember if previous bottling was better. Think it was less complex but the smoke was quite a special touch. New bottling- I love the punch of the raw young grain in the blend. I think they've figured how to use it to add to the flavour events, rather than try to hide it. I bought it so I wouldn't waste my Laphroaig- the best cheap blend I could find for the job of moving onto cheaper whisky once you've passed the point of maximum sensitivity of taste-buds.
Although I'm a fan of the original Islay peatiness, thw new recipe is still (to me) a good dram. Laphroaig and the likes will be at the top of my list as usual - but Black Bottle has retained a place. A bold move to revert back, for whatever reason... comparing old and new really isn't fair - it's a different beast...
21st June 2015
I'm not familiar with the original, but I find the new Black Bottle to be simply the best value in a Scotch Whisky: a blend that tops many Islay single malts at more than twice its price, not to mention such blends as the Black Grouse and Johnnie Walker Black Label! Black Bottle is a well-rounded blend with some fruit and herbs up front, and toffee and creamy caramel on the palate. It has a dark amber color and piquant nose and initially seems to be more than 40 percent alcohol, but the finish is mild, rich and smooth. All in all: an excellent value, but a very fine whisky at any price.
The old bottling was a great bend of Islay and Speyside. This new stuff is a mixer at best. They are trying real hard to tell you about the old recipe, old ways, original etc,..bunk! It is a well drink now.
9th June 2015
I am also one of those people that had not had the old one. I use this one as my every day dram. People need to keep in mind it is an non age statement blend. It only costs $35 in my store. This all being the case it is very good for what it is. I felt it even gives some lower end single malts a run for it.
25th April 2015
Ordinary, a blend for bartenders serving people who don't care - jsut want "scotch".
16th April 2015
wonderful blend ruined for the sake of profit. Well too bad, because fans of the old blend won't buy this swill.
31st March 2015
What a sad surprise. This "new" Black Bottle is totally something else than the one it has been.Those comments from other below are telling how wonderfull it was. Also referring for those awards archieved.We can only guess the real reasons for the change; (cannot have "material" from Islay for same price, try to make more money from the market...). I'm not intrested about Black Bottle anymore. It has been ruined.
This new whisky blend is still very good for the price.The blend Still has a taste of its own[Fruity/smokey/peaty]like the old one had which makes it stand out at this price range.Good work to keep it at this price.I paid just over £17 for this bottle which is good value for this outstanding & different tasting blend.
6th March 2015
I guess that is where they are going with this new blend. It has very little interesting notes in the flavor and seems pretty blahzey. Bars and pubs will buy it in mass quantities maybe as a mixer but as a dram or on the rocks, I would not bother with it again. The bottle just went under the bar for guests. I will now search out the old green bottle version.
14th January 2015
This is, at best, a mixer. The old one had character and taste.
The old Black Bottle was a superb, competitively priced peat treat, that (whilst not being quite as well integrated) rivaled Johnnie Walker Black due to its fantastic price and accessibility. I enjoyed many a bottle, and still have one as a keep safe (purchased for £11.97 from Tesco as they were clearing their shelves). This new version, in a distinctive black bottle (as opposed to the previous version's green bottle) is supposed to mirror the original blend developed in 1879. Whether this is true or just a bit of nostalgic marketing who knows, but I can recommend the whisky. It has a rather ridiculously dark amber colour (even more so than the Johnnie Walker ranges) and the caramel influences (that tannin taste) is obvious. However, despite the lack of peat (which is, despite a subtle whiff, virtually non-existent) this is a superbly well rounded whisky with a bit fruity taste, herbs on the nose, toffee and caramel on the palate, a great mouth feel and a rich, almost chocolatey finish. There are undoubtedly reasons why Black Bottle has changed (industry and economic reasons) I'm sorry to say, and the heavy addition of caramel is not a good start. But once you look beyond that and accept that the old whisky has gone (unfortunately) you're still left with a whisky that is incredibly well crafted and far better value than anything else in its price range. For just £2 less you could be drinking Scottish Leader! This is like a well honed single malt compared to that! So for the naysayers, embrace change (as I have done) and enjoy this splendid dram. The result of the re-launch could of been so much worse!
21st November 2014
The peat of Islay mixed with cereal of speyside is gone. Sad. Not bad, but not nearly as good as teh previous version.
17th October 2014
The bold peaty character of an Islay which represented the previous Black Bottle is gone in this new version.
15th October 2014
Maybe if Black Bottle is new to you, you could be forgiven for thinking this is OK but to me it is a disgrace. Haven't seen Black Bottle on the shelves for a while now so was delighted to find this while out shopping today - but what a let-down. Black Bottle was always my blend of choice when fund were too low to afford Ardbeg (which, let's face it is most of the time at current pricing). Where is 'the heart of Islay'? I won't be buying this again. Big mistake messrs Graham.
12th October 2014
Most of the negative reviews here seem disappointed at how this new BB is different from the old. (I never had the old one, so am happily unburdened by such luggage...) I think that misses the point that this is an excellent blended whisky, at a price point that offers superb value. I'm not normally much of a fan of blended Scotch, I only came across this by accident when doing my weekly grocery shop, and boy am I glad I picked up a bottle! I'll go back tomorrow and get a case, before they discontinue it (my supermarket, that is - they have a bad habit of doing that, just as I discover something I like).
22nd June 2014
A good Whisky doesn't have a screw cap !!.... However I could be wrong.Well I am with this one. Outstanding for Scotch at this price.
14th June 2014
I think the people running this down have approached it the wrong way. This is not a changed or improved Black bottle but a completely new whisky. As someone else has said it is as good as double black and £13 cheaper. As soon as they get more in I shall order a half dozen more.
2nd June 2014
Mr Gordon BellI have tried many brands of whisky and have enjoyed most of them! However, the one whisky I keep coming back to, when I can get it (I live in deepest - darkest Staffordshire...), is Graham's Black Bottle. I am not alone in appreciating this fine blend, as I have encouraged many friends and collegues to sample frequently.... and they all agree with me, this truly is a very good, high quality blended whisky. Indeed my father, John Bell (butcher of this parish), won runner's up prize in a competition run by the distillery and won 6 very fine tumblers engraved with the whisky's label. My father loved Black Bottle and instilled into me this love and appreciation of probably the most consistently good blends on the market. I highly recommend this blend, as it is very easy to enjoy. It is not harsh on the throat and fills the mouth with a fabulous mixture of peaty, smokey, fruity, sweetness - a joy to enjoy! So do yourself a flavour...I mean favour and buy a bottle today, your tongue will thank you for it! By the way - the best way to enjoy this whisky, or any other blend for that matter, is to add a splash of water. But don't drown it! The master blender of any distillery would have your guts for garters if he saw you or anybody else, diluting away all his hard work by putting too much H 2 O in his skillfully put together work of art!1st April 2010
31st May 2014
Ach!!!! Yeh are all full o' wind an' pish!!!!!I thought perfection could not be improved upon. But I have to admit, I was wrong! The "new" Black Bottle is better for going back to its roots and re-introducing Gordon Graham's original blend. The old blend was - sorry - is very good if you are lucky enough to find it! But with the return to its roots this blend even beats that!Graham's original blend is sweet, smooth, flavoursome, smoky, spicy. In one word - excellent!! Buy with confidence my friends, you will not be disappointed! You will enjoy a very, very fine blend made by really skilled craftsmen. So if you have any doubts after reading the negative comments. Take a look at the very first review. - MY review!You will see I do have real soft spot for this whisky but now this has returned to its heritage they have really struck gold. Disappointing - my arse! Won't finish this bottle - nonsense! Won't buy again - well mate that's your loss and all the more for me to enjoy!My advice - buy a bottle and make up your own mind! This is still a GREAT whisky! Don't let anybody put you off.
18th May 2014
The old blend was one of the greats, unfortunately this new blend is very poor and bears absolutely no resemblance to it's predecessor. Why they couldn't release this under a different name and keep the old blend is beyond me - for example, how many types of Famous Grouse are available now!?! Won't be buying this again unless they revert back to their previous blend. A real shame.
17th May 2014
Basically only good to mix with. It no longer stands alone unless you are cleaning the bar top. Sad, it was a distinctive blend worthy of praise. Might as well buy Crown Royal and save the money.
9th May 2014
well the marketing team have really sorted this once fine whisky out new shape of bottle / colour of contents but most of all its joined the realms of cooking
1st May 2014
This stuff tastes like leftovers from dozens of Speyside whisky's , not harmonious at all, I remember this used to taste of wonderful Islay malts and a good intro to that islands style, now it's just a bargain basement style blend at a semi premium price.
28th April 2014
Been drinking and enjoyed this brand for some years now. This relaunch has completely changed the character of the whisky. Not for me now I'm afraid.
19th April 2014
A return to the past. Why? Not everything was better in the olden days. I'll have to find another drink.
14th April 2014
I was more than suprised trying this scotch whisky.It was full offruity taste, and spicy and peaty.Heard a lot of bad rep. from the previous bottling that ruined some feedback.It cost about 19 euros , it isn't cheap for whay you get.Now its my favorite islay scotch whisky.I would choose this ower Johnny Walker Double Black any time even if its a lot spicier and less refined.Thanks, KaaBee.
28th February 2014