Sunday, February 24, 2008

Black Bottle

Black Bottle
Blended Scotch whisky
40% alc/vol

So, it's been nearly four months since I blogged about my first Islay whisky, Bunnahabhain. I'd decided it was okay, but nothing stellar, and a definite mood drink. But as I neared the end of the bottle, I found myself enjoying it more and more. I decided to chalk it up to acquiring the taste, or developing my palate, or whatever you want to call it.

In the meantime, I'd been hearing a lot of good things about Black Bottle, albeit often with decidedly unpleasant-sounding descriptions (ashtrays?). Anyway, at a mere $17 USD, the price was right, so I decided to give it a go, and I'm quite glad I did.

Black Bottle's main claim to fame seems to be that it includes malt from every active distillery in the Islay region, save for Kilchoman, the newest.


Black Bottle is a deep copper color -- nothing special, but pleasant. Fresh fruit and malt on the nose, with earth, peat, and smoke. Light sea salt and cloves. Sweet and soft on the palate, with a smoky, lingering finish.

I quite like this. The grain whisky helps the peat and smoke from being overpowering, I think, and the result is a very inviting, approachable dram. The bottle's nearly empty now, and I'm sure I'll replace it when it's gone. I'm wondering if this will prove to be something of a "gateway" whisky: my palate's expanding from Speyside/Highland single malts, to Highlandy blended Scotches like Famous Grouse, to Islay blends like Black Bottle. I recently purchased a bottle of Ardbeg 10, which comes highly recommended by those who like that sort of thing; I wonder how I'll like it!

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