Black Bottle is an Islay fan's dream - and the perfect introduction to the whiskies of Islay for the less... adventurous. Black Bottle is, according to the distillers, the only blended Scotch to include all seven Islay malts - a total of 45% Islay with the rest from Aberdeenshire distilleries.
First Glance: a lovely, pure, clear amber...
On the Nose: Black Bottle is the quintessence of that 1972 Deep Purple song, "Smoke on the Water," as sea breezes waft burning peat from the glass. Barley lingers.
On the Tongue: Ashes to ashes... some less forgiving palates consider Islay malts to taste like cigarette ashes; more forgiving find it to be purely peaty. Black Bottle has a far less pronounced smoky note than the southern Islay single malts, but it is certainly present. Smoke character notwithstanding, this is a very complex whisky, bold and subdued at the same time. A slight sweetness offsets some of the sting, leaving room for the oak-and-sherry flavor of the aging casks.