Black Bottle whisky relaunches historic blend

27th September, 2013 by Amy Hopkins

Black Bottle Scotch whisky has released a blend that marks a return to the brand’s 130-year-old roots.


The recently launched Black Bottle Scotch was inspired by a recipe and bottle design dating back the the 19th century

Channeling the vintage bottle trend, Burn Stewart Distillers has unveiled a new expression of its Black Bottle Scotch brand reminiscent of its 1879 recipe and packaging.

Inspired by the original taste and look of the original Scotch created by 19th century master distillers the Graham Brothers, Black Bottle is said to have floral and oak aromas and a fruit, smoke, honey and nutmeg flavour.

“The challenge was to develop a liquid that was more in line with the original character of Black Bottle while maintaining all of the quality for which the brand is renowned,” said Burn Stewart master distiller Ian MacMillan

“I wanted to reintroduce a richness to balance the smokiness of the blend and in turn allow each component to contribute to the overall flavour.”

MacMillan added that the expression moves away from the peatiness of Islay, which became a more prominent note in Black Bottle recipes over the years, and instead channels more Speyside flavours.

He noted that “Black Bottle lost itself in Islay” and said the distillery realised there was a need for the Scotch to “return its North East roots.”

The expression is stored in a bottle inspired by the long-lost Graham’s Brothers black glass bottle dating back to 1906, which could not be used by the distillers after the outbreak of the First World War.

Black Bottle Scotch was subsequently stored in green bottles when supplies from a German manufacturer ceased.

Burn Stewart representatives also said that although single malts largely overshadow the blended Scotch whisky category, they are confident that this new release will inject new interest in the category.

Noting that the launch follows 18 months of global consumer research and design development, Marco Di Ciacca, senior brand manager for Burn Stewart, said: “This new look is in line with the growing global consumer trend for premium spirits with authentic and compelling brand stories.”

The expression, which has an abv of 40%, will launch internationally into selected export markets from October at an RRP between £17.99 and £18.49.

15 Responses to “Black Bottle whisky relaunches historic blend”

  1. Alasdair says:

    Just tried this new blend and can honestly say that it is one of the worst whiskeys I have tasted. I was an avid fan of Black Bottle having converted friends to the taste and good value it represented. The new blend has an oily overtaste reminiscent of some of the whiskeys from Northern Island as well as the colour of low end scottish whiskey such as Té Bheag Nan Eilean. The tastes do not even blend when you taste and down this whiskey. All said and done I will be looking to something else for a regular dram.

  2. rtonald fraser says:

    we where drinkers of black bottle,but never again its degusting,why do you change a blend which was excellent,is it because you are trying to get rid of some old stock.
    However its a great pity

  3. rtonald fraser says:

    I totally agree with you,I will no longer be drinking BLACK BOTTLE

  4. Andrew sim says:

    Been drinking Black Bottle for as long as I can remember , a rich peaty taste,with a lovely aroma,Why in heavens name did you change it?, this new blend you have introduced! is total rubbish! Looking for another brand

  5. mark mcphillips says:

    march 28 2014 at 1717
    been drinking black bottle for 30yrs,because it primarily blended islay whiskies, this new expression is too oily and full
    of disgusting speyside caramel, black bottle now only suitable for oiling cormorants !

  6. John F. Reid says:

    Dear Sirs
    Oh what have you done to my Black Bottle. I’ve been drinking Black Bottle for Lord knows how many years. What a disapointment at the Bowling Club last night. My Club buddies were laughing at me because I could not drink what I have been advocating at the Club as a great dram. All my buddies that is except the Club Treasurer who was just after buying another batch of Black Bottle. What does Ian MacMillan think he was doing when he blended this poor substitute for my regular whisky. Never have I tasted whisky so bad. The new (Black Bottle) I liked, but the content is a sore disappointment. I read all the replies you have received and unfortunately agree with every one of them. I’ll have to tell all my pals now not to buy me Black Bottle Whisky again (even by the dram or the bottle) my Christmas will never be the same again. John F. Reid. P.S. Mr MacMillan have you tasted this stuff you blended. Be a pal and change back to the good stuff (please).

  7. Rex Hound says:

    After months of not seeing Black Bottle from internet suppliers, I started looking for an answer, and damn, there it was. How can this possibly work for this label??? tried to say it should be given a chance, but I could read the less than positive vibs he was trying not to convey. This could become a classic scotch marketing DISASTER for this label. Those wondering where to find value and flavor in the Islay mood, I would suggest “Islay Mist 8” by MacDuff International. Oh, and thank you my scotch brothers for your heads-up on the reformulation of BB. I think I will now pass.

  8. Graeme says:

    I have been given a very old bottle of Black Bottle Whisky, It probably dates back to the 1940,s. I was wondering what it might be worth? It is boxed and sealed.

  9. Gary Logan says:

    I noticed the difference immediately and I do not like this poor substitute for what was one of the best tasting whiskies on the market. I shall not be drinking it again. I don’t even like the bottle.

  10. Alby says:

    bought black bottle at Ralfys recommendations while living in Florida in2012. Found it to be just as Ralfy said : a wonderful peaty moment and a great value. Moved back to my home state of PA in 2013. Because of PA’s state run liquor monopoly, I had to order BB from a NY state supplier. My last shipment was this new version, frankly it sux. Never again! I’ll be buying the black grouse from now on and it is available at my local “state store”.

  11. Odnocer says:

    This NEW Black Bottle IS a young whiskey, add a little water, let it sit… smooth for any first time whiskey drinker and that’s what it is… remember, dig dig deep if you want a peat (smokey) whiskey. 1405 Society of Skulls member.

  12. Raymond Smith says:

    I’m really disappointed!
    I was a fan of black bottle for many years and tried the new expression recently.
    I won’t be buying it again soon.

  13. Dougie McWilliams says:

    How many relevant comments, you have the whisky with is as close to a malt whisky as you could get and you change the recipe to something my customers will not drink. You have forgotten that customers make payday possible and you have not listened to them.
    A shame when companies get it wrong and then bury their head in the sand to positive comments.

  14. Ruairidh Macleod says:

    Palate is dominated by sickly new American oak and caramel and not a hint, that I can detect, of peat. Drank BB as my blend of choice for many years but not now.

  15. Mark McElhone says:

    Please please change it back. My family and I have always enjoyed BB but this new blend is just awful. Hopefully someone cares enough to read these comments and do the right thing. Sad when this happens – if it ain’t broke don’t try and fix it.

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