Review: Black Bottle Blended Scotch Whisky by Jason Hambrey

Black Bottle 1.jpg
Scottish Malt and Grain Whiskies
Distiller Multiple (Scotland)

This whisky used to be quite a smoky blend, but in 2013 Burn Stewart reverted to a slightly older style with less smoke and more richness. After blending the whiskies, they recask into new virgin oak. Components include tobermory, ledaig, bunnahabhain, and deanston. By the way, Distell (who own all of those distilleries) do a terrific job - they are generally transparent about what is going into the whiskies, and, so it would appear, they value their connoisseur consumers - rare, these days.

Review (2018)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: P037414 L3 09:04 16039

  • Bottling Date: ~2017

The nose is a mix of light fruit, heavy dried fruit notes, nuts, and smoke: apple, hard pear, prune, raisins, roasted almond, wood charcoal, clove, black pepper, and banana bread. The palate continues from the nose – golden syrup, malt loaf, light orchard fruit, dried apricot, charred new oak, a peppery sulphur-y spiciness, light smoke, and some more hard, green pear. The finish is lightly smoky, with dried fruits (apricot and raisin), nutmeg, and a bit more charred oak. Lightly tannic, too.

Hard to do better than this in Scotch at this price.

Recommended (81% of whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: High, at $30. It might be the best bottle of Scotch in Canada under $40.

Review: Deanston Virgin Oak Single Malt Scotch Whisky by Jason Hambrey

Ex-Bourbon; Virgin Oak Finish
100% Malted Barley
Distiller Deanston (Deanston, Scotland)

Deanston, like many Scottish distilleries, went through a period when they were closed down before being bought by new owners - in this case, Burn & Stewart, who also own Bunnahabhain and Tobermory. This, notably, is bottled at natural color and without chill filtration.

Review (2015)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: 06:190205

  • Bottling Date: ~2015

Here we have a young whisky – full of the raw oiliness of youth. However, vanilla and sweet oak cover this up, and lightly nutty with pear also playing in quite nicely along with light floral notes as well –the strength and wood do give a helpful woody spice kick at the end...but this is too young for me. However, that youth is played up fairly well as these things go. Actually a decent job of bringing out a decent dram from the younger stuff - the new oak, higher proof, and non-chill filtration. However, as an appreciator of fine cocktails – some of the youth as shown here could kick up a very worthwhile cocktail that would get even a single malt snob to raise an eyebrow.

Value: Average, based on $50.