I’m glad I got to taste the discontinued old bottling of Black Bottle. According to rumours, it has malt from almost every distillery in Islay (Kilchoman not included). And grain whisky from Speyside, Highland and Lowland. Whiskies contained in this old bottling are thought to be at least 7 years old. And apparently, the new bottling, with majority of the malt coming from Bunnahabhain distillery, isn’t nowhere near as good as this one.
A ”bang for buck” blended whisky, I paid only 20 euros for it. Although it has Islay written all over it, this old bottling is not a peat monster. It does have more smoke and peat, than the new bottling.
Nobody knows for sure why the owner Burn Stewart Distillers decided to relaunch Black Bottle in 2013 with less Islay influence. They claim that they wanted it to get back on its roots, but I wouldn’t be surprised, if there were some kind of malt supply problems forcing them to change their product. The way people are commenting the old and the new presentation, seems to imply that majority like this old stuff better.
There isn’t anything black in this whisky, except the taste is bit dark. Black Bottle got its name from a German-made black glass, that was used to make the bottles. During the Great War, they had to substitute green glass for their revered black glass bottles. Ironically, the new version has black glass, but the taste is much lighter.
So in a way, Black Bottle’s old bottling is like The Dark Knight from the trilogy in question. The Dark Knight is rated higher in IMDB, than Batman Begins or The Dark Knight Rises. And they both are in the middle of the products history. And both have much more of that cult following. The Dark Knight because of the performance by Heath Ledger and old (or should I say middle) bottling because of Islay.