So I'm in the Binny's near Glen Ellyn, IL on my birthday a week ago and I see the Glencairn glass in a package with Forrester's bourbon. Long story short the guy working there tells me that they don't sell that glass but opens it up and hands it to me free of charge! Not having gone in there with a purchase in mind, I had to buy something so I picked up the Black Bottle no age statement scotch for $18. The closest I've been to Islay is via JWB and since the price was right I said the hell with and bought it. Wow. After repeated tastings of JWB I felt that it was a little fakey sweet and got kind of tired of it and appreciated my SM's much more because they were less sweet, and had more acidity and body. The Famous Grouse had that same over sweetness as well, I've come to learn that I'm not a fan of that anymore. Well the Black Bottle was close to a SM, as a matter of fact, you might catch an inexperienced scotch drinker off guard with it. Peaty and gently oaky nose, incredibly well integrated mid-palate, and a lingering smoky finish with a hint of salt. Not as creamy as a Glenmorangie or Highland Park but less than half the price. It's extremely balanced, flavorful, ever so slightly sweet, and has a lingering finish. If you're looking for a JWB replacement and/or a good blend you cannot beat this. Oh yeah, the Glencairn glass completely changed the way every scotch I nosed compared to the baby sized brandy balloon I was using previously. If you do not own one of these you must get one!
My memory of it is that it's similar to a cross between Highland Park 12 and Talisker 10--the bracing peat/smoke/fire of the Talisker with the "honey" sweetness and smoothness of the HP. However, BB doesn't have quite as much maltiness at its center that HP does--and the BB seemed to be ever so slightly less sweet than the HP.
Very smooth, and great value. And what a great idea--a blend of the Islay malts!
I;ve tried adding Ardbeg 10 and Oogie: Laphroaig QC, Lagavulin 16...and even a splash of 23 YO Bowmore...so fragrant, some would say "perfumed" that a little drop was enough to infuse a large dram of BB with its character. Brill...
Every home should have one.
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