Once tipped to be “the next (Famous) Grouse”, Black Bottle was bought by Burn Stewart from Edrington in 2003. Burn Stewart itself was bought by South Africa’s Distell Group from the troubled CL World Brands group in April of this year for £160 million.
Not only has Black Bottle been repackaging – returning it to a black bottle as originally envisaged by the Graham brothers, master distiller Ian MacMillan has reformulated the blend. He says by lessening the smoky Islay character of the old blend and introducing more Speyside malt, he has returned the brand to its original north eastern Scotland blend. The resulting scotch is rich and balanced.
MacMillan said: “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. 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.”
At 40% abv, a 70cl, bottle will retail in the UK for between £17.99 and £18.49. Already available in approximately 30 countries, the new Black Bottle is being rolled out to “selected export markets”.