Black Bull is an old brand of blended scotch whiskies that have recently been picking up some steam. By recently, I mean the last couple of years, we’re still talking whisky of course.
They gained a huge wave of press coverage with the release of their 30 year old ‘blended at birth’ whisky. A massive, dark, sherried blend with an equally massive palate. Great stuff. After that the 40 year old was released which is rather the opposite with almost all single malt whiskies at at least 40 years old. This was an excercise in subtlety, but not less tasty!
Now they are marketing their 12 year old a bit more (haven’t tried that one yet) and in between they released this Special Reserve bottling. This bottling consists of a 50/50 ratio of malt and grain, which is quite rare in the blended whisky world. The 30 year old also has a 50/50 ratio and the 40 year old even has 90% malt whisky in it!
Now, how does is taste?
A rather full scent. Quite ’round’ without any scents really leading the way or pushing others back. There’s a hint of sherry in the background but most of the aroma consists of grass, barley and light woody tones. Some autumn leaves, a bit of resin and some vanilla.
More waxy and resinous than on the nose, a little more wood too. Slightly drying oak. It’s complex with a good dollop of vanilla cream. The grassy theme continues and the sherry is almost gone.
The finish is both light and waxy. Not too long with some wood and heather. Vanilla and chocolate fondant, all of a sudden.
The waxy theme makes me expect a lot of Clynelish or a comparable highland whisky in there. Now, what do I actually think? I first tasted this at Maltstock and was thrilled by it. Now I bought a sample from Master of Malt and I have to say that I amj glad I only bought a sample. It’s a very good blended whisky, but it’s pretty expensive too. It doesn’t really make me feel like I just had a € 113 whisky.
Anyway, a very good blended dram, but a bit overpriced, if you ask me.
Black Bull Special Reserve Batch 1 is available from Master of Malt at £ 95. It clocks in at a 46.6% ABV.