whisky review 381 – Black Bull 12yo scotch

good value, Indi power-blend !

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Malt454 says:

Copper Pot IS very good and, although I’m no fan of the NAS approach to marketing, the quality and value right now is hard to deny (maybe 86/100) – surprisingly impressive and approachable.

Oliver Hunter says:

Well Islay is an amazing place. I returned with a bottle of Port Charlotte Scottish Barley. Laddie, Laphroaig and Ardbeg are well recommended.
Though I was quite surprised by the antics of one distilleries staff pushing a £40 bottle as having “only very limited availability in the Asian market”. The bottle is currently on sale in every UK supermarket for £25!
Still, I would go back tomorrow.

Austin Heller says:

Ralfy, a question: I am looking at purchasing Glencairn glasses. Do you recommend lead-free glass or the crystal variety? Many thanks!

shuboy05 says:

Ralfy, you reviewed the forty year old Black Bull not the thirty.

Jon Åström says:

12yo £69,22
40yo £199,65
it’s tough to be a Swedish viking….

TassieEV1 says:

Thanks for the tips on visiting Scotland and the various distilleries and other tourist tips, tourist boards are great but locals are much better. Looking forward to seeing the upcoming N-S-E-W episodes that you mentioned as well.

athrack says:

Am I wrong if I call you out and say it was the 40yo you had previously reviewed, and not the 30yo? 🙂

coslifehurts says:

Sorry for asking something that no doubt has been asked, but why can’t single malt come from a column still as opposed to a pot still (you mention that single malt comes from a pot still only)?

Reb Mordechai says:

By the way, for those keeping kosher, you can stock up on meat for a bbq, bread, milk and cheese in Giffnock (south of Glasgow). The kosher deli is at 172 Fenwick Road, G46. Once up north, we buy smoked salmon, fruit and veg and delicious fresh whole Scottish salmons from towns along the coast and bbq it. Barbequed salmon with a glass of Tomintoul 14 yo. Heaven! (Scotland is very bbq friendly).

Truthspoon says:

You ought to take a holiday to Northern Cyprus. Vat 69 was originally one of the bottles used in illegal and toxic fraudulent ‘whisky’, As a result the Vat 69 label has no currency and is disdained and as a result, costs about 5 pounds a bottle. It was my local off licence meister’s drinking choice. Lot of other whiskies are far cheaper out there than in the UK. 1 problem is their distribution is more or less wholly dominated by Diageo products so poor chap hasn’t had a sniff of Laph or Ardbeg.

Reb Mordechai says:

For the West coast experience we stay near Oban. It’s a great town with its own distillery. You have Fort William to the north (Ben Nevis distillery) and the Isle of Skye (a must visit!). Catch a ferry from Oban to Isle of Mull for Tobermory distillery. Drive down to Campbeltown for Springbank and catch a ferry from Kennacraig for a day or two in Islay.Highly recommended. I only buy the cask strength and special bottlings in the distilleries as well as their branded whisky glasses and fleeces.

Jonathan Odde says:

I don’t find JW Black engaging at all… or generally speaking any other JW product for that matter. And although I don’t think the Black Bull is particularly excellent, it is substantially more rewarding. There are other blends I prefer though, and certainly more single malts at not much more of a price. try Sheep Dip Amoroso Oloroso (although not “scotch” on a technicality). Great sherried blend.

Malt454 says:

Not to be down on blends, because some, like Black Bull, are solid neat experiences, but it’s telling that one adds single malt to improve blends, but not vice versa. For me, high malt content, as with Black Bull (50%) and Irishman 70 (70%) seems key to superior blend performance.

Poolside Cigar Reviews says:

I see this blend all the time at Total Wine, but I’ve never given it any serious thought. It’s now on my shopping list! Thanks for a great review Ralfy!

Malt454 says:

I think the average Glencairn glass is described as being “lead-free crystal”, if that helps. “The vast majority of glasses in circulation are of the lead-free crystal variety.” – according to Wikipedia – which are what mine are – still polish and “ring” with the best of them.

Oliver Hunter says:

I’m off to Islay (and Arran) soon. Can you recommend a distillery only bottling to aim for? As a fan of Ardbeg’s Uigeadail, Bowmore’s Small Batch Reserve and all things Laddie? (I’m also quite a fan of a 17y/o Rattray bottling of Mortlach) I’m not entirely sure who offers a distillery only bottling. Unfortunately I’m not in a position to hit all 10 (inc Jura) to sample, So best target? Thanks.

Kuyei says:

Ralfy I might be heading to Leceister for work. I probably have time to head up to Glasglow. I come from the states. I can take 2 bottles back on the plane. What 2 single malts would your recommend that would be difficult to find in the states?

Rori Rants says:

Not that this matters at all, but I like the graphic design of the bottle and box/tin.

Malt454 says:

(Con’t) It might be that Rye as a spirit might be more prone to that more “bass note” described as maple, rather than the higher note described as caramel or butterscotch. To be fair to Ralfy, he’s responding not only to posts on this review, but also posts from people discovering, and commenting on, every other review he’s ever done – and I’ve found some good recent questions and answers back “in the tombs”.

PeatSmokey says:

Ralfy with all due respect We’d rather here that “you don’t know some of these more complex questions” rather than blow us off in favor of the many innocuous remarks that your known for.like “we’re all happy to help” mate. what we want from YOU are sensible retorts to these more challengin concerns. Its always a pity to find out that All heroes have clay feet.
Food for thought.

Frédéric Houbie says:

Nice Whisky, I do have one bottle and I like it too. As a Belgian, I also like your bottle of Orval behind you 🙂

Malt454 says:

Apparently, American Rye must be aged in new charred oak barrels, so unless the product was somehow being subjected to the Lincoln County Process (maple charcoal filtration), the maple flavour’s a bit of a mystery, but Canadian Rye Whisky can have flavouring added directly without loss of designation.

debi collen says:

looks like someone is a Doctor Who fan?

Edward Willey III says:

Man, I wanted to like this whisky, having enjoyed the 30 yr version. But I don’t. For the proof, it’s HOT (spirit). I drink a lot of cask strength stuff and this is just too hot for the stated proof. Needs more concentration of flavor. I have a hard time spending another $15-20 USD over, say, a Whyte & Mackay Thirteen, that is, assuming I’m looking for a blend. My bottle has lingered on the sideboard for months and I may just give it away when it gets a bit lower.

Gio C says:

Ralfy, what is that whisky directly to the left of the map up on the shelf? I keep seeing it and I swear I’ve seen it somewhere. Driving me nuts.

coslifehurts says:

It tastes like a lot of caramel has been added here when it is bottled in Australia. I wonder if the UK version is different?

Dan Fisher says:

Can you describe a “spirity note”? I think I know what you are talking about but I would like to hear how you perceive this. Thanks!

zelluloidAT says:

A great day trip from Edinburgh would be to go up to Pitlochry and visit Edradour – highly recommended and easily reachable by train (and a nice hike up the hill). And then there’s also Blair Athol distillery in the same (very beautiful) town.

Wayfarer8 says:

Hello, Ralfy. Interesting, as always. I just want to ask You to tell the price for the each whisky in Your reviews, because it will be easier to compare the real price and the price in the different shops around the world. For example, this whisky costs in Moscow 74 pounds.

Kiwifix says:

hey can you please review a popular blend named The Highland Way. It seems to be very well recieved and liked here in Finland.

501commander says:

Not in mood for you today Ralfy!!

Drunken Tailer says:

Jesu… lot’s of negativity in this particular comment section. More like Malt Malefactors than Malt Mates…

Crixus The Gaul says:

Which would you rather take a dram of on an average day… This BLack Bull 12, or Johnnie walker Black?

borismorrison says:

you’re trying to hard to explain the difference between single malt and blended wisky for sometime now and you’re failing..Alan Greig did it in one sentence. You should check his Chivas 18 yo review on YouTube

Malt454 says:

One point, though – quick looking hasn’t shown me any American whiskies that use the Lincoln County Process other than Tennessee whiskies, so I haven’t found a case where it could influence subsequent products later matured in “true” bourbon barrels – so it could mostly be the effect of charring. If anyone could throw more light on this, I’d be grateful.

PeatSmokey says:

ya see I’m a music teacher into its entire philosophy & history. When a student/ friend anybody asks me a q. that I don’t know I’ll go to the ends of the earth to find his answer. because its my passion. That’s why I’m so bugged at half steps.(no pun intended.) I’m sure you know what I’m sayin.
Peace my friend.

liljimmylv says:

I went to Scotland last June. I brought back 18 or 19 bottle of Scotch I couldn’t find at home (Canada). Bought a cheap, hard sided suitcase and packed it with socks, underwear and t-shirts. As most bottle come in a box or a tube, they were already pretty secure. Anyway, no restrictions on bringing back liquor as long as you check your bags and pay your duty. FYI duty was far less than you’d think….18x700ml=$75
My advice is bring back more than a few and look for new releases. ie:Kilchoman

Malt454 says:

Glenfarclas 105 is a great cask-strength value.

PeatSmokey says:

@Malt454. hey mate.how’s all! beings Ralfy didn’t know the answer to this question re. Rye & you being the most knowledgeable man on this site maybe you would know! Any idea where Rye gets that distinctive maple note? Rye has zero maple as newmake so do you think the Rye folks are usin maple chips like some of the US Southern distillers or is the Rye whiskeys gettin a finish in, eg. X-MakersMark casks?
Its an interesting question &w/a need to know any help is appreciated.
Thanx much M454

Malt454 says:

I’ll look into it, but my main interest is malt products, so I don’t know much about rye, although, as a side note, I do know that Maker’s Mark is one of the few bourbons made without rye in the mix. Caramalized sugar notes are many times described as tasting like maple – Highland Park is sometimes described this way, and I recently tried a 23 Brora that was very maple tasting.

joan23us says:

going to a vvhisky shovv this sat. I recon I can handle about 9-10 drinks, vvhat vvould you recommend for me to start vvith? 3 speyside, 3 highland, 3 islay vvhisky? I knovv before you said start off vvith the mild ones to the peatest, hovv vvould you approach such for a beginner like me? I liked glenfiddich, macalla & lagavulin to name a fevv.

birstallblue says:

Thanks ralfy, great review a per usual

Shattentor says:

I can’t believe you haven’t reviewed the Glenfarclas 105 yet! I think it’s very interesting considering what you get for your buck, will you perhaps review it at some point?

PeatSmokey says:

Max, your a dope.

urfanorependra says:

same here. it is more or less one of the most flavourless whiskies I have had so far. dull nose, dull palate. water only makes it worse. it was rather cheap at 29 euro, but not worth it. a Glenlivet 12 is a fruit and flavour bomb with character compared to the Black Bull 12

Malt454 says:

Of the two, I think JW Black is more challenging with more things to find (and balanced against each other), than Black Bull 12, but I find the flavours deeper and more rounded in Black Bull, probably because of the higher malt content and ABV. While JW is the better quality/price value for everyday many would probably find the Black Bull the bigger, more satisfying experience – but its market/price advantage over a good single malt is slim and its real niche not always clear to me.

PeatSmokey says:

@Malt454…Thanx much for the effort and going the extra mile for a fellow maltmate.
I think your spot on w/some type of “maple-ing” going on. That Rye Maple note as in say,a Bulleit Rye does not show up too often in whiskeys other than Bourbons and Kentucky spirits. The wood enhancement has to be key.maybe ex Makers Mark barrels,etc.
I will def pass on the knowledge to that ‘friend of mine’. He tells me Rye on its own as a new-make has zero discernable maple so again thanks M454.

rhirsch81 says:

The No. 10 Bus from Buchanan Station in Glasgow stops right in front of Glengoyne Distillery on its way to Balfron. I know this as I just visited there. Beautiful scenery and enjoyable tour guides.

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