The good folks at Duncan Taylor were kind enough to send us this sample of Black Bull 12yo. After trying the 30yo some time ago, Matt was especially eager to try this one. Richard has not had the pleasure of either yet. We’ll update the post with his notes soon.
Black Bull 12yo Deluxe Blended Scotch Whisky
50% ABV/100 Proof
£32.99, Available Now In The UK & Soon In The US (we’ll update the price to US dollars when we have it)
What The Distillery Says:
This special blend is a marriage of the finest 12 year old single malt and single grain whiskies distilled in Scotland. The selection of whiskies falls true to the Duncan Taylor ethic of unbridled quality, each whisky from each cask is nose and tasted before going into the Black Bull vatting.
Black Bull contains 50% malt whisky and 50% grain whisky and is non-chill filtered.
What Matt Says:
Nose: Without water, the nose is very “grainy.” It’s quite a bit like a pot stilled rye with a few light notes of dark fruit. With water, the nose opens up to beautiful florals and notes of citrus, orange blossom honey, and cacao nibs.
Palate: Again, the grain is dominant without water. The palate is dry and spicy with a citrus tang. Water makes the palate much more Scotch-like. Flavors of dark fruits, caramel apples (green ones), and oak come out to play.
Finish: Without water, the finish is almost like whisky bitters. The lingering flavors are oak, bitters, and orange zest. Water brings out pears, pomegranate, and dark chocolate.
Comments: This is an interesting sensory experience. I’ve never tasted a whisky that changed quite this much with water. It might as well be straight grain whisky without water. With water, Black Bull 12yo turns into a suitable entry-level whisky. Strangely, the finish is much more bold and interesting than the palate; an about face compared to our Gateway Series Scotches. A while back, I had the opportunity to sample the 30yo: a fine dram indeed. While this does not come close to the 30yo (not that anyone expects a challenge), the Black Bull 12yo is fine blend and worthy of a tipple. The finish alone is worth a try.
What Richard Says:
Nose: Fruit and old unpolished wood with hints of candied orange slices. It turns floral and grainy with water.
Palate: Very spicy with hints of apple peel. With water it quickly mellows the spice and turns to floral notes with a minute sweetness.
Finish: Very dry and oaky. Water smoothes out the finish nicley and adds lingering apple peel again but I don’t get the same dramatic changes that Matt does.
Comments: This is a very dry whisky. More so than any I’ve had in recent memory. It’s interesting for sure and definitely one to have with some water.
Overall Rating: Average. Strongly consider adding water to this one.