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Back to black for Burn Stewart's Black Bottle

Burn Stewart Distillers has unveiled the new Black Bottle Scotch Whisky – a return to the original blend and bottle design.

Black Bottle is a premium blended Scotch Whisky which was launched in 1879 by Gordon Graham & Co and acquired by Burn Stewart in 2003. It is presently exported to over 30 countries globally, however, approximately 80% of sales are UK, but this is expected to change with its new bottle and new blend, both created to have greater appeal to a new generation of whisky drinkers and new world markets.

After 18 months of extensive global consumer research and design development, the new Black Bottle heralds a return to the original Scotch, which the Graham brothers created in Aberdeen at the turn of the 19th Century.

Burn Stewart Master Distiller, Ian MacMillan, was charged with creating a product which would be more in keeping with its original north east recipe. The result is a curiously rich and slightly smoky taste that maintains the distinctiveness of Black Bottle but adds another layer of depth to the liquid.

Ian 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.

“This whisky will appeal to the experienced blended drinker who enjoys drinking Scotch neat as well as those exploring whiskies for the first time and who prefer to add a mixer. Restoring the blend to its former glory has been a rewarding and nostalgic experience as it has given me the opportunity to revisit the original identity of Black Bottle.”

Burn Stewart will launch Black Bottle in new packaging, abandoning the regular green glass whisky bottle and re-introducing the distinctive black glass bottle, which was the original inspiration behind the name of the brand. This iconic bottle was used by the Graham brothers up until the outbreak of the First World War when supplies from the German manufacturer ceased and they were forced to revert to a standard green glass bottle which has remained until the present day.

“It was thought that no examples of this once-famous black glass bottle survived,” says Marco Di Ciacca, Senior Brand Manager for Burn Stewart. “However, after months of searching, we managed to find a bottle dating back to 1906, which then became the inspiration for our new design. This new look is in line with the growing global consumer trend for premium spirits with authentic and compelling brand stories.”

The new tapered, embossed and debossed and tapered black glass bottle with metalic gold, black and white printed PS labels was designed by a Northamptonshire-based company, Robinson Associates Design, and the bottles manufactured by Allied Glass.

Black Bottle will be available internationally from October 2013 (40%ABV, UK RRP £17.99-£18.99).


27 September 2013 - Felicity Murray The Drinks Report, editor