My two favourite passions can not be combined, with a passion for all things motorsports and whisky you can see why. Now there are many instances of whisky companies sponsoring motorsports teams. From Johnnie Walker in F1 to Crown Royal in Indy car, so for Black Bull Whisky to sponsor the Garage59 team in the British GT championship, for me it’s just another opportunity to combine my two passions.
With the championship starting this weekend at Oulton park, what better time for me to review some of the Black Bull range. I’ll be reviewing the core range expressions, starting with the Kyloe then the 12yo and finally the 21yo.
First released in 1864 by George Willsher from Dundee, Black Bull was a unique bold blend and completely different for the time. Made up of 50% single malts and 50% single grain whisky then bottled at 50% abv, this was something not heard of at the time with most blenders following a set formula. In 2001 Black Bull was acquired by the Shand family as part of the Duncan Taylor Scotch Whisky Ltd acquisition, because they have been left to run themselves independently they still have the freedom to keep a unique fresh approach to producing whisky. Now being blended and bottled in the market town of Huntly in Aberdeenshire.
Black Bull became involved in motorsports in 2013 when they became the sponsor of the Ecurie Ecosse racing team, in 2016 they started the sponsorship of the Black Bull Garage59 racing team. With drivers Sandy Mitchell and Ciaran Haggerty in the #100 car, promoting the 100 proof (50% abv) of the blend. The car two drivers are Dean McDonald at only 16 years of age a rising star on the motorsports scene, along side him will be Akhil Rabindra from the British F3 championship.
So on to the whisky and first up the Kyloe, bottled at 50% abv and non chill filtered this is a NAS blend.
Nose: Malty to start then vanilla comes through, heather honey and milk chocolate bring a nice sweetness to it, the fresh crisp apple note I got kept the nose quite refreshing.
Palate: sweet with vanilla, honey and the milk chocolate to start, then a touch of apple, kiwi and lime come through, there is a nice oak and pepper hit to it as well.
Finish: medium in length with a nice peppery warmth and an oak aftertaste.
Now the 12yo, again bottled at 50% abv and non chill filtered but has 55% malt to grain ratio.
Nose: Honey, malty cereal note, the sherry influence is present in the form of redcurrants, soft plum note and a orange hit.
Palate: Baked apples, cranberries, some citrus notes, rich honey, warm peppery hit with an oak undertone, nice creamy mouth feel..
Finish: Not to long and smooth with some oak and a little pepper.
Final the 21yo, this is bottles at 50% abv and non chill filtered.
Nose: Vanilla, rich honey, sweet red apples, soft tangerine, lemon, a lovely sweet spice note..
Palate: Peppery spice, soft oak, some clove, touch of lime, with a very soft hint of the apple from the nose, vanilla and a sweet nougat hit, a very rich but light mouth feel..
Finish: Nice and long with a big pepper hit that makes it lovely and warm..
For a core range of expressions this is very good, the 21yo is excellent and I would highy recommend this to anyone. For the other two my personal preference sways me more towards the Kyloe, I think it just has a bit more attitude than the 12. This is something I quite like in my whiskies, plus I feel it’s an absolute bargin for the price at around £23 mark hence I’ve already purchased a bottle.
I can see why Black Bull blend has won so many awards, it has something about it that makes you want to have another sip. I’m now on the hunt for the two special releases to try and hopefully one day, I’ll be lucky enough to have an opportunity to try the prestigious 40yo blend.
I would like to say thank you to the Duncan Taylor guys at the Newcastle whisky festival for the chance to try the 21yo, you were not wrong it is sublime and we’ll worth getting.
As for the the racing team please follow them on Twitter and Facebook if your interested. I would like to wish them good luck for the coming championship.