August 5 2014  |  Spirits & Tobacco

Distell’s Black Bottle whisky moves back to its heritage color

By Wendy Morley

Black Bottle won the World’s Best Relaunch award at this year’s World Whisky Design Awards

Despite its name, Black Bottle whisky has spent the last 100 years or so in a green bottle, but it is celebrating its origins by heading back to its original black color.

When Black Bottle was launched by the Graham brothers in 1879, the smoky whisky was presented in a black bottle that had been sourced in Germany. During World War I the company was unable to acquire the distinctive bottle and was forced to switch to a regular green bottle, in which it has remained for the past 100 years.

Inspired by an archival black bottle dated from 1906, the company designed an updated version, but they didn’t stop there. They also readjusted their blend to hearken back to the original recipe created by the three Graham brothers, Gordon, Charles and David.

“The revised blend offers a more authentic version of Black Bottle's northeastern, late 19th-century roots,” says brand spokesperson for duty-free, Robyn Bradshaw. “Complex but approachable, it offers an excellent balance between richness and smokiness and a great texture. It's versatile and can be enjoyed neat or with a mixer, which is why aficionados and newcomers are responding with such keen approval.”

For its efforts, Black Bottle won the World’s Best Relaunch award at this year’s World Whisky Design Awards. Recently introduced in UK, Russia and the Baltic States, it will soon be released in France, Germany and the US. In November, a one-liter bottle will be released exclusively to travel retail.

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