Black Bottle Whisky Tells A Story Dating Back From 1879


There’s a new whisky on the block….the Black Bottle!


The famous Black Bottle blend of single malt and grain whiskies is living up to its name, bringing back its distinctive black bottle after a break of a century. In keeping with the history of the Aberdeen original created in 1879, the recipe has also been revised to bring it in line with the creator, Gordon Graham’s, original product.



Black Bottle Whisky

The Original Black Bottle


The changes follow 18 months of development.


“The revised look and blend offer a more authentic version of Black Bottle’s history and was rigorously researched before the recent global introduction to rave reviews.  It won the World’s Best Relaunch Award at this year’s World Whisky Design Awards following its debut in Scotland a few months ago,” says SA brand spokesperson, Taygan Govinden.


As its name suggests, Black Bottle was originally presented in a black bottle, when it was launched by the Graham brothers in 1879 in Aberdeen. They soon developed a loyal following for their rich and delicately smoky whisky that they brought to market in a distinctive black bottle sourced from Germany. When World War I interrupted their supply, the brothers were forced to switch to a regular green bottle.


Now, a century later, Black Bottle is celebrating its origins with the retro look and blend. The new design has been inspired by a black bottle found in the company archives and that dates back to 1906, while the blend has been adjusted to reflect the recipe created in Aberdeen by Gordon Graham and his brothers, Charles and David, 135 years ago.


Master distiller Ian Macmillan, a whisky industry veteran of more than 40 years, was tasked with revising the blend to recapture its original richness, balance and intensity. The result is a lusciously rich whisky with a slightly smoky taste. Every single component, from the selected malts and grains, to the type of casks have imparted a layered complexity to the blend.

Black Bottle Whisky

The Newly Launched Black Bottle


Says MacMillan: “Fresh and floral on the nose with whiffs of new-sawn oak and a hint of smoke, it opens onto a silky palate with delicate smoke and peat balanced by sweet oak and honey, to end on a lingering finish of spice. This whisky is very versatile and can be enjoyed neat or with a mixer, which is why aficionados and newcomers alike are responding to it so positively.”


Black Bottle Launch


I joined guests attending the “speak easy” themed launch at a secret location, The Black Bar in the basement of the Cape Town Club.  Upon arrival, guests were screened by a guy called Mr McLeod.

We were escorted inside where we were greeted by a dwarf called Papy, a very sassy lady of the house, Miss Ruby, and then Mr Black, the key narrator of the Black Bottle story.


Once inside the vintage themed “speak easy”, the rendezvous included a meeting with Papy the dwarf;  the very sassy lady of the house, Miss Ruby; and then Mr Black, the key narrator of the Black Bottle story.

We got to look at the new pack, taste the rich and supremely balanced new blend, and experience how well it worked in cocktails, thanks to mixologist Don Sheehan.


Said Taygan Govinden, Black Bottle’s SA marketing manager: “We decided on a very different and dramatic way of introducing the new look and new taste of Black Bottle to selected media and whisky lovers. It was a memorable experience. They loved the drama and of course, the new iteration of Black Bottle.”


The new Black Bottle, retailing for between R240 and R260 per 750ml bottle is now available from liquor outlets countrywide.

I got to taste taste Black Bottle neat with a little bit of water and in a cocktail.  It has a distinct flavour and I must say different from other whiskies on the market.

Here’s a cocktail you should try out at home:


Black Bottle Elderflower Collins






Lemon zest twist



1 part Black Bottle whisky

20ml freshly squeezed lemon juice

12.5ml elderflower cordial

1 part soda water



Pour first three ingredients into glass, fill with ice, add soda water, stir, garnish with a lemon zest twist.


For more info, visit:

Follow Black Bottle on Facebook (

Like Twitter (


Join the conversation using: #BlackBar





About Author


Thuli Gogela is a Food Technologist with 8 years of experience developing products in food manufacturing. She is dedicated to discovering wholesome traditional dishes and recipes with a distinctive taste from different parts of the African continent. Thuli is well known for her food blog, Mzansi Style Cuisine which was established in 2010. She saw a gap in the traditional food market that people were hungry for. From there, it didn’t take long to build her brand. In 2013, she started writing a recipe column for the Cape Times for and has collaborated with some of the biggest brands in South Africa namely, Knorr, Nedeburg Wines, First Choice and Spekko rice. Not only does Thuli feature traditional African dishes, she’s also open to developing recipes, food consultations and brand collaborations.

Post a Comment