Tasting Black Bull 12 year old blended Scotch

A lot of times, whisky lovers tend to turn into whisky snobs. They feel only single malt is good enough, and that is a shame. While it is true single malts can be truly awesome and more importantly can be surprising and full of character, they are not always good just because they are single malt. In fact if I had to make a top 5 of worst whiskies I’ve ever tasted every single one of them would be a single malt. Yes that means I’ve found at least 5 single malts that taste worse than Johnny Walker Red Label!

As a side note, Red Label I feel is not so much bad as it is plain and boring. It’s a product for the masses and I think there are better mass produced blends out there, but the taste is not bad. More like ‘meh’. And if you can get your hands on old Red Labels (say anything before the eighties) you’ll actually will be flabbergasted how good they used to be.

Still, they are the reason people generalize about blends. Yet, there are absolutely awesome blended whiskies on the market. Compas Box has to be one of my favorite whisky makers out there, and they are the masters of blended Scotch, blended malts and even blended grains like the amazing Hedonism. More of the independents create great blends, and one of them is Duncan Taylor who created the magnificent Black Bull Series. The 40 year old will blow you away, but if you want an affordable blend that is still serious value for money, the 12 year old comes to mind.

I’ve originally tasted this for beproefd (the old dutch blog) with Werner van den Nouwelant, and I still had one bottle of that batch left. I’ve also got a retaste on one of the many great recent festivals and compared notes with the old blogpost and my own old bottle: it seems pretty consistent.

So here goes …


Very creamy. Salty butter, butterscotch, Caramel and peat. Some red apple as well, although in the older version it was a bit less. I think it’s improved a bit on that front.


Salty butter and caramel. Apricot and cherry. Peppermint. The newer version again has a hint of apple. 


Still that lovely creamy taste and texture. Apricot and apple, pepper, mint and peppermint. (Seriously). Lingers on quite a bit. And I don’t mind at all.

See this is an awesome blend, specially if you take the price into account. It will win over a lot of malt snobs if they give it an honest go.

Very powerful in flavor, and the high alcohol percentage will probably have something to do with it. I’m also quite confident the malt percentage of this whisky is pretty high. And more importantly the grain whisky used has to be of a good quality also.

I use this whisky a lot during blind tastings, and it always wins over the majority of the people present. And for good reason. It is a very good product and one of my favourite daily drams.


This whisky reminds me of: Stephen Dorff

Powerful cowboy in Deputy


The data:

The whiskey: Black Bull 12 Y old
Released by: Duncan Taylor
Year on bottle: 2018
Alcohol percentage: 50 %


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