The Black Bull Kyloe is a blended Scotch whisky produced by independent bottlers Duncan & Taylor. Duncan & Taylor are known for bottling very old Scotch whisky at extremely reasonable prices and some of the most noteworthy among them are the Glenrothes 1969 Vintage 40 Year Old (Octave) and the Black Bull 40 Year Old. The Black Bull Kyloe is a no age statement whisky, and this seems to detract somewhat from what has made Duncan & Taylor so appealing in the past – aged whisky at great prices. Nonetheless, with the spike in global demand for whisky, dwindling supplies of older whisky and more knowledge about how to mature whisky faster the move to no age statements seems inevitable for many producers. This is not necessarily a bad thing. It is just that it removes the only objective measure consumers have about the nature of a whisky – how long it has been in a cask.
The Black Bull Kyloe is named after a breed of cattle from the Scottish Highlands that appear to have no issues with the weather, braving the cold and volatile weather. Either that or they just don’t like to make a fuss. The whisky itself is a blend with, apparently, a high malt content and after being non-chill filtered it is bottled at 50% ABV. It is, overall, a well-priced dram that is hardy just like the Kyloe but quite a textbook blend with something a tad too young about it that does not seem to offer much over the other commercial blends on the market.
Nose: The first whiff of this blend yields no surprises – it is a textbook example of a blend that, according to my nose, indicates the core of this whisky is young. That barley s slightly oily, but it still carries the aroma of new make that I would expect the oak cask to slowly clean up over time. In this regard, it is similar to a number of entry level whiskies on the market – Ballentine’s Finest comes to mind. The bouquet is however enjoyable, with a metallic hue that underpins raisin, powdered chocolate, grain and hints of vanilla with wet varnished pine wood.
Taste: Definitely a blend on the cheaper end of the spectrum, it is super sweet on the entry with the grain leading the assault together with syrup, cooked apple, orange essence and hints of cinnamon and nutmeg with the slight twang of wood. The style of the apple notes indicates, again, something young is in this blend. Each consecutive tasting yields the same reaction: “too sweet!”, cringe.
Finish: The bitterness lingers with the syrupy sugars, but they do not seems to be in sync or meld and instead clash with each other without balancing out. There is more vanilla on the finish, similar to rum and raisin with shavings of bitter cocoa rich chocolate.