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Black Bottle Whisky Blending Workshop

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As part of Jim’s Christmas, Nicola bought tickets for a tasting / blending session by Black Bottle Whisky, being held in the grand Glasgow Royal Concert Hall on Friday the 15th of January 2010.

This was one of Jim’s highlights of all his Christmas presents and eagerly awaited the day of the blending / tasting.

The day arrived, Jim and Nicola sporting our Whisky Boys polo shirts headed for Croy railway station for the train to Glasgow Queen Street Station, which is only a few hundred yards from the Concert Hall.

As Jim and Nicola left in plenty of time, this gave them the opportunity to visit one or two establishments to do a little Whisky tasting, purely for scientific reasons only.

Our first call was the Outback Bar / Lounge / Diner at the top of Hope Street, this large bar gave off very little atmosphere and the choice of Whiskies was small and very basic. It certainly catered for the younger bottled beer and lager drinkers and certainly was not to the liking of the Whisky Boys.

Our second port of call was a different kettle of fish, the Atholl Arms, which is on the corner of Renfield St. and Renfrew St. this old style bar had a very welcoming atmosphere and a quick look at the bar told us they sold real ale, this is a big plus, and a look up at the gantry gave us joy and gladness as they had a grand selection of blends and single malt Whiskies. Both Jim and Nicola enjoyed a wee dram and a half pint of real ale together with other patrons of this bar/diner who all were in good spirit and added to the feel good factor this bar gave us, we shall be back.

The time was now marching on and we headed for the highlight of the day the Black Bottle tasting/blending session

We arrived up in the Buchanan Suite to be met by our hosts Dr. Kirstie McCallum (blender) and David Allan both from Burn Stewart Distillers Ltd

As you can see from the photos the tables were fabulously set out and we took to our seats an awaited for the other trainee blenders to take their seats.

The evening began by Kirstie introducing herself and David her co-host for the evening and giving us all a brief history of Burn Stewart together with some of the in’s and out’s of Blending and tasting,

The idea of the night was for all the trainee blenders to attempt to duplicate the colour/nose/taste/finish of the fantastic Black Bottle (please check out the rest of our website and you will find our Black Bottle tasting together with other articles on Burn Stewart products).

We were given all the various malts and grain Whiskies together with measuring glasses and funnels etc to try and achieve a replicant of Black Bottle, not an easy task may we say.

Throughout the blending process we were able to taste all the different Whiskies that make up Black Bottle, which was no hardship for the two Whisky Boys.

When all the mixing/blending/tasting was completed were able to bottle a small sample of our own individual blend and take it home with us, but a tasting glass containing our mix was then tasted by Kirstie ( what a job that is ) and she gave us all comments on how good or bad our efforts were, she said some too peaty, some too little peat, some too much grain Whisky added etc etc.

Kirstie then after tasting 18 drams mixed by the trainee’s she gave us her winner, a Mrs Heather Parton (who told us she has a strong family relationship with Bladnoch Distillery in the borders, this is one of our favourite Whiskies ) and her prize for blend was a bottle of Black Bottle.

Throughout the evening both Kirstie and David interacted with all the trainee’s, swapping tales about Whisky and of course Islay, (the spiritual home of Black Bottle,) a very happy and enjoyable time was had by all.

If any of our readers every get a chance of doing this blending/tasting session do not hesitate to go for it, what a great time and experience the Whisky Boys had, so check out their website or contact Burn Stewart Distillers Ltd for information.

A BIG thanks to Kirstie and David for a great and memorable evening, and also a special thank you for the lovely goodie bags we all received at the end of the evening.

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4 Responses

  1. Liz Irwin says:

    My husband and sons went to the whisky blending workshop in January 2010. I think it was organised through Celtic Connection. They all absolutely loved it and I worndering if you will be holding it again begining of 2011. So hope you can. I have told people about it and they are keen to buy tickets for Christmas presents.

    So hope you can.

    Liz Irwin

  2. Jim says:

    Hi Liz, hope this finds you well,

    Hope you liked a wee look through our site.
    We have contacted Black Bottle and got a reply from David Allan who was one the hosts at the Celtic Connections Black Bottle Blending Sessions and hear is his reply, if we get any further information we will contact you.

    Jim and Nicola The Whisky Boys

    Hi Jim,

    Hope you’re well and it’s good to hear from you. We don’t know if we are going to be doing the blending sessions at Celtic Connections yet. We are still speaking to them regarding what we are going to be doing. Will keep you updated. Are you on Facebook? We have a “Black Bottle 1879 Club” and will be promotion our events on there. We have a real focus on Glasgow next year, so I’m sure we can accommodate you on one of them.



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