That’s right, I had a break over the Christmas and New Year period but I’m here once again, writing meaningless reviews on whiskies that most folk will never hear of or taste. Not that they’re expensive, they’re just obscure. Left of centre. Odd. Is this just me rambling? Is this just me screaming into the void? Is this just a build up to announce todays whisky review is one you’ll rarely see? Or is it all of the above?
For the first World Whisky Wednesday of 2021 (that I wrote a review for) we’re looking at the Lord Randolph Oxford Malt Whiskey from Black-Bottle-Distillery.
I’ve been sitting on this whiskey for some time, it’s something that arrived in an order months ago and the whiskey has been sitting on a shelf slowly gathering dust as the cactus nearby fades in the winter cold. It’s not that I’ve been avoiding it, it’s just that there were more interesting things to drink and talk about, but now that I’m sitting down with this whiskey it’s getting very interesting indeed.
Let’s kick off with this, you read correctly earlier when I said this is from Black Bottle Distillery, but for most drinkers the mention of Black Bottle makes you think of, well, Black Bottle.
This is not those guys. Black Bottle Whisky is a Blended Scotch Whisky, known for its distinctive black bottle. Black Bottle Distillery is a distillery located near Oxford, best known for their IQ Gin and their plethora of give a way’s on social media. Yes, it is a single malt, aged for around four years in ‘small barrels’, let’s assume 100L.
That’s pretty much all the information there is, so shall we get to tasting notes?
I’m not joking there. The lack of information on this whiskey is somewhat staggering. Even the spelling seems inconsistent, a look online shows a pictures of the bottle spelt whisky on the label, where as mine is spelt…. whiskey.
Even looking at the website there is no mention of the whiskey (or whisky) at all, aside from a twitter feed on the right hand side that shows their competition. Heading to twitter their timeline was filled with simply more stuff about this competition and others, and I couldn’t message them. An email sent last week went unanswered.
I am left confused and wondering about the whiskey, whisky and distillery. I discovered that the founder is a Mr Tony Reilly, but searching for Tony Reilly turned up a predictable results, Sir Anthony Joseph Francis O’Reilly. With an absence of evidence, I have no choice but to believe that this whisky comes from that famed rugby player turned businessman and philanthropist.
Perhaps that’s why the spelling is so odd. Cheers Sir Reilly, let’s jump into tasting notes.
It starts off similar to tea, there’s some dried lemon grass mixing with fresh grated ginger. Old soft chocolate and some spicy oranges, somewhat spiritous with some raspberries and blueberries. It smells somewhat flavoured, sultanas, coriander and hints of rye biscuits but they don’t feel to be a part of the whisky, more sitting on the top. If I didn’t know any better I would say that there is a bit of gin in this bottle. It’s almost like an old Cointreau or aged jenever, maybe some of the batches got mixed up?
It’s back with that jenever flavour, coriander, aniseed, some grape juice, lemon, spiced oranges and it’s a bit thick, but again all the flavours feel separated. The palate and the spirit, the taste and the mouthfeel don’t seem to fit together, more as though someone has just mixed an aged whiskey with flavouring. I guess there’s some nuttiness in there too? Macadamia and chestnut, but then it’s back to the spice, black pepper, honeysuckle and some fresh mint. And brown sugar, kind of just thrown in there.
Finish is medium length with a brown sugar consistency, oddly thick but parting. Mint, coriander, lemon grass and some eucalyptus.
I’m pretty sure this is an aged jenever. I passed it over to somewhiskylass in the hopes that maybe my tastebuds were off, but she’s of the mind that it’s more rum-ish than anything else. I don’t really know what to say about it, it’s not a whiskey, or a whisky, it was aged, it does seem to have a malt base but the flavours aren’t inherent to the grain or the oak. Maybe the cask was used to age gin? Maybe the spirit passed was meant to be split? I just can’t call this a whiskey, and I keep coming back to one thing, this is aged jenever.
I don’t really know how to end on that, but as I’ve not been able to source any information about the whiskey I think that’s rather fitting. Would I buy another bottle of this? No, no I would not. I’ll buy a bottle of Black Bottle, I quite like the stuff, but this Lord Randolph Oxford is just not there. I don’t think I’d recommend it to anyone else either, come to think of it, but I can’t speak for their gin so feel free to grab a bottle of that. Or a bottle of this…. Whatever it is. It’s pretty much the same thing.
Confusing, discordant and no one knows who it was made for. That sums it up.
If you would like to learn more about Black-Bottle-Distillery, click here to visit their site.
This review is not sponsored or endorsed by any distillery, Black-Bottle or otherwise, and is entirely the words of the author Somewhiskybloke.
If you enjoyed reading this, why not give me a follow on Twitter at @Somewhiskybloke? There you can stay up to date with what I’m drinking and what news I’m ignoring while trapped in the wonderful whisky bubble.
17 thoughts on “Maybe Get Black Bottle Instead – Lord Randolph Oxford Whiskey Review”
I have heard that distillers who run whiskey through stills that previously distilled gin can often impart residue flavours – especially the botanicals – to the new spirit.
Could this be a possibility with dear old Lord Randolph?
I’m thinking that might be it, it tastes as though something hasn’t been cleaned.
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A pity I liked the lord Randolph. Did you really try it???
Tried it multiple times, just not enjoyable unfortunately.
A little to hard on this Whisky, . Hope Mr Reilly is a forgiving person.
Pity you removed my reply to your blog.
I believe its only fair that others are allowed to make their mine up on Lord Randolph. To this end anyone replying to the email below will receive a 50ml bottle.
Thanks for an interesting review and I’d love to know more about this whisky, could Tony here help, please? What cask was it in and what’s with the inconsistency with the whisky/whiskey label, please? Makes it seem like someone’s relabelled fake whisky with that vital spelling mistake which would deter me from buying it, unfortunately.
I’m surprised about the distillery name and know there was an issue with two brands in Scotland having too similar names which went legal. Hope that won’t be the case here but will try to discover more about their gins
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The Black Bottle Distillery came from the bottles we used for the GIN. Originally this was the track we took and only extended into Whisky at a later date.
The barrels are 100 litre and we learnt quickly to filter before we age as we were carrying flavour across from the still.
If you wish a bottle I would be more than happy to send you one FOC.
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Thanks for that info, good to know. I wonder if this review was based on an early bottle and a more recent one might be different. A bottle would be wonderful, thank you. The name reminds me of long afternoon teas in Oxford
Was it ex-bourbon casks redone into 100L casks or virgin oak casks made especially for you?
What kind of filtering do you do before aging in order to prevent the carrying of flavours?
just drop us a note to email@example.com and a bottle will be sent.
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That’s very kind of you, thank you!
The barrels are Oak and reworked by Celtic Oak. We did learn quickly to carbon filter the spirit from the still as there was a carry over from the Gin. As a small distillery we began with Gin, as we needed to generate cash flow through the period maturation.
With Whiskey, aging removes the harsh flavours from the raw alcohol but it also highlighted any pass through from the still. This is no longer a concern and was put to right some years back.
Samples are available FOC if you wish to try. Just drop me a note to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you, I’ll drop you an email then!
To put things right, I will offer to supply a case of Lord Randolph free of charge to the first 6 people to contact me and are willing to write a review on this site. The offer also goes to the sites blogger.
The above blog has cost us thousands and we need to put this right once and for all.