The Bottle o’ Blues (also known as BoB) mic has a very distinctive sonic character–in particular, lots of low frequency response, with a reduced high end. The mic’s element breaks up strongly when the built in volume control is maxed out, which makes it a very bluesy mic, less suitable for smoother material where a clearer tone is desired.
The mic also has a unique look, mainly because the body is made from a plastic spice jar. This unique approach gives it great ergonomics, meaning that it’s light weight and easily held. Build quality is solid; the mic can easily survive being dropped, though it’s unlikely to survive being squashed.
It occurred to me recently that I had never tried the BoB through my Digitech RP355, so I decided to record a piece or two for this review. The mic and RP turned out to be a very good match. No mic sounds great with every amp, and an amp modeler lets you easily try a mic with a dozen (modeled) amps or so to see which ones work best. It turned out that the BoB sounded very good with several Fender-based amp models and a wide range of sounds and FX, from clean to amped blues and even metal. It lacks the glowing richness that you can get with a Fireball V, which sells for more than twice as much (though not expensive as mics go at about $125), as well as the Fireball’s high output level, but it’s a sound with satisfying depth, and you can always turn up the amp for more volume. It’s pretty feedback resistant too, at least with the RP.
I made a recording of this mic with an RP355 patch that uses a Blackface Deluxe amp model, and you can hear it here: Bottle o’ Blues mic with RP355 Blackface Deluxe. The BoB is running straight to the RP355, which in turn goes straight into a Peavey KB/A 100 keyboard amp with EQ set flat. I recorded into my Zoom H4’s builtin mics from a distance of about 3 feet. There is no other processing on the recording. (This RP355 patch also includes a slapback delay and reverb.) You can hear the mic breaking up in several places. It’s a very authentically bluesy sound.
The BoB is versatile enough for lots of styles and very strong for blues in particular. I don’t think this mic is the only one I’d want in my collection, but you could do a lot worse, and in the price range (about $50 new) I’m sure you can’t do better, especially for amped blues. If you’ve got a smoother mic already, like a Fireball V or a Shure 57, and want something that does dirty blues well, this might be it.