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Black & White

12 Minis! - Part I

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@talexanderReview by @talexander

25th Aug 2014


  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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Some weeks ago I participated in the monthly online auction Scotch Whisky Auctions (based in Glasgow) and won (among other things) twelve minis. Thankfully my good friend Rick Culver was in Glasgow shortly after and was able to bring them back with him (thus saving me a bundle on shipping). So over the next few weeks, let's explore some of these little treasures! There are 11 Scotch blends and one Canadian, all with very good fill levels.

Though today owned by Diageo, Black & White is a brand originally owned by Buchanan's (and used to be called Buchanan's Special). According to legend, in the 1890s James Buchanan supplied this whisky to the House of Commons, in a very dark bottle with a white label. Thus it came to simply be known as "Black and White." The dogs on the label are a black Scottish terrier and a white West Highland terrier (a "Westie"). Today the brand is mostly enjoyed in South America, and in France (where I believe this mini originated from). My research shows this as normally bottled at 40%, but this mini is at 43%, so perhaps it is a little old? Or is that the strength that is exported to France? If you know, please comment below.

The colour is a pale gold. Quite shy on the nose, but there is definite peak smoke, oak and buttery malt. The peat combined with the thickness of the malt give this a real old-school Scotch feel. Musty library, yet also slightly medicinal. With time, more floral - that musty library becomes a fragrant garden. A drop of water changes things with more highly pronounced malt and peat smoke. Remarkable.

On the palate - delicious! Beautiful interplay between malt and grain. Buttery, with lemon and vanilla. Much less reserved than the nose. Gentle ribbons of peat and oak. The citrus adds a very classy touch here. Water gives it a creamier mouthfeel and stronger peat. Extremely well balanced.

The finish features more citrus, and is slightly smoky with a hint of spice and mouth-drying oak. Long but subtle. This is my kind of whisky - full-bodied, savoury, malty and smoky. It is really too bad this is not available in Ontario, as this would become one of my go-to scotches. I can imagine this would have a lot less oomph at 40%, so I am delighted I got to try it at 43%. Too bad it's not a full bottle though!

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Victor commented

Glad to see that you like Black & White. It really is quite a juicy blended Scotch. Down here $ 17.82 will buy you 750 ml of it.

8 years ago 0

Frost commented

Interesting review. I have been curious about this whisky. Unfortunately I don't think it's for sale here anymore. It was (along with Dimple) my grandfather's favourite blends.

8 years ago 0

JeffC commented

But no 43% in the US. I tried the 40% a few years ago and really liked it.

8 years ago 0

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