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Black & White

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Black & White

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Black & White

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!

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.

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.


James Buchanan @ Co. makes Black & White Blended Scotch whisky. The label portrays two Scottish Terriers, one black and one white. The reviewed bottle was opened yesterday, and sampled yesterday and today. My thanks to Dr. Feng for the bottle

Nose: in just one day this nose went from muted to very full. There is a lot of sweet fragrant grape wine, like one of the more gentle Speyside or Lowland wine-influenced malts. This nose is very much like Glengoyne 10 yo malt, a "Highland" malt impersonating a mild Speyside or Lowland style, or like Aberlour 10 yo. The barley malt is very noticeable, and judging from the nose, I really don't notice any "grain whisky" influence. A hint of salt. Very nice nose

Palate: on the palate both the barley and the "grain" flavours are very sharp and hard, much harder than in the nose. There is tart sour lemon citrus together with an enormous amount of honeyed sweetness. A little more salt than in the nose. Wine flavours are still noticeable around the edges

Finish: pretty long finish with the flavours holding up well; the grain remains very firm and very sharp

Balance: there is a lot of flavour here for a 40% abv blended Scotch. The balance of sweet, sour, and some bitter is very nicely done, and it is a very dynamic balance...as though each of these strong flavours is speaking to you in a very loud voice. On day 1 of opening, this bottle of Black & White was rather muted. Not today. I like it. I like it a lot

Three years later, I am trying some of the last 30% of this reviewed bottle of Black & White Blended Scotch. I still like this bottle of Black & White very much. It is crisp and flavourful, with mostly barley and wheat flavours. There is a just a hint of wine. This is one for those who enjoy sharp and vivid flavours coming from barley and wheat.

Sadly my county system no long stocks 750 ml bottles of Black & White. If I want more after this bottle from a close at hand source I would have to buy a 1.75 Litre bottle. I am unlikely to do that, despite the very reasonable price of $ 32.99 plus 9% tax.

Reading reviews like this one and your comment is very discouraging. I have trouble getting through a 350 cc bottle of something I'd like to try but not necessarily go for regularly.

If only the bottlers would provide 200cc bottles of everything, we could expand our whisky horizons so much more... and waste less.

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