White Horse is a blend with a rich history. It was launched by Mackie & Co, who at the time owned both Craigellachie and Lagavulin distilleries. It is named after the White Horse Inn in Canongate, Edingburgh and was first released in the 1880s. Funny detail: the White Horse Inn was actually owned by the Mackie family from 1650 until 1917. In 1927 DCL (now Diageo) took over the brand. They even liquidated the White Horse Distillers Ltd company, even though the blend is still being produced today. I am fortunate enough to try a bottle from the 1970s, at 43%.
OMD! What a lovely old school nose indeed! Layered and intruiging. Sevilla oranges, espresso, caramel on brown toast, rust (I kid you not), old books, dusty basement, roasted walnuts, chestnut and furniture polish. I would not be surprised (I am in fact quite certain) if a lot a Lagavulin went in here, but that the malts also got enough time to mature. Let’s not forget that this was bottled in a period when the whisky loch was filling up quickly!
It is nicely oily on the palate, soft on the spices, but mostly dark and sweet with a smoky edge. The oranges become candied, while the old school effect intensifies. It is the perfect continuation of an already grand nose.
The soothing finish brings a smile to my face… until I realize is was the last drop I still had.
Either I was very lucky with my bottle (batches vary, I am told) of this is just a fantastic blend. Kudos!