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Whyte and Mackay 13 Year Old

Average score from 6 reviews and 12 ratings 79

Whyte and Mackay 13 Year Old

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Whyte and Mackay 13 Year Old

Sultanas & raisins on the nose and a hint of vanilla way back. Chewy sweetness on the palate, soft rounded and kind. Long finish spices cracking out at the end.


In this instance i had a bottle of W&M Special (basic Whyte and Mackay blend) on tap which i preceded to enjoy with my dad for a late night dram or two. I then suggested i crack open a bottle of "thirteen" which i had bought the same day. I opened it and poured some from the new bottle, although i will point out we cleared our palates with water before embarking on the journey of putting this Whisky through its paces!

NOSE: Very similar to the "special" with all the same aromas making an appearance although they were more subtle at first. There was a stronger floral note i would add over the "special". A malty smell along with a sweetness from the grain are at the forefront with this blend with a mellow Sherry note coming through. Water did little in my view to open the nose up!

PALATE: The first thing that hits you is the sweetness from the grain Whisky, in fact it's overpowering especially neat. Now there is a greater hot content compared to it's younger brother which was a surprise to me as this is suppose to be smoother. Sultanas, Honey, Brown (almost burnt) sugar along with a big tea note that follows all the way through. Adding water is essential if you want to enjoy this Whisky to its fullest capacity in the mouth... you get all the same tastes but with a smoother delivery. I did pick up on an almost lemon taste but it was minimal!

FINISH: The tea taste is very empowering yet i find it quite enjoyable and different. The sweetness continues all the way through even when you've swallowed it and can be in my opinion "overkill". As usual there is a bite at the back of the throat (which i might add was greater than that of the "special" blend) but there was a welcome taste of raisins, toffee and tea to finish. The finish lasted a good few minutes!

VERDICT: Considering this is a minimum of 13 years i was disappointed to be honest. Especially as i'd literally just been drinking the "special blend" which is between 4-8 years old. All the same aromas and tastes are there compared to the "special" although i will add that the "thirteen" was smoother on the whole (when you add water).. but to be honest i don't think this is worth upgrading from the "special blend" so i would recommend you start there and if you want to go up in the world of blended Whiskys go straight to the "old Luxury 19yo" from Whyte & Mackay (which i hope to review some time soon)

For a 13 year old blend it isn't what i was expecting, it's certainly better than the "special" blend in terms of smoothness but that's about it. If all you want is good blend to keep around the house i would say stick with W&M special.

I thought i would just leave a small piece of advice beyond what i have said in my review... adding more water than normal (but not too much) really helps this Whisky so be prepared to add more than you normally would!!


The first thing that strikes you about The Thirteen is the rounded quality of the nose. It's gently unobtrusive but inviting, and exceptionally harmonious. The defining characteristic is a sweetness, but not a cloying one: this is a nose of exquisite poise, built around a honeyed note paired with a robust maltiness. It's ornamented with a delicate array of fragrances that are not easy to separate out - you're likely to find your own scents in here - but I get ripe fig and proud oak, garnished with a little mint.

On the palate, the first taste is a lovely coating of caramel backed up with good-quality bitter chocolate. The harmony from the nose shines through in the mouth - you can really sense the impact of the year that the malts spent married together in the barrel before the grains joined them for bottling. Returning to the nose unveils a syrupy partner to the caramel taste, alongside the suggestion of loose-leaf tea. A second taste once that initial gulp has had time to open up on the palate brings citric and biscuity notes, but really emphasises the distinctly creamy texture of the body.

At 40% ABV it's not overly muscular and can certainly be taken without water, but I'm glad that I added a drop - The Thirteen developed and opened up more than any other whisky that I've tried. You can now detect delicately (and I mean that - they're incredibly subtle) phenolic undertones that enliven the nose, in partnership with a sweetness that is much fruitier (is that a cherry note?) than the rather vanilla qualities you first found. You really sense the Speyside presence in the blend, with all the elegant charm that that suggests, coming to the fore. After the water, the palate is even creamier, and also better reflects the citric note that the nose promised.

The finish begins with bitter chocolate and tea before a lightly alcoholic tang crescendoes, ebbing out through a consistently biscuity taste into a sweet farewell. This really is the dram for all seasons: there's plenty here to delve into, with both light and heavy elements well-represented. On the other hand, if you want your whisky simply to accompany (and enrich) contemplation, conversation and relaxation, then The Thirteen is a smooth and enjoyable partner for your reflections. The lions rampant on the (very pretty) box were clearly salivating at the prospect of a glass. For the money, you'd be hard pressed to find better - and you could spend substantially more before you found an improvement.

That's very kind of you to say - I'm sure you'll enjoy it a great deal. I've tried a few, actually, though I'm sorry to say I've been rather dilatory in uploading my reviews here!

The quickest way to see them is to look at casktales.com/tag/whyte-&-mackay review/ - that's the Whyte & Mackay archive on Cask Tales, the blog that I run with a friend. They're all very pleasant, in my opinion, but for value it's hard to beat The Thirteen.

Fantastic review, this will be my next purchase i think. Can i ask have you tried any other W&M blends? thanks


13 year old is indeed a weird age for a blend. We usually find those aged 10 or 12. When asked about this, Richard Paterson, Master Blender of W&M , replied that after blending malts of at least 12 years old, the malts are then married for an additional year until they are 13 years old in the cask to further harmonise them, then they are bottled.

Nose: malt , mint , honey and warm sherry.

Palate : firm body with honey, sultanas , and big malty backbone, the grain is very noticeable.

Finish: Oak, sultanas and bitter chocolate.


This is a quality drop. The standard blend is all sugar and caramel but this has some depth. A really nice suprise. It's a superbly blended drink. And is nicely complex, each sip giving way to something more interesting.

As a premium blend, it's way better than a JW red. Almost as good as a Dalmore 12 which cost almost double.

Nose - Sherbut, figs and play-doh Palate - Orange, sherry, honey, a little smoke, very smooth. Finish - Huge malt and sherry dominates, brown sugar, liquorice and smoothness continues.


Nose, Taste, Finish and Balance are graded out of 2.5 each:

Nose: Soft grain on the nose, with grape and sweet rubber swirling gracefully in sherry drenched barley. Alluring malty undertones complete this very indulgent nose. 2.0

Taste: Enveloping and silky, with a tingling of spice swimming freely and lightly in molten brown sugar and lychee treacle. It's an incredibly rich palate for a blend, once again with the grain doing a lot of the work, which coupled with the sherry finish comes together to offer a certain north american character to this fine scotch. 2.5

Finish: Vanilla and sherry notes come gushing forward on the finish, with grape and prunes offering an underlying bed of candied fruit. A rich desert of a finale, and once again if you were to close your eyes you'd swear you were in Kentucky. 2.0

Balance: At 13 years of age, one should expect some depth to this blend, and it's here in abundance. A voluptuous whisky, full of fruity allure and sherry coated sass. Whyte and Mackay's master blender has managed to conjure a gem of a scotch that puts many single malts with bigger reputations and much bigger price-tags to shame. 2.0

This is a very popular Scotch with 'regular drinkers' by that I mean away from whisky geekdom - for a good reason too - the taste and the price is right.

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