Review – Black & White Blended Scotch Whisky circa 1965

When this whisky was distilled:

Man had not yet landed on the moon.

The Vietnam war was still ongoing.

Ronnie & Reggie Kray were still running organised crime in London.

The Rolling Stones had not long released  (I can’t get no) Satisfaction.

The Beatles completed their last live tour.

Ok, so its old. Really old.

In fact it was probably bottled in the year Winston Churchill died.

I’d been saving this for a moment where I could treat it with the respect it deserves. Having the house to myself last week seemed like the perfect opportunity for some uninterrupted enjoyment.

Lets not however get carried away, it is after all just a (at the time) cheap and cheerful blend from blenders James Buchanan & Co Ltd.

It was originally known as House of Commons, however due to the black and white design of the label its nickname soon became its official brand name instead.

The two dogs (a white West Highland Terrier and a Black Scottie) that laterally featured on its labels are possibly the most recognisable advertising mascots in whisky, aside from probably Johnnie Walkers ‘Striding Man’.

Diageo, owners of Johnnie Walker, coincidentally also own the Black & White brand.

This bottle was bought and shared amongst a group of us within a bottle share collective, thanks to Sjoerd at for arranging purchase and delivery.

I had the chance to check out several bottle of a similar era (this one is estmated to be pre 1965 but other than that we don’t have an exact date) during my trip to the Diageo archives with Tom Thomson several months ago so when the opportunity to purchase some presented itself I couldn’t resist.

Black & White Blended Scotch, OB, 70% proof (approx 40%abv), from my collection.

The nose is mildly malty with a little green wood and some raspberries. There is a little dampness here alongside hints of smoke and bananas. If its possibly for a nose to feel a little oily then thats exactly what it is.

The palate is almost non existent. From an oily and viscous look it seems rather thin in the mouth.

Burnt vanilla and a mild smokiness mix with some very faint fruit and caramelised sugar. There is a mild ‘burn’ from I suspect the younger grain content at the mid palate however this does lessen significantly as the dram opens and mellows.

What there was on the palate lingers pleasantly into the finish. A little hint of pepper is here, along with some mild herbs and an oaky kick.  As the dram unravels in the glass it certainly mellows as it was initially quite cloying, but turns a touch herbaceous on the finish.

I’m not going to start on any kind of ‘whisky was better in the olden days’ debate here as in reality this was a mass produced cheaper blend from back in the day and there are plenty of those kinds of articles already. The fascination here lies not in the age of the contents but the age in which it was bottled.

It is no more and no less a easy drinking blend, regardless of its age, but great to get the chance to taste a little bit of history.