The 21 y.o. Whyte & Mackay was spectacular. Really spectacular. For me, in my ignorance, it sort of came out of left field. The bottle was brought in for a group tasting one night, underwhelming me in its ostentatious packaging and offensive ‘bling’, but one nosing was all it took to knock me back into the land of humble pie. I subsequently tracked down two more bottles of it. Now those too have sadly gone the way of the dodo.
Up till that point in early to mid 2012, that 21 year old was arguably the best blended whisky I’d tasted. I say ‘up till that point’ for a reason.
Whyte & Mackay have done it again. Not certain if this is a blend of older whiskies, or has been blended at some earlier point and allowed to mature a little further, but either way…the integration here is outstanding. Much more than the sum of its parts, this one shines in how naturally and effortlessly appealing it is. There’s such a pleasant and welcoming down home…well…just ‘goodness’ here. While this is possibly a little less vivacious than the 21, the W&M 30 makes up for it with a slight smoky sensuality, austere sweetness and a much more refined carriage.
This makes me wonder why it is that if a mature blend can be this good and have such a distinct profile, something like the Johnnie Walker Blue Label, often considered the grandaddy of blends, still tastes…’blend-ish’ and homogenous.
This is really quite a stunner, and again, much like the 21, I wouldn’t peg this as a blended whisky. Snobbery takes one further step out the door.
Nose: Gorgeous nose, well beyond the realms of most blends. Slightly smoky with some old oaken notes. Tangerine(?). Turkish delight and marzipan. Nice sweet sherry notes (I’d guess Oloroso maybe). Perfect amount of oak influence. Creamy and balanced.
Palate: Nice orange/marmalade notes. Paint and putty. Soft fruits buried in nice fluffy white baking notes. Christmas-y spice notes. Hint of smoke again and old cask. Great drink.
– Reviewed by: Curt
– Photo: Curt