May 222013
 

Whyte & Mackay 30 y.o.003

40% abv

Score:  92/100

 

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

 Posted by at 7:42 am
Feb 052013
 

Whyte And Mackay Special021

40% abv

Score:  76/100

 

As far as blended whiskies go, this truly ain’t half bad.  Kinda sounds like ‘damning with faint praise’, right?  That’s not the intent.  This really is a decent blend.

The way I look at these things is if I want a drink with personality, I’ll likely reach for a malt.  If I want a quick down-the-hatch’er…this’ll do.  A few parts grain…a few parts malt…voila!  Instant drinkability.

If you do try this dram, and don’t find it delivering quite what you’d hoped for, keep cruising the W&M portfolio.  There are a couple nice older variants in the range.

Nose:  Malty with a hint of cinnamon.  Something of a peaty backbone.  Fruit mélange…dried and tart fruit…perhaps baked into something.  Very blend-typical.  Heavy in grain yet surprisingly malty.  Touch of smoke and somewhat doughy.  Vaguely floral (old potpourri).

Palate:  A malty, down-home old school style of blend.  Cigar and rumballs.  A little figgy and dry.  Mouth-stickin’ caramel and honey nougat.

Don’t be fooled by a relatively low score.  While this is nothing spectacular, it is absolutely quaffable.

 

Reviewed by:  Curt

– Photo:  Curt

 Posted by at 8:02 pm
Nov 132012
 

Whyte And Mackay 21 y.o.

43% abv

Score:  91.5/100

 

Well, well, well…what have we here?  A little unexpected, a lot awesome.

Can’t remember the last time I enjoyed a blend this much.  Really.  There is a delightful spryness here that I wouldn’t normally associate with the blend industry, but which helps restores my faith in the institution.  (Sadly, I must confess that a recent run of less than impressive blends have somewhat soured me of late.  And no…I am not a malt snob.  Ok…maybe a little.)

I should also admit that, for the most part, I’m not really a fan of Richard Paterson’s whiskies.  I am however, a fan of Paterson himself.  The man truly knows how to put on a show, and through personality alone draws attention to his brands.  No two ways about it…the guy is entertaining as hell!  For those not necessarily in the know as to just who Paterson is, check this little two part video of W&M’s master blender doing what he does best:  Pt 1 and Pt 2.

So…while admittedly not sold on some his other masterworks, I must admit he’s got me on the hook with this one.  This is bottle number two I’m working my way through now and I have a third put aside for rainy days to come.  No lie, I’m hard-pressed to think of a blended Scotch whisky I like more than this.  It’s actually quite a stunner.

Biggest surprise here is in the integration.  If you told me this was an older malt I’d believe you.  First up…the grains are clean and pretty.  Sugar cookies and soft vanilla follow.  Some floral notes and a bit of cherry meets peach punch meets syrupy orange.  Slight nuances of latex or old well-worn furniture polish (something very lovely and only found with age).  Toasted oak, caramel/butterscotch and other surprisingly fresh orchard fruits as well.

The palate is mature, oaky and redolent of sassy fruit (peach again!).  Not too far off an old ‘Rothes or something.  Maybe just slightly easier on the sherry.  A little raisin.  Next…an aged waxy note and a slow drying sensation.  Barley sings a little louder on the fade to finish.

Wow.  This was not expected.  Lovely and immediately endearing.

 

Reviewed by:  Curt

– Photo:  Curt

 Posted by at 9:05 pm