December and Christmas is when I make a run down south to the lands of backwaters, plush green estates, rubber, banana and coconut plantations. Kerala is where my folks reside and is my home away from home. And this time, while tidying up a few shelves and scrubbing up a few nooks and corners I stumbled across some really old Black & White memorabilia. Immediately knocking on the door were those nostalgic memories of uncles with their glass tumblers, aunts with their gossip sessions and cousins with our in-house pranks. And although JW Black was the drink of choice for a bulk of the sessions, the B&W did have its fair share. * For the adults of course, we were happy with our orange juices and our carbonated drinks!*
And so I thought I might as well review this old timer in tribute of those fun old times and the many memories it took me back to (related or unrelated)!
For some unknown reason, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of the Black & White online. No official page, no e-estate, nor anything substantial mentioned in the Diageo website. Weird for a brand that was such a popular figure at one time. Availability also is quite scarce in Duty Free shops and/or Liquor stores in most countries; ironically that isn’t the case here in India. I’ve noticed there’s a stronger presence of the brand than that a couple of years back. And maybe that’s their business mantra, trying to capture developing segments with a huge potential customer base.
Unfortunately, with a lot more aggressive entrants sharing the same playing field with bigger budgets and an advertisement heavy campaign, the Black & White hasn’t been successful in retaining its one time fame. Nevertheless the brand still remains popular in parts of Europe and South America mainly owning to its reasonable pricing.
The brand was founded by John Buchanan who came up with what was first known as ‘Buchanan’s Blend’. Later on the name was changed to the House of Commons’, after being made the official drink available in the Lower House of the English Parliament. And finally evolved into what we know as of date, the Black & White. The K9 symbol, aka the Black Scottish and the White Highland Terrier- pair, was coined by Buchanan after returning from a Dog Show.
Nose: Quite sweet with the caramel making a strong presence initially. Bits of wood, smoke, raisins and honey follow through only to be replaced by glucose and sugar water; which gets all the more intense with every subsequent nosing.
Taste: Sweet and light with a mix of dry fruits, berries and some char. Although not overly overpowering the glucose does make an appearance exposing the rough grainy nature of the whisky with warm white pepper trailing behind.
Finish: Sweet, warm, light and mildly dry.
The Black and White is certainly enjoyable and for the price it is good value for money. The whisky fondly exhibits young, light and refreshing characteristics but can be quite rough around the edges, especially once you’ve spent a bit more time with the blend
In terms of flavor it is unidirectional but still noteworthy (*again, keeping the price in mind*). However, as a personal choice I feel it might be better suited for use in cocktails or highballs. And with options a plenty, you could ignore this for something that brings a little more zing!