Tag Archives: Westmeath

Black & White & Golden Dram

When asked to contribute a flight of whiskies for a recent blog, I took a little while to come up with a few favourites. As the story of a whiskey – it’s origins, manufacture, history, heritage and trivia – are as important and enjoyable to me as the tasting – my flight reflects that element.

The story around my Black& White is the basis of this blog.

My Black & White c/o thewhiskeynut
My Black & White c/o thewhiskeynut

A few months ago after a recently acquired contract at work, the decision was taken to renovate the old office space that had lain idle for at least a decade. One of the founding directors had also passed away during that time and the offices had effectively been left abandoned.

There was a mountain of old paperwork,artefacts, pictures, memorabilia as well as outdated phones, electronica and files. Most of it was destined for the skip – but there were a few surprises and items that required attention before removal.

Word soon spread around the yard that a cache of booze had been found.Now the firm had previously been involved in drinks distribution and this may have been a relic from those times – I had to have a look!

Mt eyes lit up and my tastebuds tingled when I viewed a collection of old whiskey, cognac, vodka and gin bottles stored in a locked metal cabinet. There was some Famous Grouse, a Black Bush, Hennessy, some unidentified clear spirits and a Black & White – all with old and aged looking labels.

Old Black & White label c/o thewhiskeynut
Old Black & White label c/o thewhiskeynut

This was an opportunity too good to miss – especially as I hadn’t sampled the whiskies before – so I approached management for a quiet word and after a day or two – became the proud owner of a bottle of Black & White!

Several questions then raised themselves;

How old is it?

Is it worth anything?

Should I drink it?

Is it palatable?

My mind was already decided on the last 2. Whiskey is for drinking – not sitting on a shelf as some kind of object to be admired (although some bottles do look like a piece of art) or seen as a potential pension plan. The contents of the bottle appeared golden clear and despite the dusty outside gave me no cause for concern regards it’s suitability to consume.

I did however delay a little on the first 2 – mostly out of curiosity and the off chance it was worth a few bob.

It quickly became apparent that there was indeed a market for old Black & White – mainly advertising material and pre-1930’s 700ml bottles – but as mine was only a half bottle and not that old – I wasn’t about to drink a goldmine!

As for the date – well that proved a tad more difficult.

I was surprised to find Black & White had no dedicated website, facebook, twitter, instagram, chat show or even TV channel as part of it’s marketing strategy. For such a longstanding and popular dram – created by James Buchanan in the 1880’s where it became a big seller and continues to be so today – and now part of the Diageo stable – this seems somewhat amiss.

I put some snaps up on a whisky chat site – followed up a few leads and eventually got an informed reply to an email;

Black & White barcode c/o thewhiskeynut
Black & White barcode c/o thewhiskeynut
“Additionally, there is a bar-code on the back of the bottle,which was something not widely in use prior to about 1980.”
This was later narrowed down a bit by Diageo GB in a tweet;

we sure can! our archivists inform us it’s from between 1985-1991 as this label was used in that time period

A new Blog, a new Expression.

Why Whiskey?

Whiskey Glass c/o photobucket
Whiskey Glass c/o photobucket

Why not?

It’s a delightful aromatic , flavoursome little tipple to be enjoyed beside a warming fire with good company.

It has several hundred years of eventful history and culture with it’s birth roots in Ireland .

It’s a drink staging a renaissance on a worldwide basis with Ireland witnessing a rebirth of working distilleries.

Why Westmeath?

Kilbeggan Distillery

All journeys start from home and Westmeath is home to both this humble scribe and The Kilbeggan Distilling Company. 1757 is when this distillery first (legally) made and sold whiskey. From that date on, it has witnessed the ups and downs of Irish Whiskey, weathered the tough years and played it’s part in the current rise of whiskey. Kilbeggan Distillery encapsulates the history of Irish Whiskey within it’s four walls. Her story mirrors that of other distilleries that are now silent, as well as burgeoning the new ones that are beginning to find their voice.

existingandnew whiskey distilleries in Ireland

Why the World?

Production unit of Amrut Distilleries.24/01/2012
Production unit of Amrut Distilleries.24/01/2012

It’s the only place we humans currently live  – as yet – and it’s where Irish Whiskey is made, exported and enjoyed. Ireland used to be the Number 1 whiskey producer in the world. That position is now firmly in Scottish hands. However whisky is currently produced in over 25 countries around the world from Belguim to  Bhutan,  Taiwan and a lovely distillery in Wales.

Whiskey Nut

As a relatively new convert to the world of whiskey, I’m inviting you to join me on a shared journey in taste, style and aroma by sampling the wide range of whiskey products that are out there.

I’m no expert, but hopefully I will enliven your taste buds and excite your palate with tempting tipples

Join me and together we can taste the world!