...where distraction is the main attraction.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Black & White blended whisky, bottled for United Airlines in 1961

Of all the Black & White bottles this month this one proved to be the most fun to research. Searching for the history of United Airlines quickly leads one right to their logos. Here are three links if you'd like to follow along: one, two and three.

After using a plain blue rectangle with white lettering from 1930 to 1939, United switched to the red, white and blue shield for its logo, trying out four versions of this style over twenty-two years. The final one looked like this:

Here the word "Airlines" has been dropped from the logo for the first time, and this change happened right around the time of their purchase of Capital Airlines. This look was very short-lived, lasting from 1960 to 1961. The shield was then switched to a diagonal spike (or wing?) until 1974 when it was replaced by the Saul Bass-designed U or tulip.

Since the logo on my 1/10 pint-er was used in only 1960 and 1961, I'm going to play things sooooper conservative and say that this bottle is from 1961.

In truth, I tried these last three Black & Whites side-by-side on one swingin' afternoon.

Brand: Black & White
Owner at time of bottling: Distillers Company Limited
Type: Blended Scotch Whisky
Age: minimum 3 years
Bottled: 1961
Exclusive to: United Airlines
Alcohol by Volume: 43.4%
(from my purchased 1/10 pint bottle)

The nose hints at the previous Black & White, but the fruit notes has moved from overripe to fermented and tropical. Then there are rose blossoms, cardamom pods, cinnamon sticks and a bright grassy cucumber skin note. A wee hint of machine shop. After 30+ minutes some fresh peach and nectarine notes show up. A swirl of small notes bouncing off each other fills the palate: orange, cardamom, nutmeg, chili oil, white nectarine and cucumber. The sweetness never gets out of control and citrus expands with time. There's a good length to the finish, which is highlighted by citrus, baking spices, ginger and toasted almonds.

Could United passengers even taste this stuff while locked in a cigarette smoke-choked cylinder in the sky? Because this stuff is very good. The blenders were successful in creating a lighter style than that of the Johnnie Walkers, Dimples and Teachers of the time, but the whisky isn't watery or boring. I could see this style appealing to a very wide market. It's bright and fruity while also showing off some depth, especially in the nose. Now, a quart of this wouldn't be a bad thing, if enjoyed responsibly. Let's see if I can top this on Friday.

Rating - 86