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Whiskymag 137 July _Aug 2016

Whyte & Mackay Scotch Whisky

Whyte & Mackay History.

The origins of the Whyte & Mackay's 'Double Lion' blend lies in the Glasgow firm of Allan & Poynter, founded in November 1843 by John Poynter, and William Allan.


The firm’s initial business was in warehousing goods for the grocery trade. In due course the business changed hands and the new owner, William Scott recruited, James Whyte and Charles Mackay as bonded warehousemen.


By the late 1870's due to the shortage of brandies, which had become unavailable due to the phylloxera outbreak in France, the firm was warehousing more and more whisky


When William Scott passed away in 1882 his widow sold the business to James Whyte and Charles Mackay on the condition that they were not to use the name Allan & Poynter. Hence the firm was renamed Whyte & Mackay.


Confident that their future lay with whisky blending the two partners invested in a blending plant and suitable premises in Robertson Lane, Glasgow.


Initially blending to customers' orders they quickly launched a new blended whisky under their own joint names the “Whyte & Mackay Special”  


They managed to weather the crises at the beginning of the 20th century brought about by the Patterson’s Crash, even expanding sales of their Whyte & Mackay whisky on the eve of the First World War.


Charles Mackay passed away in 1919 in the same year Whyte & Mackay became a limited company Two years later John Whyte followed in 1921.


For small concerns like Whyte & Mackay the going was rough in the 1920s and the firm was reconstructed in 1926 to reduce its capital stock levels.


Trade began to pick up in the late 1920s with a resurgence of export orders, particularly from North America followed by  a growth in exports to Australia and New Zealand in the 1930s.


Again prospects were reduced by the outbreak the Second World War. It was not until the 1950's, under the direction of James Whyte's two sons, Hartley and Alex, that the recovery was sustained with a determined advertising campaign. With the end of voluntary rationing on the home market, Whyte & Mackay began to build its sales in the United Kingdom.


In 1960 the company acquired Dalmore distillery in the northeast of Scotland and was renamed Dalmore, Whyte & Mackay.


During 1963 Whyte & Mackay pioneered the 40oz (1.136 Litre)bottle size for use in bars


By 1965 Whyte & Mackay was the fifth most popular brand in Scotland. A successful redoubling of efforts in export markets followed this achievement.


The company became part of Sir Hugh Fraser's Scottish and Universal Investments Ltd (SUI) in 1971. Two years later the Tomintoul and Fettercairn distilleries were purchased.


SUI was acquired by Lonrho in 1981 and subsequently Whyte & Mackay was sold to Brent Walker in 1988 and then to American Brands (now Fortune Brands) in 1990.


In 2001 Fortune Brands sold Whyte & Mackay to 'Kyndal' in a £200 million management buyout backed by German investment bank, WestLB.


In February 2005, Vivien Immerman bought Whyte & Mackay from WestLB and embarked on a long-term investment programme to ensure the continued international success of Whyte & Mackay.


During 2006, in a dramatic display of confidence, Whyte & Mackay was re-launched with a new look inspired by its proud Glasgow heritage.


The famous double lions rampant once more took centre stage, resuming their rightful place as iconic symbol of the brand and company.


The new look incorporated a 'Charles Rennie Mackintosh' feel in tribute to Glasgow's stylish nature.


The original Whyte & Mackay blend was renamed "SPECIAL", as it was at the very beginning of Whyte & Mackay.


In addition, 13, 19 and 22 years old aged blends with an extra year of maturation were added to the brand's award winning range. Whyte & Mackay went "back to the future" to rediscover its proud Glasgow roots in stylish, masculine packaging which truly reflects the quality of scotch in the bottle.


Whyte & Mackay was bought by The UB Group in 2007 one of India’s largest conglomerates with diverse interests in aviation, brewing, distilling, engineering, fertilizers, biotechnology, information technology and real estate.  Becoming part of United Spirits Limited, means that the Whyte & Mackay brands are now part of the world’s second largest drinks group.

W&M Tasting Notes W&M Tasting Notes Whyte & Mackay Glasgow Logo

Whyte and Mackay Ltd,

Dalmore House,

310 St Vincent Street,


Scotland G2 5RG


Tel: +44 (0) 141 248 5771


No Visitor Facilities at Head Office

Whyte & Mackay Scotch Whisky

Principle Brands

Whyte & Mackay Special Blend

Whyte & Mackay ‘The Thirteen’ Blend

Whyte & Mackay 19 Years Old Blend

Whyte & Mackay 22 Years Old Blend

Whyte & Mackay 30 Years Old Blend

Not all bottlings are universally available