70 proof 26 2/3 Fl. oz.
This is the house brand of one of London’s oldest and most distinguished merchants of wines and spirits, Block, Grey and Block. Dating from 1786, they sum it up best themselves in their own not immodest words – “Block, Grey and Block’s long history is defined by our class and sophistication. Long-standing drinks merchants, we take great pride in our ability to distil the finest spirits, and supply the most valued of customers.”
The partnership first specialised in Madeira wine, and were the first merchants permitted to operate out of Park Lane in Mayfair, pandering to the no doubt high demands of the elite inhabitants. Once Scotch whisky had emerged as a popular drink in London and beyond, they proceeded to lay the foundations of an iconic blend that has since become world famous: The Speaker. It was so named after one of their most esteemed customers, the then Speaker of the House of Commons.
The company has been in existence for two and a quarter centuries since inception, and still boasts ‘By Appointment to the late King George VI’. And it had, for a brief period, a direct involvement in whisky distilling through ownership of Macduff Distillery at Banff in Speyside. They purchased the then relatively new distillery in 1964 from the consortium which had built it in 1959, an interest in the distillery also being held by Stanley P. Morrison Limited between 1966 and 1969, then selling it in 1972 to William Lawson Distillers Limited, an associate company of Martini and Rossi.
The Speaker is still around as a brand but now embraces a gin and a vodka. The whisky is described as “A light coloured, soft whisky with elegant overtones of fruitiness and with pleasant hints of vanilla and pear drops. It has a deliciously complex taste and a long, smooth lingering finish”.
How that compares with the example we have here, dating from the 1970’s, with the actual Speaker in all his splendour as depicted on the label, would be interesting to elicit. The back label on the bottle gives an interesting history of the company.
This product is located in the United Kingdom.