Johnnie Walker Blue Label

JW BlueLabel

Distillery/Brand: Johnnie Walker | ABV: 40% | Colour: Gold
Nose: 21 | Taste: 21 | Finish: 21 | Balance: 22 | Rating: 85

Let me start by saying this is not a bad blend at all. It has some Port Ellen in it, though I don’t know how much. All the whiskies in here are at least 20 years old which, I suppose, in a way could begin to justify the high(ish) price tag – over US$250 travel retail.

That being said I have a pet peeve when it comes to products that are merely half way decent but are made to appear as if they have come down from the heavens on Gods’ own winged chariot. Now multiply my peeve by 10 when it comes to whisky.

Which is why I am a little miffed. Sitting atop shelves and commanding top dollar at bars just because of some snazzy packaging, a scroll and a marketing budget the size of Liberia’s trade deficit?

Sorry, but that’s not supposed to happen.

So the only thing I can do to balance out this equation is deduct one point from my review for excessive marketing and deluding innocents. That should make the brass at Diageo sit up and take notice.

Right, what else is there to do now but share my thoughts.

Nose: It’s not bad. Fresh out of the bottle the peat is quite strong (must be that drop of Port Ellen). There’s a nice wisp of smoky, salty butterscotch toffee on almonds. Let it settle and the vanilla starts coming out but now with some ginger spice and red apple. I think the nose is decent but definitely not as complex as promised on the velvet blue box.

Palate: Quite creamy if a touch one dimensional. There’s smoke on pear pudding and grated ginger. Touch of woody vanilla and chocolate lemon tart. A second sip brings out the savory salty nuts. Mull it longer and experience a drop of fish oil. Must be that Port Ellen.

Finish: Medium oily with that same grated ginger which is there through out your journey. But now with a sprig of bitter mint.

I think this is a half-way decent dram which should be treated as such. If the less-informed want to plonk their hard earned cash to fulfill some marketing generated stab at a status symbol then I wish them good health.

For everyone else may I suggest five Ardbeg 10s in the same price.

Rating: 85

Johnnie Walker Green Label


Distillery/Brand: Johnnie Walker
Region: Scotland
ABV: 43%
Color: Sunlight

Nose: 23
Taste: 22
Finish: 24
Balance: 22

Here is a whisky which I think unapologetically bridges the gap between what earlier generations were used to and what whisky fans are drinking today.

Comprising of four signature malts from four brilliant distilleries – Talisker, Caol Ila, Cragganmore & Linkwood – it takes on their flavors quite beautifully.

Nose : First the Talisker and Caol Ila come screaming through with salty crushed nuts and smoke. Then the Cragganmore with that sweet jasmine maltiness and finally Linkwood with it’s orange peel, peaches and wild red berries. A complex nose. A lovely nose.

Palate : At first there is a certain coconut oiliness to it (which I didn’t like) interspersed with spicy nuts and a lemon meringue. But whisky is a game of patience and I let this one sit. The coconut oil disappears after a while and is replaced with a lovely honey sweetness.

Finish : Spicy long and a touch bitter. I think that’s old fashion-ness coming through. Quite complex. Sits with you a while and makes you think.

This is a whisky that needs to be appreciated by experienced palates only. Its’ subtle nuances catch you off-guard with flashes of brilliance. It kept evolving as I kept writing forcing me to track back and re-edit.

It’s almost like this is the reward you get for finally showing how mature you’ve become.

Rating: 91