JohnnieWalker’s price can jump drastically between expressions, so we had to weigh whether the more expensive bottles were really that much better than the cheaper stuff. The juice is a blend from Diageo’s deep stable of distilleries around Scotland that’s specifically designed to be mixed and not taken straight.
The palate holds onto those notes while adding a peppery spice and a hint of orchard fruits. The end shifts towards Islam with a wisp of smoke as the sip fades quickly away while warming you with alcohol heat.
This is a very solid base for a highball, especially for anyone looking to get into a mild blended scotch that brings all of Scotland into the glass. This is basically Johnnie Black, a slightly peaty blend, that’s been asked again in deeply charred oak.
The idea is to maximize that peat and amp up the Islam and Island smokiness of the final dram. The palate has a vanilla creaminess that’s punctuated by bright apple, dried fruit, and more peat.
The spice kicks back in late, warming things up as the smoke carries through the end with a nice dose of laziness. The blend leans into the peaty seaside distilleries with 30 plus whiskey from powerhouses like Lagavulin, Talker, and Card.
Mild notes of spice mingle with bright and sweet fruits and a hint of vanilla. The taste allows the malt to shine as the vanilla, spice, and fruit counter a distant wisp of smoke.
That smoke warms as the sip fades out, leaving you with a final note of sweet wood. We’d argue that this is a good place to start if you want to dip your toes into mildly smoky whiskey without diving headfirst into a Lagavulin or Arden.
This no-age statement blend leans into that signature Walker marriage of Highland and Seaside whiskey with a small dose of Western Scottish juice for good measure. The fruit kicks up on the palate and becomes slightly tropical as a counterpoint of rich vanilla creaminess arrives.
The end is subtle and long with the fruit and honey standing tall against a very distant echo of earthy peat. This expression is all about barrel selection and the mastery of a great nose and blender working together to create something special.
The end is slow, smoky, and full of dry fruits, nuts, and a malty nature. The primary distilleries in the bottle are Blair Thou, Card, Glen Elgin, and Auchroisk.
There’s a rich and buttery toffee that’s counterpointed by a bowl of ripe and sweet fruit that really draws you in. The caramel malts mix with marzipan, creamy vanilla pudding, and a nice rush of juicy winter tangerines that have just been peeled.
Adding a little water, those orange oils marry to a deeply dark chocolate nature, which leads towards a velvety and ever-so-lightly smoky end. If you do snag a bottle, make sure to add some water or a rock and really let the scotch bloom in the glass.
The juice primarily comes from Seaside, Highland, Lowland, and Island malts with a focus on a minimum of 15-year-old Talker, Call Ila, Cragganmore, and Linwood. There’s a woodiness that’s softly cedar with notes of bright, sweet fruit, spicy black pepper, oily vanilla pods, and fresh-cut grass on the nose.
The taste really delivers on the softness of the cedar while adding more tropical fruitiness and a subtle edge of dried roses. The end is deliberate with the cedar, spice, and fruit giving way to a measured wisp of earthy smoke and a splash of sea brine to finish off the sip.
If we are to take parent company Diageo at its word, then “only one in ever 10,000 casks has the elusive quality, character and flavor to deliver the remarkable signature taste.” Although there’s no way to verify that specific methodology, we can say that Blue Label is an exceptionally elegant dram suited to sipping.
And since this particular bottling has never worn an age statement, we don’t even know definitively how old its components are (though it has been reported that they are between 28 and 60 years in maturity). And it weaves a pretty compelling yarn; Blue Label has collected plenty of hardware throughout the years.
The latest accolade arrives by way of the 2020 Scotch Whiskey Masters competition, the results of which were announced earlier this month. There, a panel of three professional sippers blindly landed on Blue as the premiere example of non-age-statement blended scotch from all that was tasted.
The brand is celebrating its 200th anniversary with a special edition Blue Label built off of malt from distilleries that existed all the way back in 1820. He moonlights as a beer and spirits consultant, hosting monthly craft pairings/educational dinners in both Los Angeles and New York, and curating drink menus for festivals and restaurants.
Golden amber color. Aromas of varnished wood, coffee, honey candy, cherries, sesame, and tomato leaf with a supple, bright, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a peppery, medium-length brown sugar pop tart, black pepper, and vanilla-ginger lozenge finish.
A velvety nectar fit for special occasions. Style: Juicy & Smooth Aroma: varnished wood, coffee, honey candy, cherries, sesame, and tomato leaf Flavor: brown sugar pop tart, black pepper, and vanilla-ginger lozenge Smoothness: Peppery Enjoy: in cocktails: Penicillin, Fish House Punch, Blood & Sand Bottom Line: A velvety nectar fit for special occasions.
Sensibly doing their best to exploit an expanding premium Scotch whiskey market, Johnnie Walker has just launched two new blends to round out its portfolio and tempt those who wish to buy something pricier than Black Label (about $50) without breaking the bank on Blue (closer to the $300 mark). At the Toronto launch of Johnnie Walker Platinum, brand ambassador Evan Gun cut his presentation short in favor of a film.
In The Man Who Walked Around the World, Glaswegian character actor Robert Carlyle strides down a rugged mountain path, telling the story of young John Walker’s rise from farm boy to shopkeeper to whiskey magnate in a single, uninterrupted and utterly captivating 6½ minute take. Take John Walker’s seminal blending experiments, conducted with the goal of providing a consistent product in a time when single malts “could be a wee bit inconsistent.” No mention is made that this is no longer the case, with master distillers holding degrees in advanced chemistry.
Whether the taste was worth it, we did not yet know, for at the conclusion of the film, Gun wanted us to first sample other Johnnie Walker whiskey. Our tasting journey started with three drams of unidentified whiskey : one neat, one with ice, and another with water.
Some tasted of citrus and dried fruit, others were smoky or creamy, but none were as exciting as the unadulterated splash of Card, the constituent malt, with its honeyed sweetness and mellow finish. But if those other blends lost clarity in their quest for consistency, the Platinum with which we finished was something else altogether: rich and creamy and smooth, it expanded over the palate like a slow-moving oily cloud.
Bemoaning the fact that ice cubes have a pesky habit of melting and diluting the whiskey it’s designed to cool is the very definition of a #firstworldproblem. Still there’s something elegantly scientific about this Japanese ice-ball maker: round objects tend to melt slower than square ones.
Jacob Richer is a Toronto-based writer and author of My Canada Includes Foe Gas It was also a once-in-a-lifetime experience to help create the limited-edition Director’s Cut blend, which perfectly captures the complex and mysterious world of Blade Runner 2049.” says Denis Villanueva.
Johnnie Walker describe the new blend as having “our trademark smokiness and a contemporary twist… with sweet fruity vanilla flavors and is bottled at 49% ABV for added intensity” and as a nod to the date the film is set, no doubt. Diageo, which also makes Guinness and Tannery Gin, developed the bottle with Pilot Lite, a venture management company.
Pulped will provide paper bottles to companies like Lipton and PepsiCo, which are expected to launch next year. Evan Andrew, the chief sustainability officer at Diageo, said, “We’re proud to have created this world first.