Typology: Blended Scotch Whisky
Ageing Barrels: Ex-Charred Bourbon
Additional coloring: Yes
Average price: € 30.00
Official website: www.johnniewalker.com
Probably the most famous brand of whisky in the world, with an instantly recognisable label and the classic alternative to a tie when you want to give a generically male gift: how many people will have found a Johnnie Walker Red Label in their parents’ liquor cabinet, untouched and covered in dust? That, or a Chivas Regal, which has a grandiose name and an ornate packaging that well conceals the insignificance of its contents…
This is a blended, so it comprises several malts and grain whiskies blended in varying proportions (depending on the aromas sought by the Master Distiller) and aged together for a certain period: in addition to not knowing the provenance of the various distillates, unlike the Black Label (declared 12 years old) here it’s not known how long they were together. Given Diageo’s endless portfolio, there are certainly labels from Islay (Caol Ila?), a few speysiders and highlanders, mixed in the usual ex-Bourbon casks which, unlike the Black Label, have been burnt internally to increase the smokiness of the final product.
From the black bottle (which I must say is more pleasant than its sisters), we pour out the contents, discovering a dark amber whisky with reddish reflections (hello caramel!). The scent is what one would expect given the casks used: a strong presence of burnt wood, vanilla, prunes and… coffee. Lots and lots of coffee. For those who love it, the nose of this whisky is really tasty.
And the coffee is on the palate too, accompanied by hazelnut, prunes, honey, vanilla, all wrapped up in burnt wood (too much). Not particularly complex and evolved, the flavours make themselves felt with little conviction, submerged by an idea of Islay (and a little bit of Caol Ila can be felt) that almost makes you smile.
When you’ve finished drinking it, there’s not much left: smoke, a touch of coffee… all short-lived and fleeting.
You can catch the intention to create a more aggressive and dirty version of the Black Label, but throwing in a little charcoal isn’t enough: if I want to drink a peated whisky, there are far better and (almost) as cheap choices. A few more proofs might have helped, but in this way it remains a little incisive drink.
If you want to give a male (or female) gift and you don’t want to be trivial, you can easily give this one as a present: poured into an espresso coffee it’s just perfect!
Other bottlings in the blog:
Johnnie Walker 12yo Black Label
Johnnie Walker 12yo Black Label Origins – Islay
Johnnie Walker 18yo
Johnnie Walker A Song of Fire
Johnnie Walker A Song of Ice
Johnnie Walker Blue Label
Johnnie Walker Gold Label Reserve
Johnnie Walker Red Label
Johnnie Walker White Walker
Johnnie Walker XR 21yo
The Whiskey Wash