Johnnie Walker Tasting Notes

Posted: April 16, 2012 in Blended Scotch Whisky, Blended Whisky

Johnnie Walker Select Casks Rye Cask Finish 46%

Tasted: Sept 2015

Nose: Oak, oak and yet more oak! Intense coffee’d tannic oak and thick slabs of American oak with monstrous toffee and rye-like herbal notes. I’m sure I can even detect fat, oily corn!

Palate: Fat, oily and over endowed with monstrously toasted American oak. Again I swear I can taste oily corn notes. A touch of herbal and sweet grain attempts to balance but ultimately the oak is holding out.

Finish: Mouth-watering and quite alcoholic with surprise…………. Lingering oak notes!

Conclusion: Oak 10 v Spirit 0. A decidedly one sided match. Lacking any subtly or nuance unfortunately.

Johnnie Walker Red Label 40%

Tasted: Apr 2015

A pleasant nose of heather honey, juicy apricot and barley with a touch of sweet grain.

The palate displays nose sweet grain character with hints of toffee and caramel. Soft and straightforward with hints of barley and honey on the middle. It bitters a little towards the end and it finishes with slightly herbal; grain notes.

Johnnie Walker Black Label 12 year old 40%

Tasted: Nov 2011

The nose to be honest is somewhat homogonous and smells, well, like whisky! That may sound a bit of a daft thing to say but apart from some hints of black pepper and crisp grain, not much else leaps from the glass.

The palate is very much like the nose. Somewhat straightforward with plenty of caramel/ vanillins and a touch of spice. It’s obviously a well made blend but to me it seems pretty innocuous stuff.

Johnnie Walker Black Label 40%

Tasted: Jan 2012

An expansive and juicy nose opening with burnt wood, toffee and plenty of rich sherry, with some grain pleasantly nipping. Really pleasantly honeyed with some coffee’d moments along with the crisp grain adding a freshness. Lovely.

Soft and coffee’d on the palate. Loads and loads of soft mocha and pure Colombian! Quite full but simpler than the nose would suggest. Good length with the creamy grain coming through. A superb nose and a well-balanced palate.

Johnnie Walker Double Black 40%

Tasted: Nov 2013

A subtly briny and honeyed nose. Quite smoky with what appears to be a good dollop of sherried Coal Ila which adds some gentle earthy-peat. Full and quite robust with the malt component definitely the dominant force as the spicy grain spirit is barley discernible. The sherry does become slightly confected with time but all in all I’m quite impressed with the nose as it has more of an edge and seems less ‘commercial’ in character.

The palate is silky sweet with some deft sugared moments along with hints of herbs, smoke, vanilla and sherry. Again less polished than the ‘Black Label’ with a relatively oily middle. The grain comes through with an almighty spiciness on the finish, which was unexpected and lingers well into a lightly herbal fade. Nota mega complex blend but it is well balanced and does what it does rather well.

Johnnie Walker Double Black 40%

Re-Tasted: Feb 2017

Nose: Phenolic and briny. Relatively heavy on the peat with hints of sweet barley beneath the peat dust. The fruit show a little maturity and there is a touch of sherry character as well. All told it’s a fairly brawny nose!

Palate: Full and pleasantly intense with burnt woody peat and coal dust. Very peat orientated with surprisingly not much in the way of saltiness and just a smidge of grain.

Finish: Good length, with finally a little salt appearing. Lingering peat (surprise!)

Conclusion: It could be argued that it’s a bit one dimensional, but it does the peated thing quite well and I do like it’s brawny, unpolished character.

Johnnie Walker Green Label 15 year old 40% 20cl

Tasted: April 2012

Quite a hard and grainy nose, a tad on the reticent side but it does have some pleasant floral notes along with some mature, honey and sawdusty oak. With time it opens up to show some sweet Satsuma, a touch of smoke and a smidge of sherry.

The palate opens with crisp grain tempered by a sweet barley edge. Soft with a touch of caramel ok, but the herbal grin bites back. Not as complex as the nose would suggest and although it develops a slightly creamy demeanour the oak seriously bitters the finish – too much to be honest, although it does add a touch of spiciness and leaves a bit of a cloyingly sweet after-taste. On this tasting I’d say it was a bit over rated.

Johnnie Walker Gold Label 18 year old ‘The Centenary Blend’ 40% 20cl

Tasted: April 2012

The nose opens with some lovely squidgy apple, honeyed barley, spice and a touch of peat – There is a definite coastallyIslayfeel to the aromas. Full rounded, slightly sherried and a lot better put together than the Green label. With time some fudgy American oak puts in an appearance and the floral grain tiptoes through.

Soft and sweet on the palate with the fudgy, mature American oak vanillins showing first followed by some baked apple and creamy grain. A lovely spicy blast on the middle, but it does feel a touch watery at 40% and I would think that being bottled at 43 or 46% would give it more body and intensity, however in saying that it would probably increase the bitter oak on the finish, just like the 15 year old.

Johnnie Walker Gold Label Blue Label 43% 20cl

Bottle No Q365755/ Tasted: April 2012

A little bit shy, but quite dense. Thick and juicy but a touch non-descript. Yes there are hints of sweet barley and sweet grain along with some mature wood coming through, but it’s all a bit homogenous. With time some creramy orange and sharp grain appears. It’s fairly woody and maybe it’s the oak that’s clamping down on the nose?

The palate is soft and creamy, opening with toffee-caramel. Again quite deep but homogenous. There’s a touch of old barley and soft coffee’d tannins, which build. There is a little sweetness which tries to balance the wood. Mouth watering floral, old grain comes through and just like the other bottling the oak slightly bitters finish. Hints of old heathery herbs in the after-taste.

In conclusion, it’s gentle, but not exactly effusive and the range has, dare I say it a corporate feel to it.

Johnnie Walker Blue Label 43% 20cl

Bottle No Q365755

Tasted: April 2012

A little bit shy, but quite dense. Thick and juicy but a touch non-descript. Yes there are hints of sweet barley and sweet grain along with some mature wood coming through, but it’s all a bit homogenous. With time some creamy orange and sharp grain appears. It’s fairly woody and maybe it’s the oak that’s clamping down on the nose?

The palate is soft and creamy, opening with toffee-caramel. Again quite deep but homogenous. There’s a touch of old barley and soft coffee’d tannins, which build. There is a little sweetness which tries to balance the wood. Mouth watering floral, old grain comes through and just like the other bottling the oak slightly bitters finish. Hints of old heathery herbs in the after-taste.

In conclusion, it’s gentle, but not exactly effusive and the range has, dare I say it a corporate feel to it.

Johnnie Walker Blue Label 2015 Limited Edition 40%

Tasted: Feb 2016

Nose: Soft and spicy with some very subtle sherry and Armagnac-esque prune fruit. A touch of dusty Bowmore-like violets appears along with hints of salt and soft peat. Lovely maturity.

Palate: The palate is a touch watery and shows a lot more grain. Again there are some lovely, dusty violet notes but its lacking the depth that the nose hinted at. Delicately coastal with a building metallic note.

Finish: Good length with lingering crisp grain and marzipan.

Conclusion: A really lovely nose but the palate let it down badly.

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