We’ve covered these last couple weeks quite exclusive and rare whiskies and a couple brandies, with lost distillery after hyped distillery. So let’s get back down to earth, shall we? The Scotch Whisky world is still led, in terms of volume, by blends. And one of the most famous amongst them is Johnnie Walker. So let’s review two of their entry/mid-level blends: the Johnnie Walker Black and Green Label.
Johnnie Walker Black Label
Johnnie Walker Black Label is a blended Scotch whisky featuring a 12-year-old age statement. It is one of the company’s most popular and iconic blends. Black Label is made using a blend of around 40 different whiskies from the Scottish regions of Speyside, Lowlands, and the islands of Islay and Skye. Bottled at 40% ABV, it is coloured and chill filtered, but at least it is cheap and you can find it about everywhere. About €23–25 in Europe, £27 in the UK.
Spirity and fruity. Greasy smoke surrounds peach and apple, as well as a bit of pear and overripe banana. Quite some grainy notes as well
Quite thin mouthfeel. Smoky arrival, more than I expected it to be. Grainy sweetness, wood spices, slightly herbal and bitter afterwards, with maybe a touch of chocolate.
A bit cardboardy, with mild diluted fruity notes. Medium length.
On the nose, this JW Black cannot hide the grain components, a bit spirit-y. On the palate, the mouthfeel is thin, and it lacks complexity. In the end, this whisky is not bad but not great, easy to live without, but still drinkable if there’s nothing else or worse in the pub at the other end of the world.
Johnnie Walker Green Label Review
Johnnie Walker Green Label is a blended whisky that is known for its complex and sophisticated flavour profile. It is a blend of malts from four of Scotland’s most renowned whisky regions, including Speyside, the Highlands, Islay, and the Lowlands. The Green Label is aged for a minimum of 15 years, and does not contain any grain whisky. Some of its malt components come from Talisker, Linwood, Cragganmore and Caol Ila. However, like the Black Label, it is coloured and chill filtered. About €40 to €50 in Europe, £43 in the UK.
Quite fruitier than the Black Label. Apricot, pineapple, and those harlequin sweets, with that candied prickly banana smell. A bit of vanilla as well.
Still a bit thin despite the slightly higher ABV. Spicy and fruity, it makes me think once again of those harlequin sweets, with quite a pinch of chilli and pepper. Milk chocolate. There are some lemon notes that appear after a moment, ginger, wood spices and more fruits, with pear, apple and peach.
Spicy and citrusy, ginger, lemon, chocolate and those sweets again, with a tad more wood bitterness now. Medium long. Light smokiness now.
On the nose I couldn’t find a trace of smoke coming from the Talisker or Caol Ila components. The palate is quite good, and it’s a real shame it’s bottled at just 43% ABV, because it could really be great at like 46% and no chill filtration. But even without that, it’s head and shoulders above the Black Label. Easy sipping and tasty enough dram, good complexity. Can we have a 46 to 50% ABV version, Mr Walker, pretty please?