Reviews

Review No.99. Johnnie Walker Blue Label

This is the final and most expensive bottle that I am reviewing from the core Johnnie Walker range.  I am a fan of the range and I think each bottle gives you something different and altogether provides you with a decent spectrum of whisky flavours.  I am not sure what goes into this blend but of course it will comprise of malts from the Diageo portfolio.  This is a non age statement but I have heard/read that there is 40 year malt whisky in this.  I have seen a bottle of this being sold from £90 to £150 which I just can’t get my head around.  My opinion for the large variation in price is that because this bottle is marketed a being super premium you will find upmarket department stores charging as much as they can get away with.  I feel a bit sorry for the blue label because the way in which it has been marketed and the price means that it is almost guaranteed not to receive high praise from whisky geeks.  Compass box, which I am a fan, produce good quality blends of which many are at or above the Blue Label price bracket. However, I do not find that they get the same flack from the whisky community as Diageo do for the pricing of their Blue Label.  In case you were wondering, I didn’t fork out £90 for this bottle, I received a fantastic Johnnie Walker gift set containing 20cl bottles of the black, gold, platinum and this blue label.

 

Whisky: Johnnie Walker Blue Label Blended Scotch Whisky, 40%

Nose: Mixed dried fruits, leather, cinnamon, cloves, vanilla custard, cake mixture, butterscotch

Taste: Roasted hazelnuts, raisins, syrup, honey, malt, grass, leather

Finish: Bitter orange zest, honey, roasted nuts

Score: 4

Summary: I don’t have much experience of drinking very old whisky (21+) so was keen to see what characteristics the older malts in this would impart.  The most notable thing about this was the texture, it was distinctly rich and velvety – so I am guessing this is what makes the difference.  At first it was quite difficult to pick out distinct flavours, I did not add water to it because it is bottled at 40% and I felt that this would dilute rather than open it up.  Instead I gave it time in the glass.  The rich fruit and roasted nuts with a spicy note made this very moreish.  Ignoring the price, this is a really nice blend and tastes like it is made from good quality malts – but at the price I just could not justify buying a bottle.

 

Scoring scale: My scores reflect a balance of the overall experience, availability and cost for a whisky,

1 – not to my preference

2 – tastes fine but does not excite me

3 – more to my liking and would revisit occasionally

4 – very much to my liking and would consider as a regular feature on my whisky shelf

5 – permanent feature on my whisky shelf

 

Image source: www.thewhiskyexchange.com