husband, father, whisky lover, blogger, freelance whisky writer, and head of the New Jersey Whiskey Society & leading the USBG NJ efforts...currently the New Jersey Whisky Ambassador for Diageo & therefore leave the recent writing duties to guest bloggers, primarily that Bourbon loving fella named Gerard

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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Johnnie Walker Black Label 12 Year

Environment:

This was a cold Northeast day in 2010, tons of snow on the ground, and very few distractions.

I decided to try the Johnnie Walker Black first, primarily since I had heard of it before (better marketing) and besides, I didn’t know any better back then.  Despite the overcast skies, the reflection of the brightness off the snow provided some solid natural light through the window to make out the color of copper and amber on this scotch.

While I tend to lean towards Single Malts in my preference, I do believe there is a place for blends.  I know some connoisseurs may say that blends are swill, but those at the top of their craft (like Richard Paterson and others) tend to make blends, and there is something to be said for that.   I have warmed up to them as I have continued on my journey, but that is a post for another day.

The Johnnie Walker Black Label 12 Year Old is among the world’s most famous blends.  It has long been regarded as one of the best mainstream deluxe blends available. It is readily available almost anywhere, and is at the core of the Johnnie Walker brand.  Besides, I believe this was Sir Winston Churchill’s favorite whisky, so it is certainly worth a shot!

Tasting Notes

Nose:  This nose has some wood and smoke, but it is much more complex than that.  There are also vanilla and orange notes that emerge, leaving me feeling like this blend is excellently balanced.

Palate:  Spicy.  I can taste the wood a bit better now, and it slowly mellows into a some sweet vanilla moments.  Definitely some gingery spice up front, and light smoke lingers in the background…complex.

Finish:  Long and fairly mellow with evolving sweetness.  The spiciness fades, and there is an overall pleasant aftertaste.

Conclusion

Although this review was scribbled what feels like forever ago, it is indicative of my love for whisky as a whole.  I simply believe that there is a place for blends in a collection/cabinet…there is no need to look down one’s nose at them.  At this price point, JWBL is a decent value and can be enjoyed both neat, a little wet, or flat out on ice.  While I tend to spend my money on the Single Malts I am passionate about, I would be more than happy to receive something like this as a gift and consider keeping one in my cabinet for when the moment was right.

Score:  77
Tasted January 2010

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