After several attempts at writing this review (and a lot of time with my finger on the ‘backspace’ key) I decided to scrap it all and simplify it down to this level…
I love this stuff.
Simple as that. Johnnie Walker Black deserves a spot on every whisky drinker’s shelf (damn you, single malt purists! Hide your bias…disguise your face if need be…and buy this). It knocks the socks off the Red Label and sparkles through its complexity when held up against the Blue Label. Its intricate myriad layers, delivered though a marriage of more than 40 individual whiskies (none of which is younger than 12 years), present such a gorgeous cohesive whole that I am truly taken aback.
Deliciously intense and deep, the JWB is engagingly mysterious and enormous. The arrival is a rollercoaster of smoothness and subtlety…into warmth and bite…and finally into fruit and toffee. The hills and valleys of this whisky are simply part of the landscape that rolls by. No one feature obscuring any other. Man…this is what balance in a whisky is all about.
The nose is warm caramel or toffee…diffuse peat and smoke…silky malted barley and tart fruity notes. Something like a bitter berry perhaps. This is all carried to the palate, with the grains and fruit taking center stage. The finish is entirely pleasant and dominated by a sweet honeyed fruitiness. Sprinkle the whole offering with a light dusting of warm winter spice, and this is absolutely the closest I can get to describing Johnnie Walker Black Label.
No long-winded diatribes necessary here. This really is all you need to know. Utterly exceptional blending, and very possibly my favorite blended whisky on the market.
– Reviewed by: Curt
– Photo: Curt