Aug 062012
 

Johnnie Walker Green Label167

43% abv

Score:  87/100

 

It’s really quite nifty when a blended whisky is more than the sum of its parts.  So how ’bout when a whisky is actually more like an exhibition of its parts?  Kinda like an exploded view wherein you can see the workings and trappings?  Well..in this case that works too.

Green Label is a blended malt, comprised of single malts, none of which are younger than 15 years.  Since 1997 Johnnie Walker have been producing this nifty little gem by marrying Cragganmore, Talisker, Caol Ila and Linkwood.  This polygamous little gathering is a marriage made in heaven.

It comes together nicely in its smooth and rich overarching theme, but is easily dissected into some of its components.  The pepper and spice are reminiscent of Talisker…the smoke and tartness are Caol Ila through and through…while the Cragganmore and Linkwood would logically carry the big purple fruit notes and sweetness.

The smoke on both nose and palate (but particularly the palate) is rich and cloying (in a good way) like a fine cigar, while hints of leather and spice are both charming and complimentary.  There is a little bit of peat distinguishable from the smoke that shows off a little of the Islay side of this one.

The arrival is big and sweet and carries a bit more heat than the other Johnnie Walkers I’ve sampled to date.  It coats the mouth in thick slices of tingly peppers and bold flavors.  Rich, warming and rewarding.

Though not as good as the black label, and not necessarily better or worse than the blue label, this certainly is a worthy addition to the JW stable.  If you can find it…buy one.  Quite highly recommended.

 

– Reviewed by:  Curt

– Photo:  Curt

 Posted by at 8:24 pm

  8 Responses to “Johnnie Walker Green Label Review”

  1. Rest In Peace, O Faithful Vat

    Johnnie Green, though we hardly knew ye, you were too solid and classy to last.

    Indeed, the good die young.

  2. I won’t miss it one bit. I’ve been trying Ralfy’s suggestion of one part Caol Ila 12 to two parts Talisker 10 for a few months, and it is MUCH better than the Green. The smokey delicacy of the Caol Ila smooths and adds a complexity to the peppery attack of the Talisker. So, bye-bye Green. Don’t let the screen door hit you! No, really! Try it! It’s really good. I actually agree with Ralfy on this!

    • It’s true, Robert, I defend my sackcloth and ashes here as much on principle as punch. But with the 18 age statement now moved from the Gold Label to the upscale (?) Platinum, and the former knocked back to an NAS bait-and-switch “Gold Label Reserve”, the loss of a mass-produced 15-year-old pure malt product still strikes me as a bit of a loss, certainly to JW and to scotch in general. That said, the Green was scotch done old school, with an age statement and no shame, or “secret recipe” nonsense, about its components. As vats go, it was as good as many, and it was its quality and affordability, and not the lack thereof, which probably made the Green an endangered species – margins are higher on younger, cheaper blends using grain spirit and the relatively few who knew the difference between a vat and a blend would not be able to support the price hike necessary to make up the difference. It’s ironic that, with JW’s focus on class and quality, it may have been the humble Green which tested the limits of their dedication.

      All sentimental nonsense aside, yeah, there were always better bottles (and better combos), but given the proliferation of immature whisky hitting the shelves, each with its own niche “spin”, the demise of the Green may still prove to be the dead canary in the mineshaft.

      Hoping your Christmas was great and wishing you a Happy New Year, Sláinte!

      • As the price of Green now in the $60 range, I can actually make my own “Ralfy” blend for less money, and still be able to enjoy each separately (esp. Caol Ila, which I really like). The Green is okay with me, but I prefer the Black or Double Black when I want a blend, and they’re cheaper. I really like the James Buchanan 18 SR better than all of them and can get it for the same $60.

        I understand what you are saying, but for me its not a loss, although for many it is. There are still so many malts out there I need to try, including about 10 in my cabinet that I hope are even better than the Green. The bottom-line will always decide such issues, esp. for large corporations.

        In fact, in memory of Green, I’ll open one of those 10 today and compare it to the few drams of Green I have left. Have a great holiday weekend! Cheers!

    • Green label is outstanding! I score the recent release 94/100

      Ah Ralfy there’s much that I disagree on with that guy. He is likeable.

      Firstly, you cannot buy the single malts contained in Green label, they are all on contract. Occasionally you can go to distilleries and they will sell some single malts in casking strength. The majority of the whisky contained in green label sells for far more than then green label if you can get them (some you can). It is JW buying power that allows them to secure these fine whisky’s at such a good price then sell it for cheaper.

      Second, don’t worry about the price, green label is very very affordable but I’ve drunk whisky worth thousands per bottle over the years. Price does not always mean value.

      Thirdly, this IS a blend of single malts, it is nothing like black label which is probably around 40% malt and 60% grain whisky. It’s apples and oranges within whisky. Hands down green label is a finer whisky by a long long long way. But who am I to argue with all these ice and cola drinkers that gulp it down.

      Fourthly, do not trust anything on the net. Most people don’t know how to taste or aspirate to enhance flavor. Watch Ralfy, does he aspirate? Nope, instead he smacks it around in his mouth and doesn’t even breath much. You actually taste a limited amount in the mouth, it is actually the olfactory centres where the big taste happens. So most people haven’t even really “tasted” what the smell suggest it might be like. Do a blind tasting and see, just like most people who drink coffee could taste any difference between a dark roast of a city roast in an espresso. So seriously what do people know, I’ve heard people express opinions that are real palm to forehead moments.

      Fifth, people love to bag out a commercial company and yeah that’s fine where it merits it but seriously give credit where credit is due people. Sure JW is a big company and the rest of their line up is overpriced but they have hit an absolute cracker with green label that is probably going to develop a “cult” following for green after many taste this recent release of it. Only thing that I can bag out on it is the probable use of E61 however not the whisky itself. It is outstanding like I said, you will not be able to easily reproduce something close to it. Sure some boutique whisky’s are great but to have access to high quality 15year old whisky at this price is something only a large company like JW can do.

      Six, whisky age, yes whisky does age nicely but it does also lose some liveliness, there is a sweet spot and 15 years in this green label blended single malts does prove a lot.

      Anyway that’s my 2 cents worth. Sick of people jumping on the bandwagon to big note themselves when it is obvious how little they know.

      • Wow! Not sure how to respond to such a thorough dissertation from an obviously learned übermensch. Maybe you need to correspond with Jeff.

      • Robert,

        I think I’ll just have to stop visiting whisky forum sites. Clearly I’ve learned it all now.

        So clear, so definite.

        Medical thought is that drinking alcohol to excess put you at greater risk of “aspiration”. Silly me, I always thought it was a bad thing. I’d better start hitting the bottles…

      • Robert,

        I would agree with you if I were as willfully ignorant as our host has said. But just as David Suzuki took on a racist at Western University fighting fiction with fact, so can we here.

        I agree, you cannot buy the single malts in JW Green… Unless you go into an obscure thing called a LIQUOR STORE. They are not on contract…the distilleries are all owned by Diageo.
        Diageo, owner of the JW brand.

        I don’t worry about the price. But remember it is branded and at 43% and overpriced. Lots of better whiskies around. Is it the best of the JW range? Maybe, but if you hate liver like I do, will you buy the best liver around. And I will sleep easy knowing my friend has sipped (and likely not appreciated) whisky from bottles that were even more overpriced.

        Probably the best thing Rob tells us is not to trust anything on the net, starting with his post. Actually, I would probably have missed out on some great flavour experiences (and excellent deals) if I didn’t trust the net. You just have to know what to trust, and when that 40 million dollar inheritance you can get 10% of just by giving you banking info out is not as reliable as Curt’s scores.

        I think if Ralfy told us how we must drink our whisky, you may have a point. However, having reviewed 99% or more of his videos, I would say the only thing he insists on is that you drink it the way you like to. He frequently reminds us he is simply an enthusiast sharing his opinion. Rob, when you go through all that effort to communicate, maybe people will pay attention to you too.

        Unless, of course, you’re acting as a Diageo mole, giving your company’s product a high “score” (based on what?).

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