Johnnie Walker Black Label Old Scotch Whisky (12yo)
40% ABV, 80 Proof
Available pretty much everywhere
What The Distillery Says:
An acclaimed masterpiece of blending craftsmanship, the rich and smooth Johnnie Walker Black Label is an award-winning blend.
With a depth and complexity drawn from over 40 select whiskies, including the fresh fruitiness of Glendullan, the opulent Mortlach, the earthy Talisker and the creamy, vanillan Cameron Brig, Black Label…it is at once powerful, intriguing and unassailably elegant. Small wonder it was Sir Winston Churchill’s whisky of choice.
What Richard Says:
Nose: Fresh cut wood, vanilla (extract not bean) and citrus notes that seemed to be a muted orange fragrance. With water the peat that was so absent without water goes to the forefront. The water actually disperses the unique notes and makes it smell like generic scotch.
Palate: Salty and smoky with hints of pepper peeking around the edges. It leaves the mouth feeling brined. Water opens up the palate a little and adds floral sweetness.
Finish: Smooth on the throat and a mixture of salt and smoke in the mouth.
Comments: I wish some of the more delicate notes on the nose came through on the palate. It seems odd to me that adding water destroys the nose and opens the palate. Usually for whiskeys bottled at 40 to 43% ABV the opposite occurs. That said, Johnnie Walker Black isn’t bad and it’s always consistent. I could drink this straight but I’d still probably prefer not to.
What Matt Says:
Nose: Earthy, roasted nuts, citrus, and vegetal.
Palate: Peat, spice, grain, citrus, are the strongest flavors. With water, some sweetness that I can’t place comes out. It’s not really honey or sugar (or even burnt sugar).
Finish: Long finish. Sweetness, smoke, vegetal, brine.
Comments: Not one of the best blends on the market, but a good starter. Black Label is rounder and better developed than Red Label and more complex than Dewar’s White Label. I don’t mind this neat, but I think it really shines in a simple cocktail or just with some soda.
Overall Rating: Average. A good gateway blend.