JIM'S DESERT ISLAND WHISKEYS
Naturally intense with a distinct smokiness and a big malty heart.
Johnnie Walker Green LabelBOTTLE DETAILS
- DISTILLERY: Johnnie Walker
- MASH BILL: While percentages are not available, Johnnie Walker advertises their Green Label as being comprised of flagship brands from all main whisky producing regions of Scotland (and all owned by Johnnie Walker’s parent company Diageo). Caol Ila from Islay, Talisker from the Isle of Skye, and Cragganmore and Linkwood from Speyside comprise the bulk of the blend. Additionally, Johnnie Walker Green Label is the distillery’s only blended malt offering, meaning that it is comprised of only single malts from different distilleries, rather than typical blended scotches which are a mixture of malt whiskies and grain whiskies from various distilleries.
- AGE: 15 Years
- YEAR: 2018
- PROOF: 86 (43% ABV)
- MSRP: $65.00 (but available cheaper in many markets)
- BUY ONLINE: SharedPour.com
NOSE: Putting my nose in the Glencairn and taking a pretty deep inhale produced very little burn. Peat obviously comes through clearly, supplemented with salted honey and cinnamon applesauce.
TASTE: While I may be romanticizing the past, the palate is not as complex as I remember it being prior to being discontinued, and a bit sweeter. The older variety (again, at least in my memories) had this umami and dry finish – similar to that which can be found in good parmesan cheese - that is lacking in this one. Without knowing much about blending, my guess is that of some of the stronger, peatier, more mysterious blends are less represented in the current ratio than in past iterations of the Green Label. In this generation, the honey from the nose takes center stage on the palate and is supported by malt and cereal. A bit of water adds a little spice that is absent when drinking it neat. The mouthfeel is relatively light, but the best parts of the flavor profile seem to last longer than everything else, which is a nice surprise.
FINISH: This dram had a pleasant, warm, linger of smoke, burnt straw, and leather. Given how comparatively light the mouthfeel was, the length and quality of the finish after the first exhale was lovely.
SHARE WITH: Anyone whom you like and want to make happy; especially if you want to help ensure that their first foray into the world of Scotch whisky is a pleasant and memorable one. Additionally, anyone who thinks the only place blends belong is in well-drinks would be pleasantly surprised by this blended malt that can easily hold its own with more pricey single malts.
WORTH THE PRICE: Even though the value might not be quite the blockbuster that it was pre-2012, I believe this stuff stands on its own as being worthy of this price tag all day long. It used to compete with 18-year-old single malts in terms of quality and I’m not quite sure it still belongs in that stratosphere. That being said, it is a clear stand-out at its price range and is certainly the best dollar-for-dollar offering coming out of Johnnie Walker today.
BOTTLE, BAR OR BUST: At its price point, I can’t imagine anyone (even someone who over-romanticizes the past) being disappointed after purchasing a bottle.
OVERALL: Before it went away in 2012, Johnnie Walker Green was my grandfather’s dram of choice and so I certainly have a sentimental connection to it. Johnnie Walker claims that the blend has not changed since the label has been reintroduced and I could be convinced to believe them. Drinking it 1700 miles away from my grandfather could have certainly colored any points I withheld from it; though more likely, the drinking partner gave it points that I wasn’t able to add to my solo tasting.
Even if my memory is 100% correct and the current bottling has lost a little of its class, it is still a solid value and something that will probably tickle the palate of virtually any whisk(e)y lover willing to #DrinkCurious!
A self-made whiskey drinker, Paul’s journey began with Bourbon: America’s National Spirit. Over a decade later, his shelves now contain whiskies from Canada, Ireland, Scotland, India, and Japan. A life-long educator, what Paul appreciates most about this community is the regular opportunities he has both to teach and to learn while enjoying a drink with new and old friends!
Read Paul's full profile.