- DISTILLER: Johnnie Walker
- MASH BILL: Johnnie Walker is a blend of grain whiskies and a blend of malt whiskies from different distilleries. This blend includes some whiskies matured in wine casks.
- AGE: NAS – No Age Statement
- YEAR: 2017
- PROOF: 80 (40% ABV)
- MSRP: $29.99
- BUY ONLINE: DRIZLY will deliver it straight to your door
NOSE: Grain | Red Fruits | Rubber
TASTE: Bread | Caramel | Wood Spice
FINISH: A rather short finish… the elusive sweetness finally makes a brief appearance as the finish begins to develop but is quickly replaced by the earthier, blander notes of dirt and wood.
SHARE WITH: Fans of Johnnie Walker, especially those who have been following the various Blenders’ Batch releases, or cocktail enthusiasts looking to add a unique twist to their concoctions.
WORTH THE PRICE: At a suggested price of $29.99 / 750 ml, I believe it is worth the price, if only for the sake of experiencing the uniqueness of this experimental blend.
BOTTLE, BAR OR BUST: For the money, there’s really not a whole lot of scotch options in this price range. That being said, if you see this at a bar, try it in a cocktail and decide from there if you should add a bottle to your home bar.
OVERALL: Before even opening the bottle, based on visuals alone, I was anticipating a much sweeter profile. Maybe it was the pink coloring of the label, or the prominent “Wine Cask Blend” (also written in red lettering) that threw me off, but once poured into a Glencairn glass, the whisky was much more golden in color than my first impression. As I raised the glass to my nose, my expectations were quickly crushed. This was not very promising… Considering my penchant for sherry and port finished whiskies, I think I just set the bar too high. Now, in all fairness, I don’t believe this experimental blend was ever meant to be directly compared to a heavily sherried single malt, and it appears to be geared more toward being used in cocktails.
As such, I only felt it fair to go ahead and whip up a few simple cocktails before making a final decision on this one. For the record, I’m not all that big of a cocktail drinker, and even less of a cocktail MAKER, but I have long been a fan of the Rusty Nail (equal parts scotch and Drambuie over ice). Since I’ve made a lot of Rusty Nails with a wide range of whiskies, it’s a good one for me to use for comparison. Another simple option, and one mentioned on the Johnnie Walker website, is the classic scotch and ginger ale served over ice, so I will give that a try as well.
“Like other whiskies in the Blenders’ Batch series, such as Triple Grain American Oak blend, Wine Cask Blend is designed with bartenders and whisky enthusiasts in mind. It is exceptional mixed in classic whisky cocktails, or simply enjoyed with Ginger Ale over ice. As always, Johnnie Walker’s expert team of blenders reminds you to please drink responsibly.”
At our home in Scotland, a team of 12 Johnnie Walker flavour experts are conducting over 100 experiments that push the boundaries of taste and flavour. It’s experiments like these that helped create the icon that is Johnnie Walker Black Label more than a century ago.
Overseen by Jim Beveridge, our Master Blender, this small team continue to explore new flavour combinations and techniques that will excite new and seasoned whisky lovers alike.
It began with an experiment set in motion by Jim Beveridge over ten years ago which involved maturing our whisky in casks that had previously held wine. Many were tried and tested, but it was the former wine casks where blender Aimée Gibson uncovered a palette of incredible new flavours through some experiments of her own. These all eventually became part of the final blend. The result is an exceptionally fruity Scotch, full of lively fresh berry and sweet toffee flavours.
Johnnie Walker Blenders’ Batch Wine Cask Blend is launching in select markets from September 2017.
COCKTAILS FEATURING JOHNNIE WALKER BLENDERS’ BATCH WINE CASK BLEND
I started drinking Rusty Nails a few years back and pretty much stuck to using Dewar’s. At some point I ended up alternating between that and Johnnie Walker Red… whichever happened to be on sale that week. One day the guy behind the counter asked me if I ever tried Johnnie Walker Black Label, so I went ahead and got a bottle to test out. From that day forward, the Black Label became my go-to whisky for a Rusty Nail, as it gives you a nice rich, smoky drink that I really enjoy. I’ve tried several other whiskies, with varied results, but tend to fall back on the JW Black. (side note: Glenmorangie 10 makes for a really nice one, too!)
Considering the sub-par neat-tasting, I started having second thoughts about how the Wine Cask Blend would play with the spicy, heathery liqueur, but I powered on. Ice in the glass, 1 oz. of JW Wine Cask Blend, ¾ oz. of Drambuie… stir. You know what… it really works! It definitely brings out that “light and vibrant with notes of orchard fruit and red berries” as denoted on the label. I have to admit, I was a little surprised by how nice it tasted mixed in a drink, considering I couldn’t force myself to finish the neat sample I used for the initial notes above. As the ice began to slowly melt and dilute the cocktail to a degree, a very tasty, cotton candy-like flavor was the result. I don’t think there is any danger of this permanently replacing my JW Black as the base spirit, but it did make for a rather pleasant drink I’m likely to enjoy again in the future.
SCOTCH AND GINGER BEER
As it turns out, I didn’t have any ginger ale. What I remembered as a bottle of ginger ale was actually Fever-Tree Ginger Beer, so I was left to substitute that in the recipe. I also discovered that I’m not a big fan of Ginger Beer… but at this point it was already poured and I’m not one to waste a mixed drink if I can help it. It’s not that it was a bad drink, but I feel the Ginger Beer overpowered the whisky, and the subtle fruitiness was drowned out by a bold ginger punch. On the other hand, if you are a fan of strong ginger flavor, this might just be right up your alley. I will say, I was intrigued enough by this mixture that I intend to go out and get some actual ginger ale and give it another shot. Based on how the Wine Cask Blend influenced the Rusty Nail, I do believe that when combined with a milder ginger ale, the result will be a light, refreshing cocktail.