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Johnnie Walk Double Black

Johnnie's smoky sweetness

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@sailormanReview by @sailorman

26th Sep 2011


  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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Johnnie Walker is heavily promoting its new creation, the Double Black, at least in places where people get in the air. I had the opportunity to sample some drops at Miami International Airport. In fact, JW was present in all duty free shops and even offered the free liquid in special stalls. According to the label, I was facing “a rich, intense smoky blend containing whisky matured in deep-charred old oak casks.” The reasonably knowledgeable and pretty young ladies who poured me the shot confirmed that there is no age statement and that I could purchase two liter bottles for the promotional price of US$80.00. So what is in the Double Black besides the aggressive propaganda campaign? Nose: sweet and smoky, very smooth. Sweetness and smoke smother any other elements and reduce the complexity of the whisky. Palate: confirms the nose, almost sugary sweetness, the smoke tastes almost artificial. Finish: down the throat and the taste disappears. Of course, the smoke lingers a little bit, but not much. I am not sure what JW is aiming at. Smoky single malts have become very competitive on the American market. Does JW want to introduce its smoky line to compete on the market? The result is so-so. Yes, it is highly drinkable, but it is light years away from any deeper complexity. It seems the smoke flavor has been added afterwards – not so different from the artificial bacon and smoke flavor in food (at least in the U.S.). Not very impressive. For a few bucks more you can buy a “real” peated whisky.

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Victor commented

A little like Liquid Smoke in a bottle. It seemed to me to taste of 80% peat and smoke and 20% barley-malt. It makes me smile because JW Double Black is sooooo simple. I rather like it, in a guilty pleasure kind of a way. Double Black is "High Art" only in that it fills an unusual sort of niche. I drink it and think "Who would put together a drink like this?" But still, I do get a kick out of it.

8 years ago 0

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