A member of the family picked up a bottle of this for my birthday. I've been anxious to try it as it's not available in the states (or widely released either). I believe Diageo will be releasing it globally next year. Anywho, I figured I would write a review on this stuff before it hits the main market.
Nose: Pleasant and sweet with hints of peat and honey. Nothing spectacular, but as warm and inviting as many Highland or Speyside bottlings.
Body: Beautifully golden, smooth, and mellow.
Palate: Honeyed barley, but surprisingly dry scotch.
Finish: Rather short. Mostly vegetal; not usually a problem, but none of the other flavors are present which is kind of sad.
Johnnie Walker describes this as "A rich, intense, smoky blend containing whisky matured in deep charred old oak casks." In my opinion, this is a very polite whisky that seems to play a little too much on the safe side. It's not very rich, nor intense. I think Diageo wants to gain some ground in the peated whisky market, but this will NOT work (Highland Park 12 has more peat than this). Certainly not awful by any means, but I don't think it's going to garner any more sales than the already popular Black Label. I would not be willing to pay over $35 for this.
The packaging is very, very nice. Probably the best looking bottle I've seen since Ardbeg, and the box is even nicer. Good job Mr. Walker. However, about this plastic cap unit with the glass ball: This damn thing pisses me off, pisses me right off. Don't you dare widely release this bottle with this kind of cap. Don't you dare! Go back to the standard cork cap.