Whisky Connosr
Menu
Shop Join

Johnnie Walker 80's Red Label

Johnnie, Won't You Come on Home

8 090

@RianCReview by @RianC

11th Feb 2021

1

  • Nose
    ~
  • Taste
    ~
  • Finish
    ~
  • Balance
    ~
  • Overall
    90

Show rating data charts

Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

OK, third times the charm, hopefully, for this review ...

I've been dabbling in older blends of late and this is the Red counterpart to the Black from the same era I recently reviewed - it was excellent, in case you were wondering (93). All in, I paid less than a bottle of Black Label would cost now for this and, given what passes for Red Label nowadays, I might be forgiven for not having overly high expectations. Well, I was wrong.

Review is neat. A literal drop of water helped this on opening but as it passes the half-way mark, I find it's best neat. I am yet to try it on ice and doubt I will.

Nose - sweetness and spice greet the nose, followed by quite an intense nip of tangy, herbal peat, like antiseptic cream. There's a stunning, sticky-barley sugar note giving the bulk of the sweetness with some creamy, sweet popcorn notes, coming from the grain, I assume. Some white pepper, baker's ginger and a hint of oak tannins. Maybe some over-ripe tropical fruit notes in the back.

Taste - sweet and sour arrival and boy does this one fizz across the tongue - very sherbet lemon or cream soda like. That sticky barley note comes through with hints of some sherry casks in the mix - clean and slightly syrupy. The grain is adding more corn notes but it's all blended in nicely. As it develops, the peat starts to nip at the tongue - metallic, herbal and medicinal, lovely.

Finish - Short but rewarding. Some black tea tannins and a touch drying, but the stickiness and tongue nip of peat hang in there most gratifyingly.

Like the Black, I am curious as to how much OBE has had on this but you can tell that, even back then, this was a very accomplished and articulate blended Scotch. The balance of sweetness and peat here is truly excellent for a blend, and in an unusual way - I can't stress how inviting and moreish that sticky, barley sugar note is. The peat is surprisingly intense, and I'm reminded of those old cartoons where someone leaves a fresh baked pie on the window sill and the fumes invade the loveable rogue's nostrils, facing them with a moral dilemma. Well no dilemma here, this is to be cheerfully and greedily guzzled. Every smell and sip is wonderful. Sure, not overly complex but extremely gratifying.

I can't help feeling the peat element leans more to the Caol Ila than the Talisker here; the herbal nature being a big clue, as opposed to the Black, which I felt leaned to the Talisker. But who knows, right?

Sighs ... Back to the auction house it is then ha!

Related Johnnie Walker reviews

0 comments

You must be signed-in to comment here

Sign in