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Johnnie Walker Black Label 12 Year Old

A Churchillian Blend

0 883

@RPSReview by @RPS

21st Jan 2012


  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

Up until this point, I have only reviewed single malt whiskies. The blended stuff, many have assured me, is not worth tasting. However, they'd be wise to listen to the eccentric and loveable Richard Paterson of 'Whyte and Mackay', who would soon dispel such nonsense.

Those 'connoisseurs' who are so quick to jump to conclusions about blended whisky often forget that only those at the top of their craft (i.e. the Master Blenders) create blends. For someone like Paterson it is a process that can take forty years to complete. So to those anti-blend whisky drinkers: thanks, but no thanks.

Johnnie Walker's Black Label whisky deserves its place in any cabinet. It has an extraordinary ability to change character effortlessly. The imposing colour of the whisky is like none I have seen thus far on my brief travels. Its rich nose is full of old, smoked and sweet wood gently burning. Within this, the softness of vanilla and the tang of orange emerge. It is excellently balanced.

Throwing a dram into the mouth brings out the wood and a rich, tobacco-led spiciness that grabs the tongue. But, as with the nose, it mellows and sweet vanilla liquorice breaks through and washes the stronger notes away. It persists to the finish, which is long, mellow and full of sweet lingering notes; even a minute or so afterwards, the mouth is still pleasantly sweetened.

Christopher Hitchens and Winston Churchill both named this whisky as their favourite. It is no surprise. Perhaps what links these 'Great Men' (if you'll allow my old-fashioned phrasing) is the golden liquid that I have in my glass.

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drinix commented

Very nice review! I do agree with you, this whisky shouldn't be overlooked.

8 years ago 0

Lars commented

Great review, I had a bottle of this in my cabinet given to me as a gift years ago. I never had any desire to open it but a guest I had over for supper one night asked if he could have a dram. I must say it exceeded my expectations. It is a very nice blend well worth keeping in the bar.

8 years ago 0

Victor commented

I liked Johnnie Walker Black Label the first time I tasted it 38 years ago, and I have never stopped liking it. It has been reliably good (something which I cannot say about Johnnie Walker Red Label) and excellent value for the money.

8 years ago 0

sailorman commented

Nice piece of prose. You are absolutely right, blends should not be overlooked,and there are a lot of really good ones on the market. Some time ago I reviewed the "Talisman," produced by Tomatin, a bottle I bought for 10 bucks, and it was nice... lightly smoky, mellow... However, I do not agree with your statement about the colour. The "imposing colour" of BL is due to the added caramel - something purist whisky drinkers complain about...

8 years ago 0

talexander commented

Anyone who thinks blends are inherently and automatically inferior to single malts is daft.

8 years ago 0

sailorman commented

Hi folks, I know Ralfie's whisky reviews are becoming increasingly trendy, but they are a good starting point for discussing whiskies. He has just released a review on 5 blends: youtube.com/watch/… Of course, whatever he thinks and says is his personal opinion... each of of has his/her own taste. Stay thirsty,


8 years ago 0

Fons commented

Very nice review and I agree with you that blends should not be looked upon as inferior, although like @sailorman, it's also my opinion that you can not make any valid comments on the colour, since it was artificially created with E150.

8 years ago 0

RPS commented

Thank you for all your comments - they're much appreciated. If you're interested, there are plenty of similar reviews at a blog I run with a friend: casktales.wordpress.com.

8 years ago 0

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