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Johnnie Walker Blenders' Batch Red Rye Finish

Blenders' Batch Red Rye

4 586

@meleklerinpayiReview by @meleklerinpayi

7th Mar 2017


  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

Nose: I could easily say “bourbon” if I was doing a blind tasting, sweet oaky notes, vanilla, Amasya red apples, honey, grainy notes, it also has the flowery, light character of Irish whiskeys Mouth: Consistent with the nose, bourbon type sweetness, quite dry, reminded me of wine finished bourbons, cinnamon apple pie Finish: Medium; honey sweetness, cinnamon, milk chocolate

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jeanluc commented

Thanks for posting these notes @meleklerinpayi – sounds quite reasonable given the price point.

I will be interested to see what the next releases in the Blenders' Batch series are like, I believe they are: Bourbon Cask, Rye Finish & Triple Grain American Oak

6 years ago 0

Victor commented

@meleklerinpayi, thank you for your review, and thank you especially for your extremely well done and interesting interview with Emma Walker. She gave you excellent content and did not merely parrot industry promotion.

I am not at all surprised that it took 50 experiments to get a good working experiment using Rye barrels to finish a Johnnie Walker Red Label, nor that it took a unique combination of whiskies to get the blend to work. Mixing any rye grain influence, even just a finish, with barley, peat, smoke, brine, and/or wine is a very tricky business. The opportunities for horrific flavour clash and failure are huge. It takes a skillful blender to find one that will work. I am very glad to hear that you find that this Johnnie Walker Red Rye Finish makes the grade.

"Bourbon type sweetness" = new oak aging, the remnants of which came from the rye whiskey barrel finish. US Straight Rye whiskey is really just standard rye-containing bourbon with a much higher rye content at 51%+ rye grain.

I have to say that I am now very curious to taste these various experiments combining rye influence in Scotch. I guess that I have been waiting for some good reviews to hear that someone in the Scotch world has learned to get it right. Rye flavours are much too potent to use carelessly around the much weaker flavours derived from barley grain, and clash easily with the flavours of peat, smoke, brine, and wine.

6 years ago 3Who liked this?

Victor commented

@Ol_Jas, for whatever reasons, not all whiskeys display distinct grain flavours. I am sure I can be fooled once in a while trying to figure out which grains were used in a whiskey, even if I know it is a bourbon. Usually the difference between wheat and rye is night and day, though, to me. The ones which are tricky to ferret out are usually the whiskeys which have amorphous characters, in which the flavours are indistinct. The absence of clear rye flavours in a bourbon could lead one to think that it is likely a wheater. Wheat flavours are milder than those of rye, and often blend strongly in with the wood flavours. A rye bourbon with a weak rye input could easily be confused for a bourbon without rye, i.e. usually, a wheater.

There is a huge range of expression, though. I wish I knew what exactly it is that makes some rye grain expressions sharp-edged and pointed (the kind I prefer) and others soft and rounded. I expect that techniques of distillation and choices of stills used have much to do with it. Yeast could be an issue there too. There are so many factors to consider.

So, I agree with Sku that almost anyone can be mistaken diagnosing the grains tasted blind. And while I also agree that mashbill is a big deal, I do not agree with the degree of emphasis which Sku states that "we" put on it. I always knew that there is a HUGE range of expressions with the use of the same grain. (different Single Malt Scotch from scores of distilleries, DUH!!!) And no one would say that the 100% rye whiskies Alberta Premium, Catoctin Creek Roundstone, and Old Potrero 18th Century Style taste much like one another.

6 years ago 0

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