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Johnnie Walker Blue Label Brora and Rare / Ghost and Rare


4 990

@markjedi1Review by @markjedi1

8th Jun 2018


  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

Johnnie Walker Blue Label is the epitome of luxury (in the affordable range at least). It is very popular as a gift, hence the endless stream of special editions. Luckily it is also very good. But in 2017 Johnnie Walker launched a new, limited edition of their Blue: the Johnnie Walker Ghost & Rare. The protagonist of the first release is Brora. But Pittyviach and Cambus – also closed distilleries – play an important part as well. The other whisky’s are Clynelish, Royal Lochnagar, Glenlossie, Glenkinchie and Cameronbridge. The result is a bottle at 250 EUR, albeit in an exquisite packaging. I long doubted buying this one, but after trying it at a festival I was convinced and got me two bottles.

It does not happen often (at least not often enough) that I get an ‘OMG’-moment when first sniffing a whisky. This is one of those. A very rich, aromatic, complex nose on roasted pineapple, peach, oranges, joined quickly by earthy notes as if I am standing on the earthen floor of an old dunnage warehouse. And while it is impossible to guess how much Brora went in the mix, I could swear I can detect it! The typical waxiness from Clynelish is also very prominent. Loads of nuts (almonds and hazelnuts) and some honey give it an extra sweet twist. It is even slightly tropical in the background with some banana and coconut. Hint of eucalyptus. In case you were still wondering: yes, this is very complex!

The arrival is very sweet, a tad spicy and quite smoky. Yellow and green fruit softly evolve towards barley sugar and nuts, upholstered with mint, pipe tobacco, garden herbs, dark chocolate, candy floss and crème brûlée. The smokiness grows.

The finish starts smoky, but then quickly makes room for subtle sweet, fruity notes and some oak at the death.

This is a wonderfully good Blue Label, in which the end result is much more than the sum of its parts. A masterpiece. Oh, by the way… the second edition will be coming soon. And the protagonist in that one will be that other trophy malt from Diageo. Yup, you’ve guessed it: Port Ellen. Start saving up.

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OdysseusUnbound commented

A 90 from the very tough (but fair) @markjedi1 ! This must be a special whisky indeed. Excellent review. I can almost smell it from over here ! wink

10 days ago 2Who liked this?

markjedi1 commented

@OdysseusUnbound You consider me tough? I had no idea. Thanks for considering me fair as well - I like to think so. First time someone tells me I'm tough, though. wink

10 days ago 2Who liked this?

OdysseusUnbound commented

@markjedi1 Maybe I'm just too generous and enthusiastic with my marks. But I always find your scores fair and well-explained.

10 days ago 1Who liked this?

Robert99 commented

@markjedi1 i think @OdysseusUnbound refered to the fact that your scores are a bit lower than the average. When I look at your scores, I generaly add 3 or 4 points to them to compare to the others. Maybe I add only 2 points when you are reviewing an Auchentoshan. wink

9 days ago 4Who liked this?

OdysseusUnbound commented

@Robert99 I agree. A mark of 88 from @markjedi1 often means I’d give it a 90-91. But he’s consistent and fair, so I know how to interpret his scoring.

9 days ago 0

Frost commented

I too find your scores tough but fair @markjedi1

I also find your review entertaining, transparent, ethical and well researched.

But, I do tent to add +2 to your ratings. most other reviewers I don't. This is not a criticism, this is how I interpret your high standards.

9 days ago 1Who liked this?

markjedi1 commented

Thanks for this feedback! And I can see where the scoring of Auchentoshan is a little different... laughing

8 days ago 1Who liked this?

RianC commented

Sounds lovely! Out of my range but saw some UK place selling it for half price recently . . .

Oh and yes, I also add a few points to any of @markjedi1 's scores. As said, you're definitely fair and consistent though which is all one needs really.

Oh and they're entertaining and enjoyable as well! First YT whisky review I ever saw was one of yours iirc :)

8 days ago 2Who liked this?

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