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Johnnie Walker Blue Label

Um, really?

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@valuewhiskyReview by @valuewhisky

26th Nov 2012


  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

Disclaimer: this review is from a sample from a bottle that is probably over a year opened, but the bottle was over half full. It is from a neighbor who passed away recently at the age of 94, so, here's to you, Jack!

So, my neighbor Jack was a great guy and worth every one of his 94 years. This whisky, however, is not worth nearly every one of its 200 dollars (plus or minus $50). I read reviews online and it seems to be popular to bash JW Blue, but honestly I figured it was just bloggers boasting about what serious connoisseurs they are. I figured that for the $200 this costs, it must be pretty good. I've even seen some bloggers claim that JW Black Label is better than Blue... c'mon, really? No way! ... Right? ...

Nose: Despite the supposed age of Blue's constituents, there's no mistaking that it's a blend on the nose: you get that sour-funky-apple blend note. Also some refined sherry and spice, some earthiness. It's the best blend nose I've smelled, but it can't compete with any number of malts I've had at a quarter of the price. (Sorry blend fans, I really just can't get into blends; they just don't do it for me). It's an OK nose. Nice to nose, but nothing that calls my nose to the glass.

Palate: Pretty good texture on the palate - not too watery even at 40%. There's a fair amount of oak spiciness, some sherry and honey sweetness, very light smokiness, and good balance between everything. So, well crafted in the balance department with nothing dominating.

Finish: oak and bitterness linger heavily, with a dash of smoke, and a little bit of sherry in the background.

So, it's nice. It's fine to drink. There's no chance at all that I would ever consider spending $200 on this. Or $100. Would I spend $50? Um, no, I wouldn't. It's probably worth that amount though, if you like blends. Is it better than JW Black? Yeah, it's better. But seriously, not by much. The nose is a big improvement over Black, but the palate is not much of an improvement, and I could imagine liking the palate of Black better.

So, cheers, Jack! I will enjoy the dram, but glad I never spent any of my money on it.

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GotOak91 commented

It probably didn't help that it was a half finished bottle that had been opened for a year. I've learned oxidation plays quite a role in changing tastes and scents sometimes for the better or in most cases the worse. But then again I've read reviews where J.W. Blue even freshly opened isn't worth the price tag. I haven't had it but I wouldnt pay $200 or so for a blend unless its something that isn't made anymore. For something to be expensive it has to rightly have no flaws to be found in it. In any matter nice review though.

9 years ago 0

Lars commented

I had this one at a tasting a couple of months back and I agree with you. Its better than the JW Black but not by much certainly not what they are charging for it. Good review.

9 years ago 0

valuewhisky commented

@GotOak91 and @Lars, thanks for the nice comments, guys. You are correct that the bottle could have easily changed and flattened out over the time it's been open; at least it wasn't too empty though. I have found in my limited experience that Diageo whisky seems to fall off more than others, too. It's probably a combination of low ABV, harsh filtering, and tired oak that Diageo loves.

Still, I'll save my money for something else ;-)

9 years ago 0

valuewhisky commented

Correction: I was mistaken, this was actually a separate unopened bottle than the older open one. Thus, my sample was from a pretty fresh bottle over half full. So, yeah, can't use the oxidation excuse here.

9 years ago 0

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