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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.