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On my last trip to OC, CA, I bought a bottle of JW Blue for 139.00. How could I resist? That was nearly half off what I had seen it priced everywhere else. And, I could not bring myself to open it yet. So when I saw a gift box of JW (Red, Black,Gold, Blue) for 60.00, I seized the opportunity.
As I had a few drams of the Green left, I thought why not a quick comparison of all of the old colors.
Red - Nasty. Artificial. Something smells really wrong here and makes me want to vom. Seriously bad. Drain pour whisky.
Black - Not bad. Really. If I was at a bar and this was as good as it got, I could make do. Fairly reminiscent of the Gold. I would never buy a bottle of this. Very average - 75 maybe? It's not shite, but we could do much better.
Gold - Sweet. I could drink this straight, but I would prefer a bit more. I would not turn this whisky down, but I would not buy it. Reminds me a bit of Hibiki 12, but not as nuanced and expressive. Not a bad dram.
Blue - Well,this was the whole point of buying the sampler. BTW, the sampler set cost as much as one 200 ml bottle of Blue, so I guess it it worth it in that regard. Aroma is very nice sweet barley, but not as sweet as the Gold. There is a nice vanilla smoothness that puts the breaks on becoming cloying. It is really quite nice. Almost a bit of peat in the background? Surely not. It is nice. Swirl and swallow. Wow. More wood than I would have expected. No bitterness at all and no drying mouthfeel. And at 40% why should there be? Regardless, very smooth. No bitterness in the short finish. All vanilla and oak. Reminds me of Compass Box Oak Cross, but a bit more robust, and less spicey.
Final thoughts. JW Blue is quite good. It is smooth. Less sweet than I expected, and a good bit more complex as well. The low abv does hamper the overall effect. Is this worth 100+ dollars? Not really. Is it a good blend? Hells yeah. I would not turn this down, and would not have a problem buying another bottle if it were sub 100. But even for the bargain price I paid of 140.00, there are so many single malts I would buy before this.
In conclusion, JW Blue is a very good blend that I would gladly consume if offered. I will likely never buy another bottle. The price is simply not justified. Good, but not GOOD!!!