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Johnnie Walker Blue Label

Amateurs Fantasy

0 1085

@MaltActivistReview by @MaltActivist

28th Apr 2014


  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

Let me start by saying this is not a bad blend at all. It has some Port Ellen in it, though I don't know how much. All the whiskies in here are at least 20 years old which, I suppose, in a way could begin to justify the high(ish) price tag - over US$250 travel retail.

That being said I have a pet peeve when it comes to products that are merely half way decent but are made to appear as if they have come down from the heavens on Gods' own winged chariot. And multiply my peeve by 10 when it comes to whisky.

Which is why I am a little miffed at this whisky. Sitting atop shelves and commanding top dollar at bars just because of some snazzy packaging, a scroll and a marketing budget the size of Liberia's trade deficit?

Sorry, but that's not supposed to happen.

So the only thing I can do balance out this equation is deduct one point from my review for excessive marketing and deluding innocents. That should make the brass at Diageo sit up and take notice.

Right, what else is there to do now but share my thoughts.

Nose: It's not bad. Fresh out of the bottle the peat is quite strong (must be that drop of Port Ellen). There's a nice wisp of smoky, salty butterscotch toffee on almonds. Let it settle and the vanilla starts coming out but now with some ginger spice and red apple. I think the nose is decent but definitely not as complex as promised on the velvet blue box.

Palate: Quite creamy if a touch one dimensional. There's smoke on pear pudding and grated ginger. Touch of woody vanilla and chocolate lemon tart. A second sip brings out the savory salty nuts. Mull it longer and experience a drop of fish oil. Must be that Port Ellen.

Finish: Medium oily with that same grated ginger which is there through out your journey. But now with a sprig of bitter mint.

I think this is a half-way decent dram which should be treated as such. If the less-informed want to plonk their hard earned cash to fulfill some marketing generated stab at a status symbol then I wish them good health.

For everyone else may I suggest five Ardbeg 10s for the same price.

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Onibubba commented

Nice review! I agree on all points,first being, this is good whisky. Second being, it is way too pricey for "good." Nice to see this myth busted in the proper way - without the hate,and just commenting on what it is.

6 years ago 0

Nozinan commented

I have to say I didn't notice much of a difference between this and JW Black...

6 years ago 0

MaltActivist commented

@Nozinan haha that's a bit harsh! I think there's quite a difference between this and the Black. Palate feel mostly. But then there will be similarities given a lot of the same whiskies go into both blends (Caol Ila for example).

I find the Black smokier and a touch rough around the edges. Not entirely bad. This one is a little mellow and smooth. Maybe too smooth for my liking. Is there such a thing?

If anything this probably closer to the Double Black than the regular Black. Though I don't know what the technical difference between the two is.

6 years ago 1Who liked this?

vrudy6 commented

First of all I love the title. I lost count how many times I've seen snobs buying Blue Label and walking like they've been chosen as queens of homecoming.

I just had Blue Label in a cruise last week and I was very disappointed. It kind of tastes like Black Label with a stronger zing of peat and more smoke. Locally here in So Florida, the price range goes for around $190.00. Personally, I wouldn't pay more than $90.00.

5 years ago 0

Ol_Jas commented

vrudy6, is it even worth $90? If it tastes like Black Label with an extra zing of peat—which you could create with actual (cheapish) Black Label and a dash of your favorite Islay—what makes it worth $90?

I've never had it. I've had the Black which was OK and the Green which was good but nothing special, and I gave up on the JW line there. I've heard the Blue "tastes expensive"—I wonder if that's the extra value you're perceiving? Though to undercut my own point, I bet people who think it tastes expensive just knew it was expensive.

Of all the complaints one might have here, I'd think the 40% deserves a mention too.

5 years ago 0

StevieC commented

I personally wouldn't pay more than $50 - $60 CDN for a bottle. The bottle is worth more than the liquid inside!

5 years ago 0

mct commented

The hibiki 17 is leaps and bounds better than the BLue label

5 years ago 0

vrudy6 commented

Even the Hibiki 12 is leaps and bounds better

5 years ago 0

Nozinan commented

I could buy a whole line of Amrut bottles at the LCBO Price of $300. With the recent discounts I could get a Fusion, one Single Cask, and a portonova, or swap out for a Peated CS.

Or just under 5 bottles of the singler cask sherry, or 4 of the Bourbon.

And I'd probably enjoy each one more...

5 years ago 0

mct commented

@vrudy6 the hibiki 12 is priced the same as the JW blue in my side of the globe HAHA

4 years ago 0

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