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Johnnie Walker Blue Label

Average score from 22 reviews and 80 ratings 84

Johnnie Walker Blue Label

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@Nozinan
Johnnie Walker Blue Label

I first tasted Johnnie Walker Blue in a bar at a birthday party. Someone had bought a bottle of this, a bottle of vodka, and soda to celebrate. This was about 7-8 years ago and I had it neat with a few drops of water. This was not the ideal setting, and I honestly could not have distinguished it from the Black Label. I knew then I would never buy this, not even at less than the exorbitant price the LCBO charges.

Fast forward to November 2018 and a friend with whom I used to work gave me a goodbye (she was leaving to work elsewhere) and Christmas gift - a bottle of JW Blue. Then a month later, a brother in law cracks a JW Blue while I’m visiting and I taste it for the second time. It tastes good, and he gives me a bottle to take home. Now I have 2 bottles. What is a guy to do? Open one, which I did with friends, to celebrate my 50th last spring.

This is bottle HA7 14252. It is bottled at 40%. @Nosebleed, also my brother in law and expert whisky hunter, has an older bottling rescued from our father in law, and that one is bottled at 43%. I’m not sure when the change was made.

This bottle was opened in May, 2019, and opened only once or twice since then, gassed each time.

This expression, in a Highland whisky glass, is reviewed in my usual manner, allowing it to settle after which I take my nosing and tasting notes, followed by the addition of a few drops of water (with trepidation, considering the low ABV), waiting, then nosing and tasting.


Nose: 21.5/25

Sweet. Apples. syrup. Very fruity. Very sweet. Maybe a hint of peat / smoke in the background. Pleasant but not overly complex. I think the low ABV does this a disservice. Water enhances the peat, and makes the nose a little more complex and interesting. (22/25)

Taste: 20.5/25

Thin mouthfeel. Simple syrup on arrival, a little fruit. Vanilla and a little caramel in the development. Some peat. Again, not very complex. Water makes it more peaty and brings out some pepper. (21/25)

Finish: 21.5/25

Peat in the finish, astringent, medium length.

Balance: 21/25

The nose is far sweeter than the taste. I find both are underpowered.

Score: Neat - 84/100 With Water: 85/100


I did the above review while comparing H2H with JW Green Label, an age-stated malt blend. The nose is slightly smokier, and the palate has a lot more depth and strength of flavour.

Now let’s see if the bolder Green can beef up the bashful Blue. I put what was left together. It’s a 1:1 ratio. The mix is not bad, and is very peat forward.


OK, maybe my socialist bias is showing, or maybe I take exception to putting more effort into marketing than quality, but I prefer the JW Green to the JW blue.

Would I accept Blue if offered? Yes. Would I buy it? No. It’s not in my wheelhouse. Will I cherish the bottle given to me by a friend? Absolutely, but I will cherish it in its unopened state, and happily share the open bottle with anyone who wants to try it.


PS: For those of you wondering, Justin Trudeau is a Canadian politician known more for his style than his substance.

@RianC Not a bad way to try JW Blue (and double black) for reasonable price (relative to trying at a bar): lcbo.com/webapp/wcs/… If 50 bucks is too much, wait for post-Christmas manager sales - i bought a pack last yr for $35

@Nozinan I love the title of your review. joy

I agree with the sentiments without ever actually trying JW Blue. I was talking to a non-whisky drinking about whisky as he wanted to buy a special bottle for his dad. Someone had recommended JW Blue to him. I described it to him as (pardon my language) 'wanker's whisky'.

m

This ultra premium pours a nice deep gold and leaves a thin oily ring on the glass.

The nose is light, offering hints of malt and honeyed sweetness.

The palate is just smooth, with almost no smoke. I got honey, malt, some oak and cereal. Maybe some baking spice and pepper round it out.

It has a long and lingering aftertaste, with a full mouthfeel of sweetness, sherry and hints of peppery spice at the very end.

This one is hard to describe, as there really are so many flavors in it. My best description would be a well-rounded and smooth whisky.

I thoroughly enjoyed it, but I wouldn’t rush out to pay $200 for a bottle of it.

@markjedi1

Johnnie Walker’s Blue Label is said to contain some very exclusive whisky, even some from closed distilleries. That should give us the feeling that it is indeed very old whisky, of course. How else can you ask between 125 and 175 EUR for a no age statement blend? Or am I too harsh now? Is there more going on than just packaging (in every sense of the word)? Let us find out.

The nose is quite perfumy with a small sweetness, hints of fresh bread and some peat smoke. But so soft. Silky soft, in fact. So soft that it borders on becoming uninteresting. Fairly little fruit, actually. A leaf of mint.

On the palate, it is wonderfully oily and offers a good mouthfeel from the get go. The sweetness now goes hand-in-hand with some baking spices, pepper, soft peat that develops a nice smokiness and finally some caramelized onions. Truly, this works! It has something wonderfully umami.

The finish is spicy and smoky and fairly long.

The nose was quite modest, but on the palate this is very good. I do not know how much Islay whisky has gone into this, but I am told that it even contains some Port Ellen. In my opinion, the Blue Label is surprisingly peaty, in which the Ileach easily overpower the Speysiders.

@MaltActivist

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.

@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.

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.

v

Smooth and gentle. Hints of vanilla, chocolate and toffee. Lingering finish that keeps blossoming. This is the best whisky I've ever had. The only negative is the price.

low ABV, chill filtered. caramel. In my opinion almost indistinguishable from the Black. You can get 3-4 great (not good) single malts for the same price (and they taste better).

I don't argue with the mark as it is subjective, but if you give this a 98, what mark will you give a GOOD whisky like Bladnoch, or a good batch of A'BUNADH?

Haven't tried them yet and am relatively new to the world of scotch. The blue label was amazing though, especially compared to the other Johnnie Walker's I've tried. I agree that the black is also very good and in light of the cost difference is probably the better deal. The blue is still better though.

@Onibubba

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!!!

RE: the title. I was going to make reference to the joke Robert Duvall's character tells Sean Penn in the movie Colors, but decided it might be offensive to some.

Also, forgot to throw the Green Label into the mix: Better than the Gold, not as cloyingly sweet. Quite some burn compared the the Blue though, and nowhere near as smooth. But it seems more complex, and more substantial. The finish of the Green is the best of the bunch. This is obviously the best value of the old range, and arguably, the best tasting.

Yes, Johnnie Walker Blue Label would make a great $ 60 to $ 80 bottle. In the meantime I only drink it when offered by others.

@T4sho3

This is my first review so lets see how it goes. This bottle of Johnnie Walker Blue Label was given to me as a gift from my mother in 2010 for my 25th birthday. Each year, on my birthday, I enjoy a dram. So yesterday looking at my 3/4 full bottle, I decided to have a dram just so I could review the Blue. On the nose there is floral perfume with hints of soft smoke, cherries, honey and roses emerge. Absolutely gorgeous. This nose reminds me of a Monet painting, beautiful and rare. I also detected nutmeg and caramel in the background, old, complex and rich with malt characteristics. Digging deeper there is old oak hidden but presents itself. There’s a lot going on here. The taste is fresh, smoked roses, rose petals, peppery spices, old sherry cask, honey, almonds, rich floral, malty and divine. The finish leaves the mouth dry and desiring more. This is very similar to the Highland Park 18yo finish, its dry then mouth watering, but very mellow. It’s pleasant but short. It’s smooth but lacking. Final thoughts: It’s good, I buy the Blue Label every now and then, but the price and the finish are what ruin this blend for me. I would prefer, for the same price, the Balvenie 21yo Portwood. As I sip the Blue Label which has lasted 3 years and counting, I don’t see the need to purchase another for a long while. This dram reminds me of a beautiful day where everything goes just right, but as the days pass is soon forgotten.

@SquidgyAsh

Recently I got together with a very good friend of mine, in fact the one who purchased me my first bottle of Johnnie Walker Green Label. Every couple of months or so we try to meet up for dinner and a movie.

However my friend had recently become hooked on a couple of new restaurants. See my friend is this awesome foodie. He knows the good restaurants, he knows the bad ones and he knows what to order at the good ones.

Over the course of us hanging out he started talking about these new restaurants, which made me perk up my ears and do a double take.

Why you might ask?

It's also the home of two new whisky bars that I'd seen Graham from the Odd Whisky Co on Facebook mention as being excellent whisky bars.

We both did double takes when we realized that his restaurants and my bars were one and the same. He extracted a promise out of me.

That I wouldn't go to them without him first. He wanted to show me around and especially since he knew most of the workers at both restaurants, wanted to introduce me to them.

Totally cool!

A couple of weeks go by and we both have time to head out for a dinner and drinks. So I meet up with him in the city after work and we head over to the first whisky bar.

The Lafayette.

A nice looking bar, I'm eager to take a look at their whisky menu and to see what I can see.

A nice little selection, 99% which I've already had, fairly reasonable prices on most of the whiskies, not much is jumping out at me as a must try, until I hit the blends.

Johnnie Walker Blue, supposedly the pinnacle of whisky according to most non whisky geeks.

Runs $200 a bottle and in my experience is the most often referenced whisky in movies and tv shows for when you're trying to show off that your drinking the good stuff.

An example of this would be a little while ago on Burn Notice when Michael, Jessie and the gang are after a bad guy, a drug dealer if I recall, and Jessie drinks the bad guy's whisky in order to slip him something. Jessie apologizes and offers to buy a whisky, what's he having? Jack and coke? To which the drug dealer replies that he's drinking $100 dollar shots of Johnnie Walker Blue Label.

Anyway you never see it for purchase by the dram, or if you do it's like $50+, which I'm sorry, but that price point is reserved for SPECIAL whiskies, from distilleries that are long closed or for whiskies older then my father.

It's going for $35 a dram here. I'll take one please.

Pale liquid and to be honest I have no idea what I'm walking into.

Let's start with a nose.

Lovely little nose that is fairly complex, vanilla, hints of smoke, brown sugars, salt, pears, white pepper, little earthy at times, honey, funky sour apples, little floral at times, cinnamon.

Interesting and by far the most complex nose I've ever encountered on a blend.

Maybe this whisky will be worth $200! Time to give it a taste as that's the only way I'll find out!

Smooth, very very smooth. Floral with honey, some fruit, pears and a hint of apples, some salt and pepper, hints of peat smoke, some spices such as cinnamon, oak and underneath it all, something that feels a little bit...artificial.

However that smoothness hurts itself, there's nothing in there that really grabs your attention and says "hey look at me!"

A short finish that's floral and honestly a little harsh ends off this whisky.

I'm left unimpressed. If this were a beer I'd equate it with a decent lager or pilsner, something that is sessionable and that you might drink a 6 pack over the course of the evening if you didn't want to focus too much on what your drinking.

Now that's not a bad for a whisky to be. Most entry level single malts and bourbons are DESIGNED to be sessionable, something that you can have three or four drinks in a row.

HOWEVER if I'm drinking a $20 bottle of beer, it DAMN well better NOT be sessionable. It needs to grab my attention in a way that makes me put down everything that I'm doing and focus my attention on it. Same thing with a whisky. $50 dollar bottles are fine if the whisky doesn't hold your attention. However $200+ dollar bottles need to grab your attention and make you focus on the whisky.

Is Johnnie Walker Blue Label a bad whisky? No it's not. By no means is it a bad whisky, but it sure as heck isn't worth $200, I'd honestly pay $60 to $80 for a bottle of this caliber. If you're looking for a good blend/vatted whisky, grab yourself a bottle of their Green Label before it runs out. More bang for less buck then the Blue Label!

@Indynoir, my friend I couldn't agree more with you. I've seen so many reviews that just hammered on the Blue label, again and again, saying it was crappy, over rated, etc etc. Is it crappy? Definitely not! Is it overrated? In my opinion yes. It's a nice little whisky and like I said I think it's biggest flaw is that it's just a little too easy going for the price tag without any oomph behind it that I like to see in my whiskies, especially my more costly ones.

Johnnie Walker Blue sort of reminds me of quite a few of the Australian whiskies. My brother in law was visiting Limeburners, one of my favorite distilleries, and while there a few of the whiskies had his eye, specifically the cask strengths. Problem is that the cask strengths run from $350 to $500 a bottle. And so I received an sms from him that basically said that he'd love a bottle, but at that price he could be picking up a Stagg or a Handy from Buffalo Trace and still have money left over. Blue is the same way. Nice whisky but at the $200 to $250 that I've seen it sell for I can pick up some AWESOME whiskies and have money left over. It really makes me wish that they'd drop the price point on it. Even $120 I could understand, but just not $200.

You have written a fair review on a brand I believe many others struggle to do so, so nice work! Though I would have probably rated a bit higher. Over rated in popular culture but still a nice whisky is my consensus as well. And yes...the bashing of blue seems to be quite overdone at times and thus ironically under rated in other circles. I read another member who coined the phenomenon "reverse snobbery," which I thought summed it up quite well. I'm always perplexed when I see people give Green and Black ratings in the high 80's, and then give Blue a 75-80. There is something out of sorts going on there...not that I could never see someone enjoying one of those more than the blue, but I've sampled all three several times and it's hard for me to imagine Black consistently getting higher ratings than Blue, and yet it does more often than not among whisky forums, or on-line gurus. For me there is no comparison between Blue and Black. Black is nice, but it's far simpler than blue. Green however another story, but still interesting how it's so consistently rated much higher than the blue which I think holds its own to Green. Of course, on this site three reviews have blue at 32, 60, 70...while the lowest review for Black is 75. I would assume those crazy low marks for blue are distorting things quite a bit. So yes....my guess is the liquid in the bottle is not being reviewed with the same objectivity as other brands, but rather the liquid is being reviewed versus unrealistic expectations and annoyance related to the bravado of the brand image, and thus the head scratching marks. However, I must say $120 still sounds a bit steep for this bottle. I might purchase regularly if it was priced closer to Green, or at least Gold. I must confess I'm not a huge Blue fan despite how this may sound, it's simply there is some psychology with this brand I find fascinating.

@Rantavahti

It's been quite a long time since I tasted this so I don't remember it so well. As far as I can remember the taste, I think that these tasting notes by Dellnola seem to be summing it up very well: connosr.com/reviews/johnnie-walker/…

Johnnie Walker Blue Label is very overpriced. It is like Cutthroat Island by Finnish director Renny Harlin. A flop with high costs and expectations. I have to make clear that I had high hopes for the movie because I was 13 when it was made.

For the Blue Label I had high expectations because it cost very much and I was younger and didn't know much about whiskies when I first tasted it. I got a chance to taste it again few years ago and nowadays I realize it is just an ordinary blend with a big price tag.

Nose: Stingy with peppers and brown sugar.

Taste: Floral and malty sweet and like many blended grain whiskies, watery.

Finish: Sour and floral, harsh but kinda quick with no character.

Watery, floral, and over priced hype...I agree. Much like all of the J. Walker expressions. Overall, I'm not a fan and won't yield to "conventional wisdom" when it comes to Johnnie Walker- serve it to your guests: they will think you are the man and you can save the good stuff yourself

Going back to topic though. I know the Single malt fans here have a particular disdain for the johnnies, but I really don't think it deserves a 60. I mean its not 90s, maybe not even 80s, but 60...eh, I think thats a bit harsh. Only fair if you are ONLY comparing the top bottlings or if you're just rating its price:value.

@TheConscience

See my review of JW Gold for context. I purchased a JW set containing JW Red, Black, Gold, and Blue. Already a fan of JW Black, I was looking forward to sampling the other expressions.

Nose: very simple - honey, wood, malt, and spice.

Palate: initially, a luscious, silky mouth feel; sweet and spicy with honey, cinnamon, clove, and oak. Somewhat mild overall.

Finish: there is a faint, lingering sweetness that is hard to pin down among the tannic onslaught. What little flavour remains from the palate is swamped by oppressive, unending tannic spice.

Yet another disappointment. My experience with JW Blue did not conform to any expectation I had formed of this whisky. I wasn't expecting something mind blowing, but I was expecting certain common traits that seemed to be absent from this bottle. The predominant theme was tannic spice - everything else was an afterthought.

Perhaps this batch was over oaked, but my feeling is that I somehow acquired a dud set since the JW Gold was also disappointing. Perhaps they were stored incorrectly? The Red and Black seem to survive intact...as the Ontario Power Generation commercials say, it's "a mystery won't never be solved".

I am certainly willing to try JW Blue again, even if this bottling was a sad tannic mess.

@Volks

The high end of Johnnie Walker's range, not to the extremities of the King George but blue label isn't cheap around 250AUD. If you are having a dram courtesy of your brother in law however, cost is not really a factor.

  • Nose: Complex, busy, maritime notes, brine, smoke, peat also butterscotch, honeyed toast fruit and some woody aromas. With water brine and peat come through more.

  • Pallet: starts sweet as fruity, butterscotch really coming through at the front. Malty, woody and spicy notes some through next and some peat lingering around behind the scenes . With water maritime notes come through again, peat is more prominent but the experience is still very balanced

  • Finish: stays sweet and spicy, nice interplay between sweet and savoury. With water lighter, fruitier, a real date note in the finish.

  • Mark – neat 8.4, with water 8.4

This is good whisky, the balance and range of flavours is very good, and i would say that it is a whisky that is comparable to single malts in its complexity, but that price tag is very hard to get over even if your not paying for it. I'll take a dram off a friend but i don't think its worth the 250.

Agreed. Ludicrous to spend so much for a blend that scores ~82. Don't tell that to your brother-in-law....Keep enjoying the prestige of drinking JW Blue (on his nickel)

haha, excellent plan. He can do his blue collar work ill drink his blue label whisky

@WhiskyBee

Last fall, while perusing the contents of the locked glass cases at Binny’s, I casually remarked to my wife, “Maybe someday,” in reference to Johnnie Walker Blue Label. In my mind, my comment meant, “Maybe someday, after I have every other whisky I could possibly want in my cabinet.” To my wife, I was expressing a great longing.

So imagine my surprise when I got an early Christmas gift of Johnnie Blue a few weeks ago. I almost wanted to say, “Aw, honey, that’s great…now let’s take it back to the store and exchange it for a couple of good single malts!” But of course I didn’t. It was a helluva thoughtful gift, even if my thoughts were an equal mix of “Wow, I’ve got a bottle of Blue!” and “This stuff isn’t really supposed to be that great.”

Has there ever been a more controversial whisky than JW Blue? Reviews of Blue tend to be more reactionary than analytical. Those who regard it as a so-so blend make disparaging comments about the price tag, whereas those who enjoy it make disparaging comments about those who place too much emphasis on the price tag. Some will say it’s a mere status purchase for well-to-do casual drinkers; others rave about its smoothness and subtle complexity.

I had no idea what to anticipate from such mixed messages, which was fine with me. I could approach JW Blue bias-free and decide for myself in which camp I belonged. What I didn’t anticipate was a chameleon whisky that exhibited such radical changes in a rather short amount of time.

This review is based on my third dram from a bottle opened slightly less than a month ago. (After this, it will be semi-retired to my “For Special Occasions” shelf.) Such a dramatic change from my first dram! I recall that my first nose-and-taste reminded me of my grandmother’s house, full of floral sachets and old furniture. The finish was like nothing I’d experienced: like a mouthful of flowers (or what I imagine a mouthful of flowers would taste like), with few traces of malt or peat or the sorts of flavors one expects from Scotch. Elegant and complex, to be sure – but I wasn’t certain that I’d ever warm to it. It was just too weirdly different for me to consider how over- or under-rated it may be.

I’ve learned from my third taste, however, that JW Blue really needs time to open up and reveal its true character. This is definitely not the whisky I tasted a month ago. On the upside, it’s every bit as smooth and smooth and silky as its champions would suggest. On the downside, it’s as quiet and underwhelming as its detractors would portend.

Getting down to specifics…

Nose: The floral notes are still present, but they’re now supporting players to a light, fluffy caramel and malt. Some very faint traces of peat and almonds. A decent and pleasant nose, but there’s nothing here that makes me want to stick the schnozz in my Glencairn for a very long time.

Palate: A great arrival of malty sweetness and peppery spice that soon develops into…well, not much. The longer it sits in my mouth, the blander it becomes. The finish is short but interesting, in that the sweet maltiness re-appears, followed by a bit of citrus and a touch of smoke and wood. It may be the most complex component of the entire experience, but it’s a pity that it’s over so soon.

Despite the disappointments, it’s hard not to like a whisky that’s so smooth and drinkable. My score ignores the price tag, in that I’d rate it the same if it were a $50 bottle. But my pragmatic nature desires more than an 88 from an expensive whisky. (The bottle sure is heavy, so maybe the extra-thick glass accounts for some of the cost. ;) )For about the same money, I’d suggest Black Bull 30 yo if you’re looking for a great blend (and I’m one who rarely uses “great” and “blend” in the same sentence).

I don’t yet know if Johnnie Blue will have more changes in store as it continues to open up. I’ll know better when I have my next dram – probably about the time of my birthday in June.

whiskeybee , you nailed it on the head. everything you said was true. I got a 1 litre bottle from a duty free last summer and couldn't wait to try it. Yes it smooth as silk and very very drinkable. the word subtle comes to mind as you said, yet the finish was sorely lacking if it was there at all. Once down the throat it became a memory just as fast. I can't really see what all the hubub is about, if not for that very mature smoothness it wouldn't really have a heck of a lot going on. I have to completely agree with your review and score of 88.I do not hesitate spending hundreds on a bottle and consuming it in a weekend being minful to save some for Lilyrose. But this is a very overated and overpriced dram. there is much better for less out there. kudos to you.

While I was working, a customer insisted that I had to have a glass of this. Offcourse I couldn't turn it down. Luckily he paid it for me so I could finally taste what people where talking about. I had more or less the same experience as described here. I thought it was very good for a blend, but not comparable to single malts half the price. Could be so much more if they would just leave out the grains and turn it into a 'vatted' or 'pure' malt. Especially since the green label is, or going to be discontinued.

@valuewhisky

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.

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.

@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 ;-)

@jurgenels7

What a wondeful experience

I was scared that the reputation that Johnnie Walker Blue label has will raise my own expectations too high and that I will be disappointed.

I am very glad to say however that this was not the case at all and that all my expectations have all been met and this is keeping in mind that I had some very high expectations too begin with.

I would not at all call this this the Holy Grail of whiskey, as some people I know would like to believe, I do however know that Blue label is an extremely enjoyable and easy to drink whisky. The nose is very rich and extremely balanced. Tasting it proved to be even more balanced and incredibly smooth; in fact I would like to emphasize just how smooth this is. It is however a taste that is a bit lacking in complicity, but then again I have never associated very smooth and very complex, it is however not dull or bland don’t get me wrong. Overall I adored this. It was wonderful, smooth, and creamy. It had some light citrus flavours at the back, with a nice and long finish.

I would recommend this to anyone and I am sure your expectations will be met. This whiskey is very easy to enjoy and to appreciate!

@voidwp2556

Vanilla and fig show on the bright nose of Johnnie Blue. The palate is very BRIGHT, with white chocolate, vanilla honey, pepper, cinnamon, and some peat smoke. There are some really interesting mint and clove flavors here.

The unfortunate factor here is of course price. A good store will have this around $185 (the distributors tend to drop the price maybe $15 in November and December, in NJ at least). I think this could really compete more seriously were it in the $90-120 range. Rumor has it that Lochnagar makes up a large portion of this blend.

T

First impressions of the box holding the bottle was very high quality with crisp edges, a quick check with the protractor however showed that the box was slightly out of kilter with a 90.03 degree angle on the front left corner, lurching all the way to a 90.09 angle on the back left corner. Poor.

I opened the box and removed the bottle. It appeared to be made of glass, with labels affixed front and back, and some kind of a lid. On closer inspection the glue appeared to be of good quality, however a quick sniff confirmed by fears - there was no mistaking the woody undertones with an overlying aroma of the essence of decaying cockroaches - [EDITED BY MODERATOR] epoxy resin.

At first glance the liquid inside appears to be a clear amber - this doesn't mean much to me - the water in my toilet bowl right now is a similar colour, and you wouldn't catch me drinking that! (well, not again anyway).

As I poured the whiskey into the snifter I noticed that the whiskey poured with an apparent viscosity about .14 times that of water, WTF??

The first taste was without added water.

As it first hit my tongue I perceived round and nutty taste, with elements of squareness.

As I swirled it round my mouth half a dozen times and gargled it for a few seconds I detected the distinct undertones of burnt hair from the anus of a grizzly bear, whale semen, and the distinctive stench of Bigfoots scrotum having been stuck to his leg for 2 days while engaging in intense physical activity.

As I further swirled this whiskey on my pallet I detected notes of turkish coffee [EDITED BY MODERATOR] and tobacco ash mixed with flat beer.

The final swallow made me think of the taste left in your mouth when you have just vomited while drunk on tequila [EDITED BY MODERATOR]. All-in-all a shit whiskey, but improves greatly with the addition of coke and a handful of ice.

Excellent first review! At first I thought I should go out and buy a bottle immediately, given how delicious you've made this sound. On second thought however, there was just something about the poor spelling and lack of (or incorrect use of) punctuation which left a bad taste in my mouth (pun intended). Most glaringly however was the obvious misspelling of "whisky" which leads me to believe that this fine specimen is an imitation bottling either from Ireland or the United States where whisky is spelled "whiskey". Shame. I don't think I'd be able to find this in the shops. And just when I had my Coca Cola and ice handy, too. The wonky box just seals the deal. I would not pay that much for a wonky box. You've been had, my friend, I'm sad to say.

Sorry for the spelling and punctuation - it may have been the nine tumblers of Johnnie Walker Blue and coke I had sunk in the space of 50 minutes. Or it could have been the shots of meths I was consuming as a "chaser". I imagine though that my "review" will be removed soon anyway...

@MaltActivist

Very nice blend though I'm never sure what I'm expected to taste. It seems like all the individual malts used in making this blend were awesome but some how together they don't do any thing spectacular. For such a premium brand the results should have been nothing short of spectacular. Toffee, vanilla and maple are strong flavors and there's an oaky residue somewhere in the back. It's nice just not amazing.

@Devo

I received this bottle as a gift from my best friend (note: the "best" was there before the gift). Because of this, I think it'll be easier for me to review this whisky on quality alone, without factoring in the hefty price tag. Having said that, I understand the substantial amount of criticism out there about this whisky when taking the price into account.

Nose: Quite subtle. Floral sherry, juniper, butterscotch, pear, caramel apple. Honey and heather notes come out as it warms up. Takes a while to open up and reveal the sweet notes... early on the floral notes dominate.

Taste: Smooth and slow to develop. Honey, creamy Sonny Boy cereal (hopefully some Canadians out there get this reference), stewed apples and figs. Vanilla oak spice emerges and the mouth-feel gets dry.

Finish: Medium to short in length and a bit dusty. Dry grass, saltines and pepper. Little bit of smoke and flashes of... licorice rubber? Weak, honeyed tea and arrowroot biscuit at the end.

Summary: I understand why this whisky appeals to those who maybe aren't as avid and passionate explorers in the world of whisky aficionados. Along with the coffin-like packaging, it has a regal smoothness and balance that isn't challenging or particularly off-putting to particular tastes. Having a bottle on your shelf makes you feel like a bit of a hot shot... especially to the less discerning whisky drinker. From what I've read from critics this lack of character seems to be aficionados most common criticism. It's too... beige. In my experience, I put this whisky into a category with Dalwhinnie. Mostly forgettable but pleasant nonetheless.

@Mahlzahn

I read and heard a lot of bad things about this dram and was very sceptical when my 10cl sample arrived today , because of various reasons. First of all: the price! 125€ compared to 50€ for the very good JW Gold are quite a big jump and I've wondered if it was justified at all. But as it turned out, JW Blue proved me wrong. Big time!

Nose: At first sight, it is so round that it is almost boring...but then I took some time to discover the different aromas and the dram started to develop. Very smooth and round with hints of smoke and sherry. Then dark fruits, a subtle sweeetness embedded in oak, indicating that this one is quite old! Harmonic but complex whilst being very well-balanced with a lot to discover. (24)

Taste: Very smooth, silky and a little oily with a wonderful harmony of smoke, spice, oak and subtle sweetness reminding me a little of dark chocolate. This one is soo smooth and silky that you could keep it in your mouth tasting for ages! Impressive! (24)

Finish: A little salt and seagrass together with lots of oak and a hint of smoke. But still silky smooth and no bitter grain finish at all like the JW Gold has it. (24)

Balance: What can I say...this is in my opinion one of the best balanced drams I've had so far. A very elegant blend from start to finish with a lot to discover and simply great! (25)

It looks like JW combined my favorite aromas and flavors and combined it in one single incredibly round and smooth dram. Problem is: the price! I hate myself for my expensive taste ^^ But this one really hit a nerve here.

After having tried it more than once now, I have edited the score a little. I graded it down 2 points, because 97 seemed overall a little too high in the end. Nonetheless, I love the JW Blue and 95 is still a very good and well deserved score.

@Dellnola

Nose: Brown sugar, chocolate chip cookies, hints of smoke, caramel popcorn, white pepper, pears. I can definitely detect that coastal Talisker note that I love.

Taste: Buttery and round. Maybe too round. Malty sweetness, floral honey. Almost a bit Lowland in nature. Very restrained.

Finish: Sweet, floral, oak, and a hint of peat.

First off, some of you might notice that this is 43%. I got this from a cruise and found that odd. I guess it's a travel thing. Anyway, this is what many people call a "smooth" whisky, which is dead on. The problem with this "smoothness" is that it creates a whisky that lacks a distinctive flavor and has a very weak delivery. It's kind of like light beer. It slides down the throat with you barely noticing it, like water. Personally, for the price, I'd like to notice the flavor.

I love your review and I agree 100% regarding the smoothness and the lack of distinctivness of this blend. I think however that the distinctive Talisker note is much more present in the Black and the Green, which I both consider superior to the Blue.

As nice as this is... it's way way over priced considering we have Talisker 18 yo and Springbank 18yo in the market and at least half the price and kick this JW into the very long grass...

@bbb63

I have had the JW Blue a few times before including the very week it first appeared on American shores where I "traded" an Opus X for a double shot of the just arrived Blue Label at the local high end tavern. I am reviewing this both uncut/neat and will add a few comments when splashed with some water.

The color hue is slightly darker than most JW blends but still gold.

Aroma: The nose first detects a mild peaty smoke and vanilla barrel along with heather, wild flowers, honey, walnuts, cotton candy and an earthy mineral quality. If you open the nose more with some water you can find a hint of Turkish pipe tobacco, leather and raw cacao but risk the loss of the fine mild charred barrel and peat.

Taste: Starts with a smooth mild peat, earthy wood, sea salt, herbal and honey character. Some nutty and marzipan tones are noticed but faint. A light sour apple and allspice tone adds to the profile. The thing is that JW Blue really lacks the forceful roundness and complexity found is single malts, no master blender skill can add what is not there in the spirits. Adding a touch of water really does little but to water down the already mild palate.

Finish: Short on flavors but long on warming when uncut. A tad minerally and tannic dry. Annoying smooth and forgettable when cut with H20.

Mouth feel: Smooth, very balanced and comfortable, like an old pair of shoes.

Overall: Served neat this is a quality dram that you can enjoy with a fine cigar or steak, but simply is a tad short on overall complexity. When (or if) you make the mistake of adding anything beyond just a few DROPS of water you may as well be drink a less expensive whisky, you ruined it. I took one for the team and this review. Final verdict... not worth what you payed for it.

I bought a bottle of this in 2008 coming from Brazil back to London and it cost me $70 compared to £170 in the UK. Is it worth it? good question... I kind of felt that something was missing as it never left me feeling satisfied, although a great blend, now I look back and think great marketing...... I'm grateful for finding this whisky as it opened doors to the world of single malts I enjoy today but I doubt if I would buy a bottle again now I've discovered the fabulous mortlach single malt which is the base for JWBL.... hope you can find this where you are.

I realy enjoy this drop, but worth what you pay... I tend to look at it in the context of "what else could I buy for the same money' (incidentaly this is the thought process that made me abandon persuing membership of the SMWS in Australia). Blue label is gorgeous, but for the $170 - $220 that is costs normaly, I can buy 2 - 3 realy good single malts that I haven't already tried. Looked at from that point of view, I am unlikely to throw my dollars at another bottle of it.

@jwise

In just a moment, I will have tasted all five of the core labels from Johnnie Walker: Red, Black, Green, Gold & Blue. I received this sample from Master of Malt, as part of their Drinks By The Dram program. I look forward to finally getting to taste this whisky, as it has heretofore been elusive to me (not wanting to spend nearly $200 on a bottle of blended whisky).

The Blue Label is bottled at 40% ABV.

Nose: Very complex nose! It has traces of nearly all the major profiles: smoke, vanilla, sherry, sea air, honey, and probably a lot more I can't quite disect. After tasting, the nose becomes more fruity. Berry fruits, sliced up on a platter, but in a smokey room. Very nice...

Body: A bit watery. Actually, it is very watery.

Palate: Delicious sherry smoke, with enough salt-n-pepper to tantalize the senses. A touch sour in the mouth.

Finish: The sour in the mouth turns into a light floral aroma. There is a very subtle peppery note. Medium-long finish.

This is a very subtle whisky, with all of its flavors pretty subdued. Frankly, I think the Green label is a nice, strong whisky, full of flavor and delicious. The Gold label is a subdued and refined version of the Green, and this Blue label is just an even more refined and subdued version of the Gold. If you like a whisky that is very refined, but full of incredibly balanced flavors, this is the whisky for you! I, however, am very glad to know that the Green label costs a quarter of what the Blue label does, and is more robust and flavorful. However, this whisky is immensely drinkable, offering so much at a very approachable level.

I found this an interesting one. It seems to suffer from a kind of reverse snobbery a lot of the time. A lot of review call it over rated, but I was extremely impressed by this. Enough going on to take your time over, but mellow enough to be very drinkable, possibly to drinkable! One of the few scotches that I will drink more than one of at a sitting.

Ultra smooth, extremely refined, and beautiful! This Johnnie Walker Blue Label exceeded my expectations during my first-ever 2 1/2 oz dram of it yesterday.

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