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Johnnie Walker Gold Label 18 Year Old

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@T4sho3Review by @T4sho3

28th Apr 2013

0

  • Nose
    23
  • Taste
    22
  • Finish
    22
  • Balance
    23
  • Overall
    90

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

This is the bottle that introduced me to the world of whiskies, I remember reading posts and reviews that Johnnie Walker is the biggest selling whisky distributer in the world and I figured lets go big to begin with…….remember I had no idea what I was doing hence an 18 year old whisky to start my palate with. After roughly 5 years of finding my palate and appreciation for whisky here is my review

On the nose there is honey, butterscotch candy, an old sherry cask note, a faint floral….think white rose petals….this note is in Blue Label as well, beautiful smoke with hints of peat, the nose has a decent complexity with some depth, banana bread, malty almonds, toffee and soft cinnamon spices

The taste has more pronounced butterscotch and honey suckle, smoke becomes sweet, malted cereal, more floral with spicy tangerine, there is a note of orange peel before the finish

The finish is medium length, smooth and syrupy, smoke filled peat, a few sips in and the smoke becomes sweeter………imagine citrus hookah smoke lingering in the mouth, lovely!

Final thoughts are that I wish this wasn’t being replaced by Gold Label Reserve and 18 year old Platinum. I would have loved to see this expression as a cask strength or at least 46%. Still a marvelous blend. Out of the initial Johnnie Walker range, quality for price, this excels. This whisky is amazing, I feel sorry for people who knock the name and shun the brand……more for me!

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8 comments

indynoir commented

Gold Label is a very nice scotch not far behind the Blue Label in my opinion. Springbank is my favorite distillery but I find this brand about as interesting as any partly due to the torrid hate, especially the Blue Label. I keep asking myself is there something I'm missing, is my pallet not developed, are the beautiful bottles and fancy marketing having an effect on my experience. I thought maybe if I started with some great single malts before Blue and Gold I will finally understand how unremarkable these whiskies are. Thus, a few days ago I started with a very nice Glengoyne 17 (91 Ralfy rating), Cragganmore (87 Ralfy rating), Old Pulteney 17 (91 Ralfy rating). Fully expecting a huge let down after tasting some nice malts...I surprisingly found the Blue Label (82 Ralfy rating) just as enjoyable...not necessarily any more enjoyable but it surely held it's own...certainly not 10 ponts lower. The arrival and pallet were probably better or as good than any of the above, amazing mouth feel, but the finish does get clipped which is disappointing initially. However, if you wait about 5-10 seconds Blue Label actually begins to come back similar to Highland Parks in that your mouth starts watering again with gentle smoke, vanilla, and chocolate flavors simmering that I could still taste after two minutes. Strange experience with the finish but in the end hard for me to use the finish to characterize an overall experience as terrible or at least an extremely average whisky that I so often read. I then followed up the Blue Label with Chivas 12 which Ralfy actually rates higher than the Blue Label (along with Teachers), and it was like going from the NFL to Pop Warner. Not a pleasant mouthfeel, a little harsh on the pallet, and too hot going down for me. Though I must say it was still enjoyable. However, the premium quality which was apparent in whisky after whisky that I had tasted suddenly was not there. So it just has me scratching my head how an experienced whisky drinker rates Chivas 12 and Teachers over Blue Label. Obviously there is no right opinion and everyones experience and ratings are just there own opinions, but my experiences with this brand versus it's common perception, as Ralfy is far from the only one I see rating Blue Label this way leaves me continuing to think this expression is highly under rated (cost not a factor) due to some psychological dynamics (bravado, marketing expectations that can't be met, poor price/quality ratio) that make it easy and maybe even popular to bash this brand...again especially the Blue Label as I do hear many positive raves about the Green Label...so maybe not so much the brand but there expensive bottlings. So I'm with you...let them hate...more Gold and Blue label for us.

7 years ago 0

@T4sho3
T4sho3 commented

Indynoir- I couldn't agree more, I have had tons of different single malts and have watched Ralfy since hisfirst episode and my opinion is that he dislikes big brand names and favors the independent bottlers. Well the big brand names didn't get that way because their whisky was poor, they got that way because of consistency. I have noticed with many single malts that the consistency can definitely change per batch and its very disappointing to put in $100+ for a bottle and get a lemon. Johnnie Walkers higher priced bottles ie Gold and Blue label do hurt the bank but are consistent and I as a consumer look for that in a product whether it be whisky or anything else in life. Honestly, "not trying to brag" I have several bottles of the Johnnie Walker King George V and when I opened one about 4 years ago, that "was/is" the best whisky I have ever had, its so good that I now have to purchase 30+year old bottles to try to come close to the complex multi layered piece of heaven and let me say I have not found anything remotely close........ok I'm done preaching, like we said before ....more for us. Side note-----I think its brilliant that Diageo owns so many companies and has the ability to construct magnificent consistant blends, in my own opinion blends take more creativity than single malts, its taking single malts to the next level

7 years ago 0

indynoir commented

I have no doubt Ralfy's review of Johnnie Walker Blue has to be somewhat disingenuous and biased for possible reasons as you site. Check him out when he first puts it in his mouth...his facial expression is akin to someone who just took a drink of Sour Pucker...it's quite hilarious. He then describes the whisky with wonderful terms such a "chemical...something sharp in the back ground, vinegar, etc...."

Some day I will have to try that King George V. I'm sure it's wonderful!! Flaming Heart 4th Edition (blended malt) is one of my favorite whisky's right now, and it sure makes sense how blending could enhance the experience, especially after drinking one done right. My opinion seems to be in the end there just different and both enjoyable depending on ones mood, but the banter actually makes for some interesting discussions, so not surpisingly the below article is part of what got me intrigued in scotch. (The whole single malt versus blends thing):

constitutionaldaily.com/index.php/…

7 years ago 0

indynoir commented

Forgot to mention that is actually a very good point about consistency. Though I have actually liked every single malt I've ever tried, I have noticed some batch variations when making it to a second bottle and it was definitely an initial disappointment when the first bottle was a little better. Some would say that is what makes the single malt experience interesting and that's true for me in some ways, especially considering I'm still early in this journey almost looking for a variety of experience and nuance, but I can also see the desire for wanting something to be consistent when your spending a lot of money and you know exactly what you like. I sense as my journey progresses I may come to that place. Anyway, I'm glad you have found that bottle for yourself.

7 years ago 0

patchman56 commented

I think gold label is better than the blue-- the blue is mellowed out to non flavor still prefer king George--- patchman the nonexpert going against the flow

7 years ago 0

patchman56 commented

One more comment amrut fusion an Indian scotch(it deserves to be called a scotch) is better than any johnnie

7 years ago 0

patchman56 commented

T4-sho3 try amrut fusion at 60.00 a bottle it blows the doors off of king George

7 years ago 0

@T4sho3
T4sho3 commented

@patchman56 I will definitely be picking that one up.......I see you have the King George V as well, any reviews to come? Going to open mine up after I take a few teaching state tests.....very excited!

7 years ago 0

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