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Johnnie Walker Gold Label 18 Year Old

This one started my quest

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@MisterDiggerReview by @MisterDigger

24th Jul 2013

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    82

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Well actually, a free sample of JW Blue Label whereby the finish lingered for about five miles later was the one that started my quest. Not willing to pay $200 US for Blue Label, I paid $90 US Gold Label 18 Year Old. Having pretty much hated scotch from having too many bad blends in my younger days, my first impression of this was WOW. Slightly floral, lots of flavors too complex to describe, and with just barely enough smoky taste to let you know it is scotch.

Then I found this wonderful website. Then I went on a one month tasting and purchasing quest that led me to 37 candidates counting this one. That is when I realized what the label says, which means that this is basically watered down Clynelish 14 with less floral flavor and more smoke. However, Clynelish 14 runs about $40 less. Will I buy either one again? Not quite. By the way, adding water to a Glenmorangie 10 Year Old Original to bring in down to 40% ABV almost duplicates JW Gold!!! Hmmm!! Bye Bye Blends!

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4 comments

@Nozinan
Nozinan commented

Interesting reverse psychology....you eschew blends , yet you try to emulate them by altering single malts.

Everyone drinks the way the see fit, and if this is what you enjoy then I have no problems, but:

JW black is so close to Blue in taste, why pay more?

I like my single malts to taste like single malts. I like the richness and complexity. I don't particularly go for blends. The exception would be a blended (I can say "vatted" because in Canada we have freedom of expression) malt which retains or adds complexity because it's still 100% malted barley in origin.

I took a few uninteresting malts and vatted them myself ( in a glass bottle). The result was much greater than the sum of the parts

8 years ago 0

@MisterDigger
MisterDigger commented

I now realize that the grain neutral spirits in scotch blends is what makes many of us sick from drinking too much. This does not happen with single malts. For this reason, I will never go back to blends except maybe Chivas Regal 18. Then again, there are better tasting and cheaper single malts. Blends are for lowering retail prices and increasing profits. However, finding a really good blend is even more of a challenge than finding a good single malt.

As for altering, yes I thought it would be borderline sacreligous to admit to something like that, but what about jazzing up for example a budget Auchentoshan Classic with a few drops of Ardbeg 10. Both are at opposite ends of the smoke taste. Yes, this in turn makes it a blend of single malts, but with no cheap and sickening grain neutral spirits added. However, by scotch law, all blends must contain grain neutral spirits, which sucks.

8 years ago 0

@Nozinan
Nozinan commented

No , blends do not HAVE to have neutral grain spirit. Actually they cannot.

Any spirit in a blend has to be aged at least 3 years to be scotch, so there is influence from the wood....not neutral.

Also, vatted malts (there, I said it again...come after me SWA) now known as blended malts have 100% malt Whisky, but the malts come from different distilleries.

Compare Peat Monster to JW double black...you'll see the difference

8 years ago 0

@MisterDigger
MisterDigger commented

Thanks for the clarification on grain spirits in blends. From what I have read about JW Double Black, I would probably hate it.

8 years ago 0

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