Today happens to be my father's 74th birthday, but I don't know why I'm honouring that with this bottle. My dad is not a scotch guy; he loves Canadian whisky and bourbon, but has never taken to scotch at all (believe me, I tried....and so did he...) But this bottle has been staring at me for about a month or so, so I thought I'd better write it up.
Actually, it's been staring at me for many years: just when Diageo discontinued the bottling, I snapped one up and buried it in my basement, thinking that one day it might increase in value. Alas, it has been released again (so no appreciation of value is likely to happen) but instead of opening that one, I just bought another bottle. I figure I can hang onto the first bottle for a few more years yet.
Johnny Walker Green is a 15 year old blended malt. Diageo helpfully (for once) lists the component malts on the back: Talisker, Caol Ila, Linkwood and Cragganmore. Makes me want to try blending my own...
The colour is a pale gold. Extremely malty on the nose, with Granny Smith, lemon meringue pie, toasted oak, mint and papaya. Lots of vanilla and toffee as well; I presume these are mostly bourbon casks. Both briny and peppery, with some fresh sea air. A wee drop of water brings out more malt, peat and brine. Crisp and complex.
On the palate more vanilla is brought upfront, with some nice peat and some savoury spices. Here we get more of the sherry casks than we did from the nose. Dark chocolate, tobacco and more green apple. Biscuity. Water brings out sultanas and dark honey, with a bit more spice. Delicious - this is what great scotch is all about.
The finish is a bit oaky, with more salt-and-pepper, cayenne and a hint of lime. It is extremely hard to find much to fault with this. Among my circle of friends, it's the one Johnny Walker product they seem to absolutely love, and I don't blame them. It's complex, easy to drink and has just the right balance between sweet, spice and smoke. Jim Murray scores this a big 95; this also won the World Whisky Award this year for World's Best Blended Malt.