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Johnnie Walker Swing

Swinging for the…

5 084

@NozinanReview by @Nozinan

25th Jul 2023


Johnnie Walker Swing
  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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Distribution of ratings for this: user

  • Brand: Johnnie Walker
  • ABV: 40%
  • Batch: L2310DN000 05198253

In 2013 I was just 2 years into my whisky journey and still in the process of gathering as many different bottles as I could with the mistaken belief that I would at some point get around to opening and tasting them. Oh how naive I was then. I was in New York for the 25th anniversary celebration of a group of which I am an alumnus. I remember this well because I was a member of the alumni board and we went on a retreat after the reunion, and that was the first time I had ever tasted a bourbon (Basil Hayden).

On the way back from the reunion, I flew from Newark airport back to Toronto. Suffice it to say, I learned that (at least 10 years ago) Newark airport does not have an impressive duty free selection. I was challenged to find something that I could not get in Canada, or even anything I might even want. But then I saw this. I had heard about this, probably from Ralfy, but never seen it for sale. I had received an older bottling of it (possibly from the 1980s) from my father in law but had not opened. it. So I decided to get one. The plan was to open it head to head with the older bottling. Suffice it to say it never happened.

At a recent epic tasting, one of the bottle themes was the dead bottle - bought to open but never unsealed. I picked this one and we all got to try it. We even used my recently acquired smoking kit to smoke a sample of it (not reviewed here).

Swing was bottled for the luxury ocean liners of old. The design of the bottle was such that it would rock back and forth with the motion of the ship, always staying upright. It is said (likely by me only) that the inventor of Weebles was inspired during a night of bored imbibing on a cross-Atlantic journey…but I digress. This is a typical NAS JW blend, bottled at the minimum 40% (though interestingly the ABV is not indicated on the box - it IS on the bottle). It was gassed after I opened it on May 20, 2023, and was poured only one other time (June 9) before tonight, and also gassed. The bottle is about 80% full.

This expression is reviewed in my usual manner in a Glencairn, allowing it to settle after which I take my nosing and tasting notes, followed by the addition of a few drops of water, waiting, then nosing and tasting.

Nose: 21.5/25

Sweet, fruity. Green apple. Some baking spices. Very clean. Not too complex. Pleasant nose. Water softens the nose and make it a bit more floral. (20.5/25)

Taste: 20.5/25

Thin mouthfeel. Spicy. Fruity in the background. Slightly grainy. Pleasant but not complex. Water washes out the flavours and makes it bitter. (19.5/25)

Finish: 21/25

Short, sweet. More bitter with water. (20/25)

Balance: 21/25

The nose and the palate complement each other. Nothing extraordinary and no flaws. The bitterness is too prominent with water. (20/25)

Score: Neat - 84 /100 With Water: 80 /100

Not surprisingly, at a starting ABV of 40%, this one does not take water very well.

This is not a bad whisky, but it is a fairly ordinary blend and not particularly memorable. I would accept it if offered neat, and even if I didn’t have 1.8 bottles of this I probably would not buy another.