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Johnnie Walker Swing

Average score from 5 reviews and 10 ratings 83

Johnnie Walker Swing

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@huineman
Johnnie Walker Swing

This is an old tasting in two different ways: first, it took place in 2016 (Sep. 1, to be extra precise) and the bottle being opened was from the 1960s, so take that into account if your tasting is not the same as mine (then again, we might differ for other reasons.) So, Johnnie Walker Swing: it pours intense amber to orange with the trademark greenish strikes that I always find when beholding any Johnnie in direct light, from Red to Blue (not King George V, but that's no Johnnie, rather John.) In the nose it proves to be very sweety: vanilla, cinnamon, cookies, banana, marshmalllow... Even cocoa shake and hazelnut. Wow, kids' fantasy candy store. In the mouth it starts slightly sweet, in accordance with the nose, and not very boozy (but remember this is a 60s bottle.) Then it changes into a umami and somewhat salty sip, finishing very warm (not too long, though.)

Interesting review, this sounds like it had some rather pleasant features.

From my limited experience older blends are definitely more interesting than their modern counterparts.

Armagnac and Cognac makers often talk about the greenish cast older vintages or at least blends containing older components have. Wonder if that accounts for the phenomenon you mention?

I have 2 bottles of this locked away in my collection. One I bought in around 2014 at a DF in New Jersey. Th other was rescued from my father in law’s home when he had bypass surgery, then a stroke, and it temporarily made him want to give away all of his booze.that bottle was likely bottled in the 1970a. My BIL @nosebleed took home the Blue. Bottles at 43%. Possibly from then as well.

I think I would like to do a H2H with both bottles but then I will have 2 bottles of Swing open so I need a lot of friends over for that. And I hope I get to it before BOTH bottles have OBE...

@PMessinger

Mild sweet fast arrival develops a steady malt and herbal ashy balanced fast finish.

@Nozinan Give it a try, remember like batch variation taste buds are different as well. Don't hesitate to give JW Swing a chance I did and was not impressed. You may find it enjoyable. My reviews are my own and as honest as I can make them. Thanks for your input, hope it goes well for you. (:

Ow! I was told the swing was one of the better ones in the JW stable.

I have 2 bottles, one I picked up at duty free a couple of years ago, and a much older looking one I found at my father in law's house.

I was hoping to do a H2H one of these days. Now I'm not so sure...

@hunggar

I have yet to understand why Swing is the overlooked bastard step-child of the Johnnie Walker range. It’s apparently not worthy of a colour-coded label, and has been reduced to being sold in a gimmicky swinging brandy bottle at travel retail outlets and specialty shops. So is it actually good, or does it deserve this cruel and unusual punishment? Well after the novelty of a pivoting bottle wears off (it takes about 3 seconds), we‘re actually left with quite a fine blend. I’ve come to enjoy this one a lot. The reviewed bottle is the “Swing Superior.” As far as I know it’s the same formula for the standard Swing bottling with an added 3% abv.

Nose: Malt, chocolate, coffee, toffee, apples, oranges, and sherry notes like raisins, spices and caramel. Roses? Yes, definitely a floral/rosey note in here. A pinch of salt. I could forget this was a blend; the grain notes are calm and well integrated. The grainy notes that are detectable work in this whisky’s favour by adding to the earthiness of the nose. When I first bought this I didn’t love it. But several weeks later it’s really opening up. Time in the bottle as well as time in the glass bring new dimensions to this blend.

Palate: A very gentle arrival with a good, medium-thick mouthfeel. Caramel at the fore, with soft waves of indistinct sherry flavours rolling in. Fruity and salty. Raisins, salt, caramel, rich malt, and some very inoffensive and gentle spices.

Finish: As the gentle spices begin to dry a smoky note comes in. It’s very subdued and understated, but at the same time it stays at the core of the finish. Several sherry notes return, and with them a gentle spicy tingle, all under a layer of that soft smoke. The sherry notes fade first, and we’re left with lingering smoke and salt throughout the medium finish.

Although you may have noticed the word “gentle” throughout this review, that doesn’t mean it’s not interesting. It’s as drinkable as many single malts, and I think it demonstrates JW’s ability to offer a range of products. It seems to be the most “Speysidey” Walker I’ve tried. It doesn’t have the striking personality of the Green 15 yo or the velvety texture of the Gold 18 yo, but it’s captured something different; a solid fruity character. Of course moderate smoke and maritime notes are in here too, but it’s the fruity sherry notes, indistinct as they may be, that carry this one. As one would expect with a JW release, it’s well structured with an inoffensive character; but why should that be a bad thing? Good balance, integration, and smoothness are also things to behold.

Personally speaking, though, I don’t love the bottle. I get that they’re alluding to a maritime tradition, but nobody’s drinking this on the high seas during a storm. This is a good product that can stand on its own two feet without the novelty container. I think this deserves a coloured label and a place in the core range, not a gimmicky pivoting bottle.

Found this a couple of years ago and really enjoyed it. I keep meaning to get another a some point, maybe when weather warms up, as I liked it as a poolside dram. It's definitely different from other JW blends, so that may be why it's overlooked. Ralfy finally reviewed it recently and gave it a good recommendation. He also said he seemed to note Cardu as a possible main constituent, but I like it better than regular Cardu. I'd like to know what they actually put in like they do at Compass Box. Rating of 85 seems about right!

My understanding is that this expression was originally produced for large ocean liners so it could rock back and forth with the waves. I'm sure it was a gimmick then, but the whole point of the swing is the rocking bottle.

@WhiskyBee

The story behind this blend is well-known, so here’s the two-sentence version for the sake of brevity and non-redundancy: The late Sir Alexander Walker II, grandson of John Walker, crafted the Swing blend in 1932 for the ostensible purpose of creating a “swinging” bottle that would be distinctive on ocean-liner bar shelves. It’s also the last blend that Sir Alex created, and the modern version is presumably as close to the original as available ingredients will allow.

JW Swing seems to be the ignored stepchild in the Walker range, perhaps because it’s not readily available in many parts of the world (although I’ve seldom encountered a Midwest liquor store in the U.S. without it). The precious few online reviews range from “meh” (L.A. Whisky Society) to raves (Ralfy), and Murray doesn’t even bother with it. So it was something of a take-a-chance purchase for me, in part because I’ve already bought everything else that interested me at the local store.

Nose: Malt, malt, and more malt. After it settles down a bit, I get…more malt. I’m not complaining – I like malt! Other sweet notes that arrive are in the soft and rich category: vanilla, honey, maple syrup, chocolate, and a hint of fresh-baked bread. Maybe a touch of cherries – not fresh off the tree, but tart and rich after having been baked in a pie. Underneath it all is a quiet earthy texture that doesn’t quite fit, even though I usually like quiet earthy textures. Some nice grasses and flowers, perhaps, but a little too much dirt. Nonetheless, it’s a solid, B-plus nose.

Palate: Guess what? Malt! Also more smokiness than the nose would suggest, along with some rich dark brown sugar and more warm pie cherries. There’s also cinnamon and spices, sharp and prickly, yet well-integrated into the smoothness. Rich and robust, this is a grand old gentleman of a blend. Reminds me a bit of the Black Label with the intensity kicked up several notches. It never loses its bite or richness no matter how long it sits on the tongue.

The finish is very good, but with a slight off touch. The fiery spices really emerge here, which is a good thing, but some bitter tea and too-weak coffee are rude intruders. It’s a back-and-forth finish, however, and all the good flavors (with malt!) dominate in the long run.

Overall, I’d say this is a JW that deserves greater popularity. Next to the Green Label, it’s my favorite of the Johnnies, and I’d choose it any day over the Blue Label (for less than ¼ the cost). I don’t know if it benefits with a few drops of water or not – I like it neat too much to experiment with Adam’s ale. It may have some slight problems, but I think it’s one of those blends that single-malt lovers will praise for its brazen boldness.

Excellent review! Now I'm dying to open mine. Looks like your two favourite JWs are the maltier ones!

I am quite fond of this myself as this video shows: youtube.com/watch/….

@michaelschout

This whisky comes in a cool bottle that is curved at the base so it has the ability to rock back and forth without tipping over. The name Swing is derived from this. I have never actually seen this whisky sold anywhere before, but my family has had a bottle for many years and because there isn't a review of it on Connosr, I think I'd write one while partaking in a dram.

Nose: Full of sherry and fruit sweetness. Nosing this whisky transports you to a warm spring day underneath a blossoming orange tree. There's a strong scent of orange blossom and dried apples and also a little hint of oak.

Palate: It's very light, fluid, and fruity. The sherry is subdued and more fruitiness comes out on the palate. I get the same fruit tastes as I smelled in the nose, but all are a bit more subdued. There's a faint smokiness. On first sip it seemed a little young and harsh, but I think that might have just been my mouth not being prepared because it was silky smooth for the second sip.

Finish: The finish is smoky and has a lot of oak. There is sherry just lingering in the back of your throat. It's a shorter finish and the spiciness that you have on the tip of your tongue once you swallow soon fades. It dries out the mouth a little.

Overall: I have no idea how old the scotches are that go into this blend but it is very smooth. It would be a very nice summer dram. It reminds me a lot of Johnnie Walker Green Label except instead of being earthy and malty, it's very light and fruity. I think that this is an exceptional blended whisky.

Quite a good blend for the price. Like mentioned, a nice spring and summer dram, so I'll probably pick up another in a few months. Currently working my way through the prates and heavily sherried ones at present,

Interesting whisky! You don't tend to see such decanters anymore—especially ones that arguably "hurt" the contents—but it can be a fun experience to try some of the earlier releases.

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