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Johnnie Walker White Walker

Brace Yourself. Johnny is Coming.

3 1160

@talexanderReview by @talexander

2nd Dec 2018

1

  • Nose
    15
  • Taste
    17
  • Finish
    13
  • Balance
    15
  • Overall
    60

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

I must confess, I've only seen one episode of Game of Thrones in my life (the first one). I liked it a lot, but I just haven't had time to bother catching up. But knowing the huge cultural impact the show has had, I was intrigued to hear that Diageo was doing a large cross-promotion as the show nears its final season. Not only have they created this "White Walker" but they are doing versions of their core single malts, branded with different GoT stuff (I don't watch the show so I'm not going to pretend to know what I'm talking about, but apparently White Walkers are nasty bad guys). I don't know if the single malts are coming to the LCBO but this blended scotch has.

The White Walker has a slightly higher ABV (41.7%) and has more emphasis on Cardhu and Clynelish then the usual Johnnies. They say it is best enjoyed neat but straight from the freezer...but is that true, or that just marketing? We'll find out.... Oh, and the bottle is gorgeous with an icy pattern that is rough to the touch, with the Striding Man wearing some GoT-style armour, and if you keep it in the freezer long enough you get blue streaks and the words "Winter Is Here" show up on the bottle. Cute gimmick. Let's see if it transcends the gimmick; we'll put it side-by-side with Johnnie Black, and also try it straight from the freezer.

The colour is a pale gold, with very oily legs in the glass. Quite shy on the nose with rosemary, kumquat, raspberry and mealy overripe apple. Toffee and vanilla extract. This noses very young, closer to Johnnie Red than to Black (and you really get the Cardhu, which I'm not crazy about). Not much oak, unfortunately, and water just creates some astringency. Quite thin and nondescript.

Not much going on with the palate - it's very herbal with hints of vanilla, toffee, light honey and that weird overripe apple. A bit of indeterminate spice, maybe some cayenne? Water adds some more spice and oiliness. A bit more interesting than the nose, but not much.

The finish is almost non-existent! How is that possible? OK maybe a slight hint of pine and spice is left in the mouth....but it's quite short. Well, this is a huge disappointment, but I guess I shouldn't be surprised to see Diageo mask low-quality spirt with clever marketing. There is no comparison to my beloved Johnnie Black, which is much darker, richer, meatier and remains a top world-class whisky. Straight from the freezer in a frozen tumbler, it's easier to drink but those young, astringent notes remain. I wouldn't serve this to my dragons. Unless you're a Game of Thrones completist, keep your distance.

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11 comments

@Nozinan
Nozinan commented

@markjedi seems to have come to the same conclusion as you in his whisky rambling.

Maybe, just maybe, I’ll let this one go.

10 days ago 1Who liked this?

@paddockjudge
paddockjudge commented

Wow!! This whisky is in the bottom 0.2% of more than 500 whiskies reviewed by @talexander.

10 days ago 1Who liked this?

@Victor
Victor commented

Fore-warned! Bad enough sounding to make me a little curious, but I can probably resist...a sip, of course, not a bottle.

10 days ago 0

@talexander
talexander commented

@Victor If you're curious, try from someone else's bottle (maybe I'll save you some!) or try at a bar...or perhaps a favoured retailer will let you sample...but by God do not purchase.

9 days ago 1Who liked this?

@talexander
talexander commented

@Nozinan I can't find his review...or did he just bitch about it somewhere?

9 days ago 0

@Victor
Victor commented

@talexander, oh yeah, definitely in the category of "I am very curious to taste it, but I don't want to spend any money on it."

9 days ago 1Who liked this?

@nooch
nooch commented

Shocking that they didn’t try to make it just good enough that the branding would pay off. Why not tweak JW Black or Gold (which they recommend putting on ice before serving) and sell that? Then the word of mouth would kick sales right up. As it is, some bottles will sit and sit I would guess. I’m actually a little disappointed that I didn’t pick up the higher ABV Blade Runner edition of Black. This could have given people a second chance to pick that up or a 48% bottle of gold, which would have at least some appeal.

9 days ago 0

@Nozinan
Nozinan commented

@talexander look up his mark whisky ramblings page. Sometime in the last month or so, I think.

9 days ago 0

@BlueNote
BlueNote commented

Sounds like this one could knock of JW Red for the title of World Drain Cleaner of the Year. Next up a head to head with Lambertus?

5 days ago 0

@Nozinan
Nozinan commented

@BlueNote I get the impression this is more a lack of flavour than a polymicrobial mess, so Lambertus is not in danger.

As for drain cleaner, it would fail there too. To sanitize it has to have 60% alcohol...

5 days ago 1Who liked this?

@MadSingleMalt
MadSingleMalt commented

This was the worst whisky I'd tasted since Leviathan III darkened my door back around 2014.

3 days ago 0

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