Thursday, February 15, 2007

Malt Mission 2007 #34

Johnnie Walker Green Label
Blended Malt Scotch Whisky
43% abv

Another from the famous Johnnie Walker dynasty.
The hierarchy of the Johhnie Walker family goes Red, Black, Green, Gold, Blue.
This malt mission began with Johnnie Walker Black Label and this week will see three others: Red yesterday, Green today... Which will be tasted tomorrow? oooooo....

So I explained the history of the company under the Red Label, and I am sure you can hear that tune, "one of these things is not like the other, one of these just doesnt belong..."
JW Green Label is a Blended Malt, or to be less confusing, I prefer the term VATTED malt making it NOT a 'blended whisky' like Grouse, or Teachers or JW Red. Ok, quickly...

Single Malt whiskies are 'single' cuz they are made from one particular grain(malted barley) and from one particular distillery (say, Springbank). They are made in copper pot stills.
Single Grain Whiskies are whiskies made from barley and/or maize, and/or wheat and made in big Column stills, Coffey Stills, or Continuous Stills.
Blended whiskies are made from one or more different single malts mixed together with one or more Grain whiskies.
Vatted Malt, Pure Malt or Blended Malt Whiskies are made from one or more different single malts vatted/blended together.

This whisky contains about 15 different single malts, but only four are mentioned on the package: Talisker, Linkwood, Cragganmore, Caol Ila.


Heavy, dense air about it, smells move from low to high, if you know what I mean. From a bottom of oak and humid sea air, whole peppercorns, malt, pecans, pears, to honey on top. Very impressive, confident.

Pungent and powerful, but a real ensemble, tough to pick out individual flavours. Some apple and toffee cake, some vapours of cherry wood smoke. Then things kick into bitterness. Big alcohol impression, too, that the experience doesnt recover from. Hard. May benefit from a bunch of ice. Or a shitty mood.


Gorgeous sherry sweetness on the nose, big heathery smoke and the bitterness completely goes away. Still not exactly my thing, but I think that ice makes nice. Eureka!


Loved the nose, big and exciting, lots of character. enjoyed the sort of waxy mouthfeel. But beyond that this dram lost its appeal. Spirit heat and bitterness spoil the possibility for flavour development. Perhaps it is just a moody dram and I just aint in the right mood. Will try with ice later.

When I tried with ice I realised this must be the way this dram is intended to be consumed. Probably great for a Rusty Nail.

Malt Mission #31
Malt Mission #32
Malt Mission #33
Malt Mission #35

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Anonymous said...

I have had a similar experience with Green Label- it starts out fairly nice but finishes with an astringent, high-alcohol taste that lingers. I haven't added ice to it but a bit of filtered water seems to take down the harshness a few clicks.

I actually prefer JMR's Smoky Peaty one to Green Label. Less harsh and less expensive.

jason said...

i was so hoping you'd taste this one. i picked a bottle of this up on my way home from edinburgh last year in duty free. it's still barely touched.

i opened it for tasting i did here in ny. excited to try this vatted malt by one a brand that does it well.

no one liked it. i haven't tried it with water or ice yet, i was too disappointed from the first taste. i feel like its a bit schizophrenic with various singles competing. but, i dont have much experience in drinking blends of any kind. its good to keep around for guests with a less particular palate.

Anonymous said...

Good points guys. And thanks.
JMR make some great value whiskies. Are they still widely available in US? They are vanishing here. Will try to fish for some gossip...

The three Johnnie Walker's I had this week taught me that they are blends created for the whisky&water or on the rocks drinkers. After seriously tasting 32 whiskies over 6 weeks, I trust my mouth and nose and stand by my verdicts.

Jason Debly said...

If you go to the Johnnie Walker website, they recommend drinking this with a single ice cube. I don't this was a frivolous suggestion. Your tasting note reinforces the need for water or ice to be added.

Frankly, I have a hard time paying for this when for the same price I can buy Cragganmore 12, a key single malt that is a key ingredient in this vatted blend.

Cragganmore 12 versus Johnnie Walker Green? The former wins everytime!