Johnnie Walker Blue Label is undoubtedly one of the most recognisable premium whiskies in the world.
Although it contains a blend of older Diageo malts, no age statement is displayed, it’s chill-filtered and artificially coloured. It also carries a hefty price tag and yet still sells by the bucketload; truly a triumph of brand awareness and marketing.
So, the million dollar question is; is it worth it?
Floral honey and vanilla with a slightly waxy note (Clynelish?) coming through. Some orange oil and a hint of smoke are also detected.
A light, very pleasant nose.
A more robust arrival than expected, with a punch of smoke coming in, followed by dried fruit, slight nuttiness and some leathery tannin.
I thought I detected a slightly briney, seaweed flavour too, but overall it’s very balanced and clean.
It’s a medium mouthfeel at best, though the waxiness detected in the nose coats the mouth.
Finish is quite long dry and waxy with a little spicy sweetness pops up right at the end.
Water needs to be added very carefully and I didn’t think it did a huge amount for it – a little more fruit sweetness and the smoke comes out more in the taste, but the body which is present in the neat spirit washes away very easily.
Let’s get the big question out of the way first of all – no, it’s not worth the money that it sells for.
However, it is a very good, very well made whisky and there is evidence of good older spirits being used in the blend.
Those older spirits don’t really get the chance to shine though, as Blue Label is almost too clean. I couldn’t help feeling that I’d want a bit more challenge or complexity if I’d spent £130 or more on a bottle of whisky, though I suspect this would be a different beast if a 46%+ un-chillfiltered version was created.
That said, if money was no issue (or I wasn’t paying for it) then sitting drinking this whisky all night would be a very satisfying experience.
One to try, but possibly not one to buy.