Review: Johnnie Walker Green Label

When people think about Johnnie Walker they’re usually thinking about their Red or Black label as a mixer, or if they’re feeling fancy their luxurious Blue label for a neat pour. When it comes to whisky afficionados though, the brand is often snuffed at. Most of the line-up consists of blended whisky. Where grain makes up a major part of the blend. Or, like the Blue Label, the product’s quality does not outweigh its hefty price tag. Amongst their line-up there’s an odd duckling out though, and that’s the Johnnie Walker Green Label of today’s review.

This bottle of Johnnie Walker consists solely out of malt whiskies, and it comes with an age statement of no less than 15 years. On top of that they’ve also upped the ABV a little, giving it three percent more than most of their line-up, to provide the dram with a little extra oomph. All this combined made it a fan favourite, and when they intended to discontinue the Label a few years back the people we’re outraged. All exaggerations aside though, they got enough complaints that they decided it was best to continue the label after all. And we can still enjoy this beautiful blended malt today because of it.

Tasting Notes: Johnnie Walker Green Label
Stats:

ABV: 43% (86 proof)

Age: 15 years old

Label: Johnnie Walker

Owned by: Diageo

Category: Blended Malt Scotch Whisky

Chill-Filtered: Yes

Natural Colour: No

Setting:

After a weekend of studying for the Advanced Whisky Ambassador course, I decided to take it easy today. First I slept in, and then I gamed a little before taking the dogs outside for a long walk. I’m ending this lazy afternoon by putting my feet up in my recliner and sipping on a dram of this Johnnie Walker Green Label. Which I poured neat into a perfect dram glass.

Nose:

On the box Johnnie Walker gives you the names of four distilleries that are included in this blend: Talisker, Linkwood, Cragganmore, and Caol Ila. Both Talisker and Caol Ila usually bring a hefty amount of peat to the mix, and I’m definitely finding some peat on the nose of this Green Label. It’s very beautifully balanced out though. Notes of grass, vanilla and honey all work in cohesion with the peat, giving this dram a rather delicate yet complex nose for something that has peat in it. I’m picking up on some slivers of driftwood as well, which gives an ever so slight coastal feel to this dram.

Palate:

The palate stays true to the nose of this dram. Peat, grass, vanilla and honey all follow through in roughly the same composition as I found them on the nose. The palate does give more intensity to the flavours though, and because they become a little more pronounced I’m starting to pick up on some floral aspects as well. At the bakery where I used to work as a child they would sometimes decorate their cakes with candied flower petals (violets) and strangely enough I’m picking out that note from this palate as well. The mouthfeel is rather thin and watery, but it does come with an ever so slight burn.

Finish:

As soon as I swallow a sip of this dram, I’m starting to pick up liquorice. There’s some candy on the finish as well, which combined with the liquorice makes me reminisce about eating “apekoppen” (a piece of candy popular in The Netherlands with liquorice and soft banana candy). The finish has a medium length and near the end this Johnnie Walker Green Label suddenly starts reminding me of freshly pressed apple juice. So, it’s in the finish that this dram does start to evolve a bit.

Verdict:

I like this dram, a lot. I picked this bottle up for less than 35 euro, and in return I got a 15-year-old blended malt. That’s a deal I will sign for any day. And the blending team did a great job at bringing us a truly delicious experience. It gives you on the palate exactly what it promises on the nose. That is neither a good nor a bad thing though. It does mean I feel like it lacks a little complexity for me to give it a very high rating, but it makes it a perfect sipping whisky. And thankfully it has a price tag that matches that. This is the perfect bottle to put out for a bbq with friends. And I think most people, whether beginner or true afficionado, won’t turn down a glass of Johnnie Walker Green Label.

Rating:

85/100

Value:

A

Click here to learn more about how I come up with my tasting notes. And how I determine rating and value.

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