Johnnie Walker Blue Label

I recently turned 40.  

On such a milestone occasion, one tends to look back and take stock of one’s life, but also look forward and contemplate the future.  What better way than to do so than with a fine bottle of whisky, especially one received as a gift on such an auspicious occasion.

The bottle in question is Johnnie Walker Blue Label.  

On with the tasting!

The drink is a deep amber colour, looking quite good on a chilly midsummer evening.

The nose of this blend is a gift of honey, lemon, melon, and soft notes of pineapple.

The palate is similar, once again providing a sweet mix of honey, lemon, pineapple, just a hint of lemonade, but adding a twist of pear, loads of spice, and a touch of caramel.  There is a bit of rose petal in there and thoughts of mixed berries, but these are fleeting.  A smoother whiskey is hard to find, the blend is a masterpiece of care designed to please even the most particular of whisky aficionados. 

The finish is long and sweet.  A slight burn remains on the tongue, but the sugary remnant of honey and lemon lingers. A bit of smoke sticks around long after the other flavours have faded.

A touch of water accentuates the honey on the nose, but mostly tones down the intensity of the flavours.  I recommend not taking this whisky with any water at all.  The finish remains unmoved by the addition of water.

Overall, as fine a whiskey as one could hope and an excellent way to celebrate surviving 40 years. If one has some disposable income, a highly recommended whiskey and well worth the expense.  Cheers!

Whisky Showdown! Glenlivet 12 vs. Nikka Taketsuru 12

I have already pitted the Yamazaki 12 against the Glenlivet 12 and, more recently, the Yamazaki 12 against the Nikka Taketsuru 12. It is now time to taste test the Glenlivet 12 against the Nikka 12. This is a battle for third place within this group as the Yamazaki was the winner in both of the aforementioned showdowns.

The Nikka is a Japanese classic, bottled at 40% abv but packing a lot of flavour into its 12 years. The Glenlivet is a longtime favourite Scotch of both casual and experienced whisky lovers alike. The latter is also bottled at 40% abv.

Both look similar, though the Nikka hints more at amber than gold.

On the nose, the Glenlivet’s unmistakeably soft, sweet hues prove to be a nice welcome. However, the matchup is clearly in the Nikka’s favour as its bolder aroma of fruit, vanilla, honey, and citrus shames the Glenlivet into submission.

On the palate, the Glenlivet’s trademark sweet apple flavours provide much needed warmth on a cold winter’s day. The Nikka’s flavour profile differs significantly. It’s a deeper, darker taste that fills the senses with some of the same basic traits of the Glenlivet but mixes these with oak and nut. The Glenlivet is obviously sweeter overall but the Nikka is more complex. The Nikka has a more grainy texture as well, while the Glenlivet is smoother on the tongue. I enjoy both for their respective merits and I’m finding this tough to call. If forced, I would give a slight edge to the Nikka.

The finish on the Glenlivet is acceptably long and fruity. The Nikka is smokier, contains more oak, and dark nuts. I pick up some faint pineapple notes deeper into the finish with the Nikka. The length of the finish of the Nikka is about the same as the Glenlivet.

Overall, without considering the relative costs of the two whiskies in question, I prefer the Nikka by a small margin. The Nikka is much more interesting on the nose and the finish but both have pleasant tastes despite their differences in this regard.