Johnnie Walker Black Label

One of the oldest bottles in my collection, sitting and waiting for a good swig from time to time is also one of my favorites. I’m not sure why the bottle has lasted so long, but I’m glad to have had it available tonight for a tasting.

The Johnnie Walker label has been around since 1820. When you pick up a bottle of Johnnie Walker, note the elements that make it distinct. The square bottle, simple layout, lots of transparent glass through which to see the product, the diagonal label, etc. All of these elements are instantly recognized, making their mark on the consumer and allowing instant brand recognition. Excellent presentation.

Johnnie Walker Black Label is a 12 year old blended Scotch sold at 40% alcohol by volume. The colour a beautiful dark copper, under the right light showing a red tinge.

On the nose, the first thing that strikes is orange and citrus. A second whiff brings in some hints of banana peel. Some smoke works its way in and balances the fruit.

On the palate, fruity and rich. Some honey and a hint of vanilla.

The finish is of short to medium length, fruity at first turning to some wood and smoke and then going off into a honey glaze that lasts for a short while.

Some water opens up more fruit and smoke on the nose. The palate becomes sweeter, the honey notes a bit stronger. Some caramel can be tasted, adding its undercurrent to the entire range of flavours. The water does a fine job extending the finish. I would say this whisky benefits most on the finish from the addition of water. The honey glaze turns into something more like sugar and lingers there for some time.

Overall, a fine whisky and something to consider for an everyday dram. It lacks some of the more complex elements that we’ve seen in my other tastings to date, but is an excellent choice nonetheless. You can’t go wrong with this purchase. All sizes are priced virtually the same in nith Quebec and Ontario, with Ontario charges a hair more. You’ll pay about 40% less in New Hampshire though, setting you back about $36 for the 750ml bottle in that wonderful state.