Pros: Complex malts equal a very unique, great treat. Balanced
Cons: Not very smoky for those of you smoke fans. Price will drive away customers
Johnnie Walker Green Label is the newest in the brotherhood to hit the US market as it was only introduced in 1997. It is still a relatively unknown label as many Johnnie Walker fans will most likely already have their favorite.
The others are:
Johnnie Walker Blue Label Blend has Scotch aged a minimum of 25 years and will run you around $150 a bottle.
Johnnie Walker Gold Label Blend blends Scotch aged a minimum of 18 years and will run you around $70 a bottle.
Johnnie Walker Black Label Blend has Scotch aged a minimum of 12 years and will run you around $30 a bottle.
Johnnie Walker Red Label Blend is the base Johnnie Walker and runs around $20 a bottle.
JOHNNIE WALKER GREEN AND THE FAMILY HISTORY
The Green Label “is made from a selection of 15 mature Speyside and Island Malt Whiskies. Only malt whiskies are used in Green Label, and these whiskies – including Caol Ila, Talisker, Linkwood and Cragganmore – are selected for the intensity of their flavor.” - Diageo
A family company has always independently owned Johnnie Walker. Because of this, the Johnnie Walker still grows its own barley, carries out its traditional floor malting, and even employs its own barrel makers and coppersmiths.
Premium drink giant Diageo owns the company along with Bushmills, Guinness, Cuervo, and many more.
John Walker started out just SW of Glasgow in 1820 as a grocery, wine, and spirit distributor. It was not until the 1850s, however, that his whisky business really got on the move when his son, Alexander, joined the business. Alexander was the actual creator of Johnnie Walker Gold.
THE POUR - Green label pours a lighter golden color – compared to many single malts and the Blue and Gold labels. This is especially surprising considering that Green is 43% ABV, cask strength.
THE NOSE - The nose is extremely malty. Who would have imagined that a pure malt would be that way? The nose is thick, sweet, and fruity floral. Hints of honey and apple are present. I cut my Green with a touch of chilled still water.
THE TASTE - Other than a very heavy malt taste, the nose is kind of misleading. Instead of the fruitiness, I tasted sweetness coupled with a burn of cinnamon. A heather sense is present along with the honey and vanilla. Overall, the spiciness dominates the taste up front. Breathing in the aromas as I sip this Green Label balances out the spiciness with the floral, sweet characteristics very well.
THE AFTERTASTE - What sweetness there is erased in a very quick, clean finish. The finish is a little too astringent for my liking, but that goes away after 2-3 sips as your body starts to warm. Most whisky (with no e) drinkers will finally get a very light smoke taste in the finish that they might expect.
OVERALL - This Johnnie Walker addition is definitely a stand alone and not just a play by the parent company to create another color label. This pure malt is thick, sweet, and spicy. Those of you that love the smoke should stick to the Blue Label or head to a Whisky like Laphroaig, Lagavulin, or Ardbeg.
The price is probably a showstopper here for this pure malt. At around $55-$65 a 750ml bottle, this will send people to the Gold Label or their favorite single malt. I am a fan of the Johnnie Walker Family, so I had to have a bottle on my shelf. Different whiskeys for different nights and different moods I guess.
4.5 STARs - so the Epinion Gods will force me to make this a 5.
** Speyside and Island Notes
- The Island Region is West of Scotland, excluding the Islay Region (known for very peaty whisky). Island whisky has an average amount of peat (smoke), and salty and spicy notes. Isle of Jura, Talisker, Highland Park, Scapa, Tobermory, Arran
- The Speyside Region is the most famous. This region has the big names on the market. Speysides have little smoke, range in perfume from flowers to fruit, and are estery. The Macallan, Glenfiddich, Balvenie, The Glenlivet, Aberlour to name a few.