Thanks to Mark Dermul, of Whisky Rambling fame, was nice enough to sell me a sample of the Ardbeg Day bottling. Since I don’t like spending money on shipping and such things, I decided it was a very smart thing to get some more samples from him in one go.
Since he is the Toshan man, I chose some new and rare-ish Auchentoshan, and a small sample of the Johnnie Walker Blue Label. The one of their usual suspects that I hadn’t tasted yet. Well, until they revamped everything that is.
The blue label is a fairly expensive blended whisky, with ‘whiskies of up to 50 years old’. Of course, that doesn’t mean shit, since that can be one drop (or even one casks) for thousands of bottles. Anyway, bitching at marketing aside, here it goes!
Initially it feels like it needs to find its balance before it starts working. Then you start getting sweet barley, pound cake with some old and weathered polished oak. Weird minerally notes and clay that’s being baked. It does get very sweet after a minute with caramel fudge, some orchard fruit like ripe apples and pears. Maybe the apples are too ripe.
Not sparkling, but a bit of a similar tease at first. Not sharp though. It does taste ‘old’, maybe even a little musty or moldy. Some fruit, some wood, some spices. All expected flavours are present, which does make it complex. It’s not blowing me away, though. It gets more gentle quickly with fudge and toffee and a very small hint of coffee. Latte style.
The finish continues with the old and musty notes and shows a bit of the sherry cask’s direct influence with sherry flavours. Refill would be my guess… It reminds me of Christmas cake without the candied fruits.
As I said during the ‘sip’ part, it doesn’t blow me away. The watered down to 40% bit doesn’t help of course, and I think there’s colouring involved as well. There’s a lot going on but it never gets very stunning or any of the flavours very pronounced. There’s quite some ‘old’ going on, and some complexity, but I don’t really think it’s my style of whisky. I like bigger flavours I think, or a more decisive way of going at it. More clear sherry style, or more clear bourbon style, for example.
Johnnie Walker Blue Label, 40%, € 165.68 at Master of Malt