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Johnnie Walker Black Label Blended Whisky Impressions

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What is it? 

Distillery: Johnnie Walker
Name: Black Label
Make: Blended Scotch Whisky
Extra Info: Rumoured to contain over 40 different Scotch whiskies (the actual blend recipe is a closely guarded secret) all aged for at least 12 years, Johnnie Walker Black is the second lowest priced whisky in a long line of popular blends. What is known, is that a major component of Johnnie Walker Black Label comes from the Caol Ila distillery on the island of Islay, Scotland. The core 'Colours' range includes Johnnie Walker Red Label, Black Label, Double Black, Gold Label Reserve, Platinum Label 18 Year Old and Blue Label with many other special and limited editions on offer. Prices range from less than $40 to hundreds of dollars per bottle.

Why did I buy it?

I bought a bottle of Johnnie Walker Black Label because it is cheap, commonly available and immensely popular. Most whisky drinkers have tried at least one Johnnie Walker blend and many bars use Johnnie Walker Red Label as their standard mixing whisky. Everyone needs a good mixing whisky at home and I wanted to see if Johnnie Walker Black Label would do for me.

What did I think of it?

Presentation: Iconic narrow square-sided bottle with as the name suggests, a black label. Gold writing and iconography contrast well against the black label on the clear glass bottle.

Appearance: Bright gold in colour, with consistency and crystal clear clarity achieved through the use of caramel colouring and chill-filtration. Bottled at 40% ABV.

Aroma: Although most commonly drunk with a mixer, neat, it smells of sea spray, definite maritime elements with the faintest hint of smoke with some cedar, like stepping into a traditional sauna.

Flavour: I try blended whiskies a variety of ways, neat, on the rocks, with Coke, etc. Johnnie Walker Black Label with a sweet mixer reminded me of a misspent youth and mornings waking up to bad whisky breath and regret. With soda water and ice it was more palatable, but the regret remained.
Smooth, like most blends. Heavy on the vanilla, sweet and a little more smoke than on the nose. Some indistinguishable fruitiness. 

Finish: Some spicy tingle that fades quickly, leaving just that bad whisky breath and regret behind.

Would I buy it again?

No, there is nothing wrong with Johnnie Walker Black Label, it's just not my mixer whisky of choice. I don't like the aftertaste it leaves in my mouth and there isn't enough going on across the nose and palate for me to want to drink it. I certainly would not judge someone for liking it, many people do the world over. If you like it great, if you don't and are looking for another blended Scotch, there are plenty of others to choose from including other expressions from Johnnie Walker. 

Disclaimer: I do not claim to have the nose and palate of a Master Sommelier, however, I am working to train my senses to better identify whisky aromas and flavours. Consider all my whisky 'Impressions' to be a work in progress and I hope to come back to each of them in the future to see if I notice anything different. Most importantly, I'm not just throwing around random aromas, flavours and adjectives for the hell of it; I am trying really hard to critically describe each whisky I taste - WhiskyDad.

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