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Johnnie Walker Green Label Blended Malt

Review: Johnnie Walker Red Label Blended Scotch Whisky   (89.5/100)
a Review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
February 8,  2021

Johnnie Walker is one of the most iconic whisky brands in the world. With its unique square bottle, and the labels tilted off-center, the company has created a strong brand image and its spirit is considered by many to be the quintessential Scottish whisky.

Johnnie Walker Green Label was apparently discontinued for several years from about 2012 to 2016; however, the brand was quietly reintroduced in 2017. Based upon my recent recognition that both Johnny Walker Red and Johnny Walker Black seem to have undergone changes in their blending regimes it is likely that when Johnny Walker Green was reintroduced that changes may have occurred with this expression as well. Whereas the brand was previously promoted as containing specific Malt whiskies as part of its construct, the Johnny Walker website is now non committal regarding any specific malt whisky within its blend.

The Green Label is what is termed, a blended malt whisky, and as such it is produced without any grain whisky. Rather it is produced as a mixture of Single Malts from various whisky producing regions of Scotland, specifically Speyside, Highland, Lowland and Island malts. As well, all of the malt whiskies used within its construct have been aged for a minimum of 15 years in both European and American Oak casks.

Johnnie Walker Green Label is bottled at 43 % abv.

In The Bottle 5/5

Johnnie Walker Green Label arrives in the typical square bottle shape, designed in 1920 by Alexander Walker. The shape is distinctive to the brand, and was designed to be ergonomic, allowing more bottles to be packed into a square area with less chance of breakage. A key aspect the bottle presentation is the slanted label which is tilted about 24 degrees off-center. The angled label was designed to catch the attention of shoppers when the bottle sat on the shelf next to the other whisky bottles.

As well, every bottle of Johnnie Walker Scotch features the Striding Man logo which artist/cartoonist, Tom Browne created on the back of a menu card while at lunch with the Walker Brothers in 1908. The logo portrays a man walking forward, which has come to symbolize forward thinking and the pursuit for excellence for the brand. Diageo, the owners of the Johnnie Walker Brand have also created “The Striding Man Society” which is a members club for Johnnie Walker drinkers.

I find the presentation of the Johnnie Walker Green to be professional and especially with the green display box this particular expression looks very nice on my whisky shelf. Also as we have moved up the line-up from Red to Black to Green, this is the first expression to be sealed with a cork stopper, which pleases me even more.

In the Glass 8.5/10

Colour: Golden Amber

Legs: Medium size droplets form at the crest which release slender slow moving legs.

Nose:  Sandalwood and fine wood spice, vanilla, orange zest and fruity citrus, leathery barley, fresh cut hay, heather and tobacco as well as a light somewhat smoky peat underneath. There are also some notes of banana and banana peel, some baking spices (ginger, cinnamon and allspice) and bits of almond.

The nose is quite nice, although not as oak filled as I would have suspected. This allows the herbal grassy notes more prominence as well as helps to highlight the fruity citrus scents which are usually buried deeper within a fifteen year old whisky.

In The Mouth 54/60

The Green Label Malt Whisky is a wonderfully nuanced dram. The oak has more of a presence when it is sipped adding more fine spice and sandalwood; however it is the winding grassiness and bright fruity quality of the whisky which has my attention as I sip. In fact, there is a lot going on as I taste herbal grass and tobacco; citrus zest and banana peel; light baking spices (ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg); and hints of pears and apples. Some dry fruit (raisins and prunes) are in there too. And within it all is a punchy peat which while not overbearing at all nevertheless accents the whisky with its presence. There is just enough butterscotch and honey to pull it all together.

In the Throat 13/15

The finish has a little bite from wood spice and features cigarette tobacco combined with dry fruit with a touch of boggy peat. Honey and menthol seems to soothe the back of the throat as I swallow.

The Afterburn 9/10

Johnny Walker Green Label is full of nuance which makes it a very nice whisky to sip and explore. I like that the oakiness and the peatiness of the dram have both been held in check such that the underlying flavours of the whisky can be explored as you sip. I prefer the dram with a bit of ice which reins in the grassy flavours just a touch and brings that underlying peatiness into focus; but I would not argue with others who would prefer to sip.

You may read some of my other Whisky Reviews (click the link) if you wish to have some comparative reviews.

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As always you may (loosely) interpret the scores I provide as follows:

0-25 A spirit with a rating this low would actually kill you.
26-49 Depending upon your fortitude you might actually survive this.
50 -59 You are safe to drink this…but you shouldn’t.
60-69 Substandard swill which you may offer to people you do not want to see again.
70-74 Now we have a fair mixing rum or whisky.  Accept this but make sure it is mixed into a cocktail.
75-79 You may begin to serve this to friends, again probably still cocktail territory.
80-84 We begin to enjoy this spirit neat or on the rocks. (I will still primarily mix cocktails)
85-89 Excellent for sipping or for mixing!
90-94 Definitely a primary sipping spirit, in fact you may want to hoard this for yourself.
95-97.5 The Cream of the Crop
98+ I haven’t met this bottle yet…but I want to.

Very loosely we may put my scores into terms that you may be more familiar with on a Gold, Silver, and  Bronze medal  scale as follows:

70 – 79.5    Bronze Medal (Recommended only as a mixer)
80 – 89.5     Silver Medal (Recommended for sipping and or a high quality mixer)
90 – 95         Gold Medal (Highly recommended for sipping and for sublime cocktails.)
95.5+            Platinum Award (Highest Recommendation)

 
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