Great balance between fruit, smoke, and sweet. Good value given its age and quality.
Were the overall flavor profile a bit more amped up, this could easily go from good to great. Kudos to Diageo for boosting the ABV from 40% to 43%, but this could really be a top notch whisky at 46%.
Johnnie Walker Green Label is the middle child of the Johnnie Walker line up. It’s the truest introduction to the “premium” side of the range, and sits in that premium-yet-still-affordable $50 price category. Left behind are the 40% ABV’s and screw top caps of Red and Black, in favor of a bulked up 43% ABV, as well as a 15 year age statement. It’s also quite noteworthy that Green Label is the only whisky in the Johnnie Walker core range (Red, Black, Double Black, Green, Gold, Platinum, and Blue) that is not just a blended whisky, but a blended malt whisky, meaning that there is no grain whisky in the Green Label.
According to it’s online advertising (which Andrew found out can be very inaccurate), the Green Label is crafted to uniquely show the characteristics of the Highland, Lowland, Island, and Speyside regions of single malt scotch. These regions are personified by significant portions of Talisker, Linkwood, Cragganmore, and Caol Ila malt whiskies in the blend (none of which are made in the Lowlands or non-Speyside Highlands, for what it’s worth). More components than just these four malts are most definitely included in the blend, but these are the four advertised. Given the age statement, every component in the blend has been matured for at least 15 years, and the matured whisky has come from both ex-bourbon American and ex-sherry European oak casks.
- A blend of malt whiskies from Talisker, Caol Ila, Linkwood, Cragganmore, and other undisclosed distilleries
- Aged at least 15 years
- Chill filtered and likely colored
- Bottled at 43% ABV
Nose: Raisin, honey, and toffee sweetness accented by bright citrus notes. Beyond the initial layer of sweets and fruits, hints of sea salt, pepper, and soft smoke are also noticeable.
Palate: Honey and rich fruit permeate the arrival. The development displays some toasted nuts, toffee, and mellow smoke. Light bodied with a creamy mouthfeel.
Finish: The finish is long and leaves a lingering nuttiness accompanied by raisin sweetness and campfire smoke. The finish is a quite pleasant parting note, enticing me to take another sip.
Buying Recommendation: Worth Buying A Pour, if not more. I think this is the best value in the Johnnie Walker line up; the ideal convergence of flavor, complexity, refinement, drinkability, and affordability. It’s a clear step above the ubiquitous Black Label, and not so far behind Gold or Platinum to justify their increased price over it. You certainly get more than a bland and unmemorable scotch with the Green Label. This has an element of layered complexity and richness to it that I quite enjoy, and has a good balance of smoke, fruit, and sweet. This holds it’s own against many single malts in the $50-60 range, and many scotch drinkers, if they can overcome any preconceived disdain for Diageo or Johnnie Walker, will find this to be a solid addition to their shelf.