Johnnie Walker Green Label

By Eric Schmalz - June 13, 2019

Back in the first article, I discussed how there are a plethora of single malts and grain whiskies that are being produced simply to be thrown into big name blended whiskey. What I sought from this was to highlight this practice and show that there are hidden gems, buried within. However, I feel that through this I provided a somewhat skewed perspective on these blends and what they themselves can bring to the table. So I thought it beneficial to take a look at one and pick it apart, piece by piece.

As a brand Johnnie Walker has very humble roots, and an understandable origin. Born on July 25, 1805, John Walker grew up the son of a farmer, that is until the age of 14 when John’s father passed away. All his parents funds were put into a grocery in the town of Kilmarnock, Scotland where he would be manager and eventually begin his empire.

Over time, though a seller of fruits, meats, and other daily necessities, John started procuring and providing a plethora of fine teas, wine and spirits as well. Not so long after this he switched mainly to providing whiskey, mostly made to order for his customers tastes. However, it wasn't until his death in 1857 that the Walker band began. His son, Alexander Walker, saw what his father was doing and started blending whiskey to provide a product that would be of high quality and be incredibly consistent in taste, branding it with the Walker name.

Since then the story of Johnnie Walker tells itself. It has gone through some changes, growing, branding, and slight hand changing but ultimately remains true to its roots those many years ago. In the present day the brand is owned by Diageo, umbrella to dozens of distilleries world wide, giving them the ability to maintain the quality and consistency of these blends.

While every Johnnie Walker expression has its own strengths, I wanted to highlight my favorite, Green Label. Often glossed over, and relatively unknown, Johnnie Walker Green Label is, I find, one of the most approachable blends they make and provides great quality for the price, so let's dive in.

Johnnie Walker Green Label (image via Ray's Wine and Spirits)

This is a blend of single malt scotch whiskies that includes Talisker, Caol Ila, Linkwood, and Cragganmore along with many others, each component being aged at least 15 years, and bottled at 43% ABV.

Nose - Vanilla, lavender, rosewater, and heather notes are dominant. There is an undertone of citrus, specifically oranges and lemon. Resting for a short moment a hint of smoke comes out briefly, and finally settles on a sandalwood and soapstone blanket.

Palate - Rich vanilla leads, clung to by fruits. A pear and apple tart is the immediate thought. The smoke is a bit more pronounced but by no means in your face. The florality is more pronounced as well, honeysuckle, roses, and heather again. A fast hit of caramel swings by, coating the tongue with sweetness.

Finish - Sandalwood again, along with pear. Fairly thin and fleeting, but leaves a refreshing taste. Wisps of citrus oils roll around the tongue, showing up and disappearing again. Just a faint hint of banana.

This is always a refreshing malt and provides many nooks and crannies to explore. The prominent florality is nice and combined with the fruit notes send me into a world of mother nature’s bounty. The sweetness is also very well balanced with the slight hint of smoke that underlines everything else. A great blend that shines through, overcoming the stigma others may receive.

 

Overall: 8/10 Excellent

 

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