The name Johnnie Walker is one of the best known in the world of Scotch, the square bottle, colored labels distinguishing the blends and the complex flavors have all combined over the years to make this Scotch one of the best selling in the world. The key to Johnnie Walker's success is the consistent, beautifully mastered blends and the Black Label is a shining example of the art of blending fine whisky for a reasonable price. In 1820 John Walker began blending whiskies and in 1909 his son Alexander brought the family business to a new level by relaunching an old recipe under a new, easier to call, name: Black Label.
Whisky blends, like people, have individual characters. Some are smooth and polished in their manners, but may be short of character; then there are others that have strength, but lack lasting presence. But a characterful whisky blend, like a person, should be interesting to get to know. If everything is divulged at once, then there is nothing further to be revealed. However, if you feel that there's more to discover, then you will want to explore your acquaintance further.
Johnnie Walker Black Label has an enigmatic character. The first sip leaves you with an overwhelming curiosity to discover more. As Black Label's deep taste unfolds a myriad of flavours are revealed in several waves: first, there is an impression of silky richness; then deep and fruity foreground flavours give way to drier peaty nuances, followed by the complementary flavour tones of sweet vanilla and raisins.
This unique complexity is achieved by expertly blending an extremely diverse, but complementary range of malt whiskies, each of which has been matured for a minimum of 12 years and some for much longer. In total, up to 40 malts and grain whiskies make up the Johnnie Walker Black Label blend. Island and Islay malts deliver spice, richness and lingering peat. Speyside malts make an important contribution to the depth of taste, bringing smoky malt, fruitiness, apple freshness and a rich sherry character to the blend. At the heart of Black Label lies 12 year old Cardhu, an outstanding malt from Speyside, which imparts silkiness, a characteristic which has made it famous as a single malt.
Like a growing friendship between two people, getting to know Black Label is a profoundly satisfying experience that reveals new pleasures every time you meet. It's a taste that goes deeper than any 12 year old deluxe brand.
Black Label — an 80 proof (40% ABV) blend of about 40 whiskies, each aged at least 12 years. Writer Christopher Hitchens has called this his drink of choice, referring to it as Mr. Walker's Amber Restorative.