Sunday, September 18, 2011


As the name gold the price also gold. . .lol! I'll discuss a short review about this golden wine.

The Johnnie Walker product line is easy to understand. Certain labels denote the level of quality of the relevant blended whisky. Red Label is the entry level offering, drunk by itself is a pleasant endeavour, and so, very suitable for adding soda or making mixed drinks. At the opposite end of the spectrum is the Blue Label, a blend of scotch whiskies up to 40 yrs of age, sourcing single malts of distilleries that are no longer in operation. In between these two extremes are: Black, Green and Gold labels. As you can see, the Gold Label falls just before the zenith of scotch blends, Johnnie Walker Blue Label. So, the question that arises: Is Gold Label that good? And the answer is . . . yes, it is. Very good indeed.

It was introduced into the market place in 1995. Little advertising on TV and in magazines in the US. Advertising is considerable in the Far East where Johnnie Walker enjoys a huge following. China, Japan, Singapore, Thailand are filled with ads of this scotch.
In North America, the price of Gold Label, I think causes consumers to opt for single malt over it. In any case, despite the lack of profile and advertising in North America, it is well worth discovering.
Gold Label Composition
The Gold Label is made up of a combination of grain and single malt whiskies having a minimum age of 18yrs in casks, prior to actual bottling. Remember scotch, unlike wine, does not improve with age once bottled. At the core of this blend are a number of single malts that are purported to be quite scarce. Specifically, Clynelish which is distilled from spring water that supposedly runs through veins of gold. I am frankly a little sceptical, and do not think that water passing by or through veins of gold will actually impart a distinctive flavor. Anyway, the bottom line is tha this blend is made up of high quality and obscure single malts. Diageo (the company that owns Johnnie Walker) is very guarded as to the contents of this blend. In my humble opinon, there are two reasons: first, they want to minimize competition; and secondly, there may be more grain whisky than people would expect, that if divulged might negatively impact sales.
I could nose this scotch for hours. There is so much there and you just know they spent a bloody fortune trying to get the scents just right. I am a guy who is not particularly concerned with interior decor or the color of my socks in relation to my suit, but this scotch, I am fascinated by the scents it gives. Its like sniffing a rose, and coming back over and over. Even my wife sniffed it and was shocked it was scotch. There is a lot going on, specifically, the scent of fresh bread, roses, and other flowers that frankly smell nice, but don't have a clue to identify. If this is a gift, your recipient will be impressed upon nosing this blend.
Suggested Serving
This is not to be drank with anything more than a drop or two of distilled water or a single ice cube. If you consult the Johnnie Walker US website, you will be advised to try the Gold Label by freezing a shot in a glass in your freezer for 24 hours. Dont worry, due to the alcohol content, it doesnt freeze, but it does thicken. A sip of this scotch that has been subjected to your freezer for 24 hrs results is a scotch that upon sipping, in a chilled tumbler, provides a concentrated dram of honey and heather. I tried freezing a shot in a tumbler and then sipping and must say I was impressed. I chased a sip with some milk chocolate and was in awe. It transforms from a scotch to a dessert liqueur almost.

This is a gentle, soft introduction to a sophisticated honeyed dram. The honey is presented libereally on the palate, but mixed in with notes of heather, rich cream, spicy cinnamon, zing of candy cane, faint reverberations of peat and whisps of smoke. A wrapping of flavors that can be truly called complex. There is no burn or roughness here. You know upon your first sip that you are experiencing a high quality blend of spice, honey, smoke and peat in a flavor wrapping like no other.

If you tried it after being in the freezer for 24hrs, the flavors will linger much longer than if served neat at room temperature. Frozen, you will swallow, and minutes later you will still be able to taste the honey, heather, peat and smoke in that unique envelope of single malts and blends. The warming affect of your mouth upon the chilled scotch is truly very pleasing and unique.
Served neat, the flavor remains upon being swallowed, but does not linger as long as when served frozen and in a chilled tumbler. I realize that it is outrageous to serve scotch after having been in a freezer for 24 hours but it does work in this case.
General Impressions
Johnnie Walker Gold Label is to be served on special occasions for people who will appreciate a complex, honeyed, refined and very smooth dram. If you graduate from university and your parents choosing to serve this, they are on the mark. If you are in the bar at 2 am and contemplating taking a leak in the dumpster outside with your college buddies, you have missed the mark by a wide margin.'Smooth' and 'honey' in a complex wrapping of flavor is what I think of when considering this scotch. The only negative comment I have is with respect to the tail end of the tasting or finish. I pick up some heather or mint that is a little off. It annoys me a bit, but I am being very fussy and only a couple of my connosieur friends agree with me on this point.

It's Tasting Time


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