The part most people don't know is the "order" of the regularly-available Johnnie Walker whiskies - that is, the pricing hierarchy. So here it is, with typical prices for a 750 mL bottle:
- Johnnie Walker Red Label - $17-20
- Johnnie Walker Black Label - $25-30
- Johnnie Walker Green Label - $45-55
- Johnnie Walker Swing - $50-60
- Johnnie Walker Gold Label - $70-80
- Johnnie Walker Blue Label - $160-200
- Johnnie Walker Blue Label King George V Edition - $500-550
- The John Walker - $3000 (yes, you read that right!)
The bottling being reviewed here, the Johnnie Walker Double Black, is a limited-edition bottling. It's meant to be a cousin of the Johnnie Walker Black Label but with a smokier zing, coming from a higher concentration of peated whisky in the blend as well as the use of deep-charred barrels for the maturation. Double Black was initially only available at airports' duty-free shops, but has recently been released to normal retail outlets. As I'm a fan of the Johnnie Walker line, I had to pick up a bottle of Double Black when I heard it had arrived.
Johnnie Walker Double Black, 40% ABV
Blended Scotch whisky
Nose: Tar with a honey- or malt-like sweetness. Even somewhat floral.
Palate: Reminds me a bit of a Bowmore or Highland Park at first - lightly peaty with a good dose of sweetness. Then the peatiness gets darker and more reminiscent of Lagavulin (a Diageo distillery), and the peat eventually envelops the taste buds.
Finish: Soft smokiness.
Rating (of 100): 89. Decent development in the mouth and I like the mixture of sweetness and peatiness. The finish is a bit weak - maybe it would improve at a higher alcohol content?
It's definitely a solid dram and a nice way to enjoy some peat without being bowled over.