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Ah, JW15, suprisingly good. So, the natural progression in age statement to 18, well I might be forgiven for thinking I’m in for another treat. But, theres a catch. The bottle says “in pursuit of the ultimate 18 year old blend”, I don’t really know what that means, but it does foretell of the reintroduction of generic grain spirit. Whilst the addition of grain by JW hasn’t been an immediate turn off, I am beginning to understand just how much of a diluting and detractor to some excellent malts it is. So, not holding my breath on this 18.
Let’s check in with Scotty from Marketing: “An intensely rich Scotch that perfectly balances a trilogy of flavours and textures. It’s made with hand-picked casks aged for 18 years, with each passing season building layers of complex flavour. A whisky worth the wait. Drink it neat or on the rocks”. Excellent hand picked, I’m so glad they weren’t feet picked. This reads so vaguely and generic that I’m already disappointed with what I’m now expecting. Oh well, here we go…
N: Strongly cereal driven with a slightly oily to viscous presence. Also present, a fairly noticeable raw ethanol burn, nose feels woody and a little warmth from an associated spicyness. I think it’s trying to be slightly smoky, but its coming across as smouldering wet mulchy leaves, my nose is turning me away from whatever this is.
P: A little on the thin side and with a borderline gritty texture, or am I imagining that. Malty and with a little floral or herbal lift, really really subdued (subtle?) fruity flavours of sultana, mulled red fruit (think sherry cask), maybe some nutty oils. Smoke is probably there as a mixer to everything and i think responsible for my initial gritty texture that feels earthy by the mid palate. The ABV whilst low at 40% is fairly present but stays the right side of warming.
F: Long. Savour-sweet honey cereal, wood heavy sherry cask influence is the best I can describe it as.
Odd. I had to go and read some other reviews before I finished the dram. I figured I must be missing something, this is a AUD$149.99 18 year old bottle and I am thinking it is barely average. But, I can’t find anything akin to the official Distiller review by Stephanie Moreno. Maybe I just don’t mesh well with this whisky. I am a rank amateur, but I don’t think I’m that crap at this game. I’m at the point where my initial feeling from Scotty in marketing, generic and vague is about the right summation for this hugely underwhelming pour. It just fails to get going, the nose for me is disagreeable, the palate is like a limp handshake, and the finish is verging on being too heavily woody. What a mess. Boo.
402 Distiller reviews average out at 3.96/5, my score 2.5/5. Am I an idiot? Perhaps not. I tend to discount those scores without notes. Only 113 reviews have notes. But, those still seem to be a 4-4.25 average at a glance. What is going on? Is it me, or is it the marketing teams genius… take a formatively travel retail exclusive, make that available at regular retail, change its name from platinum to 18, leverage peoples tendency to equate age with excellence. AUD$150 for an 18, sounds good. Must be good. Hold up… this is freaking Loch Lomond 18 all over again. Damn Loch Lomond blows, gah! Enraged. Rambling rant over. I’m probably crap at whisky.
[Pictured here with a white coloured rock for a white coloured label. This rock is an anorthosite from the Proterozoic Rogaland Province in Norway. At ~930 million years old this white lump of rock is an igneous (magma) intrusive that is composed almost entirely of the calcium rich plagioclase feldspar mineral, anorthosite. What is particularly cool is that this is the same rock type that makes up a large part of our moons surface.]
Distiller whisky taste #149
Johnnie Walker running scores
Black 12: 2.5
Black Islay Origins: 3.5
Double Black: 3.25
Green 15: 4.25
Aroma is soft with hints of raisin. First taste starts with a touch of plum and smoke. Some pepper and nuttiness in the background. Finish is pleasantly smoky with a touch of peat. Overall very mellow, but well balanced and pleasant. Nicely drinkable neat.