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I came across this fancy looking/sounding offering from JW at my local Costco. The price seemed fair enough so I said what the heck!
Out of all the colors, I've already had black, DB, and Blue. I'd say this was somewhere in the middle. Maybe somewhat closer to Blue without the bigger price tag.
The nose seemed light and uneventful with only a touch of apple and grain. The flavor is where it shined brightly. A plethora of notes consisting of cereal, oak, vanilla, dark fruit, and soft smoke/spice flourished the palate. This in turn persisted to the finish which was joyfully long. The ethanol was quite minimal and dangerously easy to consume. IMO JW did a wonderful job with this blend. I foresee this bottle becoming empty in rapid fashion.
This is my second JW that I've tried after the black, and while it seems it's not for everyone, this is definitely my kind of Scotch.
The nose is sweet with caramel and little bit of spice.
The palate is to me a perfect balance of fruity Speysides, with interesting citrusy notes and hint of smoke.
The finish is longer than many of the others I've tried with a bit of smoky chocolate.
I got a great deal on a 1L bottle duty free, and am going to try to try to make this one last as long as possible.
I'm still a rookie with Scotch (this is only the 7th I've tried so far) but this is by far my favourite at this point.
February 1, 2023 (edited September 19, 2023)
2.5 out of 5 stars
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.