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Hi, this is one of our (almost) daily tastings. Santé!

June 3, 2022


Back to Basics

That is to say, back to blends. I believe it is important that us Malt Maniacs and distinguished friends keep trying some large-volume blended Scotch from time to time, just to keep our feet on the ground. In smart moderation, naturally… That's a universal law by the way, lesser whiskies, more moderation.
Magazine ad, 1967. Good old Nancy!




Johnnie Walker 'Red Label' (40%, OB, Dutch import, +/-2022)

Johnnie Walker 'Red Label' (40%, OB, Dutch import, +/-2022) Two stars
We haven't formally tasted Johnnie Red too many times, but styles and quality seemed variable, depending on the years and, perhaps, the markets. Remember, altogether approx. 15Mio 9-cases of Johnnie Walker are moved every year, while I don't think they've got a vatting tank that big (oh come on). Colour: gold. Nose: these noses are often pretty nice, with appealing ripe fruits, especially apples, some vanilla and toasted cakes, some shortbread, and a delicate maltiness that would easily mask the nasty young grains. In short, nice nose. Mouth: as I remembered it, easily drinkable and yet not dull, with a wee salty touch and some pear cake at first, while it would then get drier, bitterer, and frankly less pleasant after half a minute. That's pretty much the fate of all entry-level blended Scotch, but this one's doing rather well. Kind of. Finish: always the worst part in these blends. Cardboardy, coffee dregs, some rugous smoke in the end, orange squash. Comments: let's be fair and remember that this is meant to be sipped on ice or with soda etc.
SGP:341 - 73 points.

Dewar's 'White Label' (40%, OB, US import, +/-2022)

Dewar's 'White Label' (40%, OB, US import, +/-2022)
It appears that I've never formally tried Dewar's 'White Label'! Tell me about a so-called whisky blogger… Tsk-tsk, I can hear you. Colour: straw. Less caramel than in the Johnnie W. Nose: seems to be maltier, with rather more acidity, green fruits, porridge, doughs and fresh breads… There's even a nice floral side, around the usual dandelions. Mouth: same bitter, rustic, gritty style on the palate, with no transition this time. Tough and extremely rustic, with a lot of sawdust and cardboard. I couldn't empty my shot without ice or juices. I'm not sure water alone would help and won't even try that. Finish: short, drying, bitter. Comments: I remember old Dewar's – although not the White Label - used to be much deeper, more lively, and maltier. And frankly better. Rather nice nose, though.

SGP:231 - 65 points.

Johnnie Walker 12 yo 'Black Label' (40%, OB, Duty Free, +/-2021)

Johnnie Walker 12 yo 'Black Label' (40%, OB, Duty Free, +/-2021) Two stars and a half
The most sold 12 yo in the world and Chivas Regal's archenemy. We'll have Chivas after this one. We've tried some very good batches of Johnnie Walker Black in the past. Colour: gold. Nose: a feeling of smoked flowers, lapsang souchong, with some ashes, tobacco, cigarettes, wholegrain bread, a touch of wax, then strawberry yoghurt… It's a pretty complex nose for sure, most pleasant and, hopefully, drinkable on its own. Let's make sure about that… Mouth: a clear feeling of Johnnie Red ++, with small berries, apples, fruit peel, then some smoke and liquorice. Some peat and earth. Finish: medium, rather fat, earthy. No feeling of cardboard this time, or barely. Comments: far from the utter glories that old Johnnie Blacks used to be circa 1950s-1960s, but clearly sippable without any ice, Fanta, Canada Dry, Coke or Pepsi. Even without Irn Bru.

SGP:352 - 78 points.

As we said…

Chivas Regal 12 yo (40%, OB, French market, +/-2022)

Chivas Regal 12 yo (40%, OB, French market, +/-2022) Two stars and a half
We've tried some splendid very old bottles of Chivas Regal but careful with their corks. Recent expressions have been a little average in my book, while earlier 12s at 43% could really rock our world. Everything's going to hell… Colour: light gold. Nose: rounder and cakier than JW Black, rather all on cakes, scones, breads and brioches. Touch of vanilla and stewed apples and pears. A little less characterful than JW Black. Mouth: hold on, this is a good batch. Nice arrival, on tonic water, ginger and apple juice, then we have a little earth (we're much closer to JW than expected), caraway, liquorice, Szechuan pepper… Finish: short to medium, with a little menthol and lemon, which would save even the worst whisky in the world. No, no names, although I would have gotten a few ideas… The aftertaste's a tad more difficult, too cardboardy, as many blends are. Comments: as I just wrote, a pretty good version of Chivas 12. The aftertaste made it lose some points, though.

SGP:451 - 77 points.


The previous inceptions of Chivas Regal (with thanks to La Revue des Marques)

Johnnie Walker 'Black Label Triple Cask Edition' (40%, OB, +/-2019)

Johnnie Walker 'Black Label Triple Cask Edition' (40%, OB, +/-2019) Two stars
No more age statement and more talking about casks and woods, welcome to the modern whisky world. According to some online blurb, this one's meant to have been finished in bourbon (check), Caribbean pot still rum (check) and finally 'Scotch whisky' (whaat, onanistic Scotch?) It's also said to have been boosted with Blair Athol, Cardhu and Strathmill. Just like us. Colour: light gold. Nose: clearly maltier, clearly less smoky. Having said that, the wood's playing the main part here, you get fresh sawdust, broken branches, plywood… And no 'Caribbean pot still rum', I'm afraid. Maybe on the palate… Mouth: starts nicely, malty and with apples, but it's getting immensely oaky after just ten seconds. Sawdust and coconut ruling this wee baby, not my cup of malt for sure, and not my cup of blend either. A little bubblegum too (bubblegum = youth). Finish: medium, still oaky. Sweet oak and cinnamon cookies. Comments: with climate change, deforestation and all that, I'd wager the way would rather be 'less oak' than 'more oak'.
SGP:361 - 70 points.

Perhaps another Walker…

William Walker & Sons Aberdeen (no ABV, Very Choice Old Highland Whisky,  +/-1930)

William Walker & Sons Aberdeen (no ABV, Very Choice Old Highland Whisky,  +/-1930) Four stars and a half
Not too sure this is a blend, it could be a single malt. I believe this brand is now extinct but I've seen that W. Auctioneer had one from the 1970s. In a way, this is almost blind tasting (by the way, looks like we will return to the Whisky Show London with Charlie and Dave this year, expect some more very crazy 3-men blind tastings!) Colour: light gold – complete with a wee 90 year old spider in my glass! We'll call it Boris, John, but filtration was not the company's strong point, apparently. Nose: typical sooty, chalky, waxy, mineral, smoky, meaty, camphory and mentholy nose. This could well have been a single malt, but it does feel like it was bottled at below 70° proof. Maybe 65 proof? Indeed that used to be legal… Mouth: big maltiness – this IS a single malt. Having said that, it is impossible to find the distillery, maybe one that was closed for good even before WWII? Or maybe Parkmore, the one that we WANT to try (because some say some cask(s) remain?) Anyway, soot, marrow, menthol, shoe polish, leek, oranges, ham, bouillons and broths, Colonatta bacon, etc. Finish: not even short, so definitely 70 proof. Not more. More waxy and meaty saltiness, plus some ashes and more sootiness. Drop of chartreuse in the aftertaste. Comments: actually a tad fragile, but fantastic. I'd kill to learn about the name of the distillery.
SGP:453 - 89 points.

Right, it wasn't a blend, dead sure about that. Which means that we'll have to find another blend to put a proper end to this wee tasting session…

Campbeltown Loch (46%, OB, 2022)

Campbeltown Loch (46%, OB, 2022) Four stars
With hugs to everyone at Cadenhead's Whisky Market Cologne/Köln. Now, I just see that this is actually a blended malt – I used to believe Campbeltown Lochs were blended Scotch, no? Looks like this one's made out of all single malts in Campbeltown, namely Springbank, Glen Scotia, Hazelburn, Macallan, Kilkerran/Glengyle and Longrow (spot the odd one out!) Colour: white wine. Nose: young, starting citric and chalky, with some lemonade and kiwi juice. Then there's sourdough, a fresh pack of lemon drops, yellow Haribos and a little lime grass. This one should repel any mosquitos, perhaps even Campbeltown's famous – and voracious - midges. Mouth: very good, with a similar chalky, doughy and lemony development, supplemented with a little fresh mint, green pepper and tiny roots and saplings (quinoa?) Finish: rather long, on pretty much the same flavours and with a smokier signature. Longrow, I presume. This wee chemicalness too… Comments: a fully naked Campbeltowner, undisguised and maskless. Very cool proposition, and certainly a true 'regional malt'. Perhaps for your favourite hipflask rather than for your most expensive crystal sniffer (a.k.a. fishbowl).

SGP:452 - 86 points.

We've got many more Y-T-T blends at Château Whiskyfun, so stay tuned. Oh, Y-T-T means yet-to-try.

More tasting notesCheck the index of all blends we've tasted so far







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