Whisky Tasting #11: Unpacking JW Green Label

This one was a long time coming… For a while I’d wanted to do a tasting where we “unpack” a blend, by tasting each of its component whiskies and then seeing how they all come together in the blend itself.

The perfect candidate came in the form of Johnnie Walker Green Label, a highly regarded blended malt freshly back from the dead due to popular demand. The Whisky Club got its hands on a bottle, and after tracking down its malty ingredients (all except Linkwood – tough to find, that one!) we set about doing the hard work of drinking some whisky…

The Components

First up, Cragganmore 12 YO – a classic Speyside single malt with a rich, spicy character that seems to form the backbone of many Johnnie Walker blends. Great stuff.

This was followed by the indomitable Talisker 10 YO (45.8%), a moderately peaty heavyweight of the single malt world, loved by all and offering up that chewy, salty goodness like no other.

Lastly, Caol Ila 12 YO – a fiery, but impeccably well balanced peated malt bursting with fresh herbal and earthy flavours.

The Blend

With much excitement, the long-awaited Johnnie Walker Green Label itself. The overall impression was that it clearly focussed more on the unpeated components in its blend – Cragganmore and (presumably) Linkwood – but there were clear signs of that Caol Ila peat shining through… and a little Talisker salted fish if you dug deep enough! A truly exceptional blend, more than worthy of all the hype.

Overall this was a thoroughly interesting and eye opening tasting – a real treat to be able to investigate a blend with this level of detail, and describe it with such accuracy in terms of its constituent components.

If you’re a fan of blends (and the Johnnie Walker style in particular) do yourself a favour and try this “unpacking” for yourself – it’s well worth it!

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