Here we are… the top of the Johnnie Walker lineup. I first heard of Johnnie Walker Blue Label in the early 2000s, before I was really into whisky. Pre-Hurricane Katrina, a friend of mine was saving up for a bottle. She called it her favorite “smoky Scotch.” I’ve been intrigued ever since. Of course, we know the toll that hurricane took on the city of New Orleans. My friend never got to buy that bottle of JW Blue Label, although she still mentions it from time to time. Fast forward many years – I have a sample bottle of the stuff in front of me. As I dive into the whisky in my glass, I can’t help being reminded of the nearly empty fishbowl that sat on my friend’s desk with a sign that read “Johnnie Walker Blue Fund”. Good times.
Introduced in the early 1990s, Johnnie Walker Blue Label is the top of the Johnnie Walker food chain. Its blend contains some of the oldest casks of whisky in the company’s warehouses. According to a product information sheet, the company states only 1 in 10,000 casks are used in this blend. JW Blue Label also ranks as one of the most expensive blended Scotch whiskies readily available on the market coming in at a whopping $225 a bottle.
This whisky has a rich nose of dried fruits, sherry, vanilla, dark toffee and citrus. I barely get smoke on the nose. The palate bursts with flavors of toffee, orange marmalade and sherry notes, followed by cocoa, nuts, old oak and that elegant Johnnie Walker peat smoke. It finishes with sweet dark fruits and citrus, turning a bit dry and smoky.
Johnnie Walker Blue Label isn’t the smoke bomb I’d pictured in my head all these years. Instead, we get a silky, elegant whisky. It comes in a 40% abv, giving the drinker a “smooth” experience. I’d love to see this at 43% or even 46% abv. It would carry more flavor and, at least for this whisky enthusiast, make for a better overall whisky drinking experience. Minor griping aside, this is one exquisite whisky. Highly recommended.