At last, the final entry in my Johnnie Walker series, the oft-gifted Johnnie Walker Blue Label. Like it or not, it’s the one recognizable luxury whisky that’s effortlessly found. This is my first time tasting the Blue Label and expectations are high. But should they be?
Pour: Johnnie Walker Blue Label
Age: not stated
Color: light amber
Nose: white grape, floral essence, smoky melon
Taste: savory honey, graham cracker, faint earthy spice
Finish: moderately long w/ charred golden apple, white pepper, leather
Overall: Taking price out of the equation, Johnnie Walker Blue Label is a respectable pour – flavorful and well balanced. Unfortunately, I’m having a difficult time justifying $225. For me, the 18-year is superior, followed closely by the Green Label.
Rating: Mild blues.
And now, the penultimate review in my Johnnie Walker series, Johnnie Walker Aged 18 Years. I’ve passed over this whisky countless times – always curious, but never biting until recently. I have a hard time believing it will best the Green Label, but one never knows. Sláinte!
Pour: Johnnie Walker Aged 18 Years
Age: 18 years
Nose: apple juice, boozy pear, maraschino cherry
Taste: smoky white fruit, frosted animal cracker, Necco wafer
Finish: moderately short w/ light char, savory vanilla, white pepper
Overall: A well-crafted blend with a nose, taste, and texture that sets it apart from other expressions in the core Johnnie Walker lineup. At $90 it’s not exactly cheap, but for an 18-year whisky from a longstanding brand, you’re paying for what you get.
Yesterday, I shared my thoughts on the widely popular Crown Royal Deluxe. Today, I’m tasting the similarly specced, yet doubly priced Crown Royal Reserve. The Reserve expression touts itself as a “hand-picked” blend of the producer’s “best barrels.” *The* best? We shall see.
Pour: Crown Royal Reserve Blended Canadian Whisky
Age: not stated
Nose: vanilla syrup, apple peel, salted caramel
Taste: toffee drizzle, toasted oak, light baking spice
Finish: moderate length – singed marshmallow, creme brûlée, nutmeg
Overall: If these truly are the best barrels Crown Royal has available, I’m unimpressed. Blown smoke aside, Crown Royal Reserve is a decent blended whisky. Definitely more complex and interesting than the Deluxe expression, though I’d appreciate more for $50.
Rating: Lady B.
I have no data to back this up, but based on my regular visits to local liquor stores, Crown Royal Deluxe must be the best-selling whisky in America. And I get it. It’s available, relatively inexpensive, eye-catching, and frequently referenced in pop culture. But is there more?
Pour: Crown Royal Deluxe Blended Canadian Whisky
Age: not stated
Nose: light vanilla, graham cracker, confectioners sugar
Taste: sweet pear, Ladyfingers, muted floral spice
Finish: moderately short – Necco wafer, mild oak, white pepper
Overall: It’s got inoffensive down, I’ll give it that. In fact, Crown Royal Deluxe may be the most inoffensive whisky around. Outside of that, there’s not much left to say. Virtually no complexity or character – an ideal whisky for an ice-cold glass of Coke.
Rating: Lady C.