[Review] Johnnie Walker - Green Label 15 years old 43%

After the Black and the Blue, here comes the Green. This is a whisky I have been meaning to try for a long time now at it is supposed to have a nice amount of peat and smoke due to the combination of four key single malts: Linkwwod (light Speyside), Cragganmore (richer Speyside), Talisker (smoky Skye) and Caol Ila (salty & peaty Islay). There is no grain whisky in the Green Label which makes it a Blended malt rather than an actual Blend. It was also aged for a minimum of 15 years. 

I didn't actually think I would get to try the Johnnie Green as it was discontinued in 2012, but Diageo (owner of the Johnnie Walker brand) decided to relaunch it in 2016. And here I am today, with a bottle I picked up for £30 (on offer) of the new Green!

However, I won't be able to compare it to the old bottle. The official launch statement mentions that the recipe has not changed but many a review mention the change of taste between old Green and new Green. As far as I am concerned, I hope to be able to make up my own mind at some point in the future, if I can find an older bottle or a sample of one. But for now, let's focus on the new version.

As I mentioned above, the Green Label is a Blended Malt which was aged for at least 15 years. It was bottled at 43% ABV and I assume it was coloured and chill-filtered too.

Nose: It is rich and sweet with notes of cut grass, fruit -peach in particular- citrus too. Some wood and smoke but I do not really get the Caol Ila salty peat I was expecting...

Palate: Still quite rich and sweet, some spicy and fruity notes, a bit of bitterness, the smoke comes out more than on the nose with hints of walnuts but I still don't really get any of the Caol Ila peat...

Finish: The Caol Ila appears briefly early finish before morphing into a sweet and spicy bitterness. There is still some sweet nuttiness lingering.

With water: The nose is fresher and more acidic with floral notes, the palate is more bitter-sweet and the wood smoke appears on the finish.

Overall, I'll admit I am a bit disappointed with the Green Label. Why? Simply because I love peaty whisky and Caol Ila in particular, and I was expecting this Blended Malt to have more of a peat kick. Don't get me wrong, it isn't a bad whisky, it is actually very enjoyable, but it just didn't match my expectation... I also tried it as a long drink with lime juice, soda water and ice and thought it worked really well bringing more smoke out alongside the citrus.

Next Johnnie Walker for me would probably be the Gold unless I can source some Island Green (travel retail version) which is supposed to be a smokier Green Label with more Caol Ila. Maybe this is my dream Green...


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