EZdrinking

Searching for the world's best drinks and what makes them extraordinary.

Searching for the world's best drinks and what makes them extraordinary. EZdrinking is a drinks blog by Eric Zandona that focuses on distilled spirits, wine, craft beer and specialty coffee. Here you can find reviews of drinks, drink books, articles about current & historical trends, as well as how to make liqueurs, bitters, and other spirit based drinks at home.

Filtering by Tag: Blended Scotch

Review: Johnnie Walker Wine Cask Blended Scotch

Owned by Diageo, Johnnie Walker Blender's Batch Wine Cask Blend Blended Scotch Whisky was distilled and matured in Scotland and bottled at 40% ABV.

AT A GLANCE

  • Brand Owner: Diageo

  • Distillery Unknown Scottish Distilleries

  • Still Type: Column & Pot Stills

  • Spirit Type: Blend of Scottish Grain and Malt Whiskies

  • Age Statement: NAS

  • Strength: 40% ABV

  • Price: $30

For over 100 years Johnnie Walker has been making renowned Blended Scotch Whisky. For much of that time Johnnie Walker was represented by its Red and Black label expressions and in more recent years Johnnie Walker expanded their color series to include Double Black, Green, Gold, Platinum, and Blue Labels. Most of these blends played with ratios of grain and malt, more peat or less peat, and the maturity of the whisky.  While each color had a distinct flavor profile they are all basically in the same wheelhouse.

However, around 2007, Johnnie Walker's Master Blender Jim Beveridge began an experiment, maturing some of their whisky in barrels that previously held other wines and spirits. Blender Aimée Gibson, came upon some of these barrels and created a unique blend of Scottish grain and malt whiskies, some of which included whiskies aged in wine barrels. The Blender's Batch Wine Cask Blend is the sixth experiment in this series, and it was first released in September 2017.

Tasting Notes

Nose: The nose is very pleasant and inviting with notes of vanilla and marmalade with a touch of nectarines and sweet cherries.

Palate: On the palate there is an explosion of fruit with notes of sweet orange, nectarines, plum, and a hint of vanilla balance out with oak tannins.

Finish: The finish medium dry and while initially it is very warm, the warmth quickly fades and leaves the lasting notes of sweet white nectarines, with a touch of oak, vanilla, and a flavor reminiscent of a fruity Riesling. 

Conclusion: This is a really fruity and approachable Johnnie Walker that mellows out nicely with a little ice to cut the heat from the alcohol. Overall, it is a very nice addition to the traditional Johnnie Walker lineup and it demonstrates how much character can come through the cask selection. For less than $30 this is a deal and one of the best new, and affordable whiskies of 2017.

Review: Blended Whisky #1 Batch 5 Blended Scotch Aged 50 Years

Blended Whisky #1 Batch 5 Blended Scotch Whisky Aged 50 Years, blended by That Boutique-y Whisky Company and bottled at 46.6% ABV

Price: $160.04 for 500ml

That Boutique-y Whisky Company is an independent whisky bottler who selects unique whiskies from around the world. Their Blended Whisky #1 was designed to highlight older malt and grain whiskies from Scotland that when blended creates a smooth and well balanced drinking experience. Batch 5 was released in 2017 and the youngest whisky in the blend is 50 years old.

Tasting Notes

Nose: Nose is full of rich aroma of vanilla, cinnamon and rum raisins. Underlying that is a vibrant note of oak and a slightly hint of smoke carried up on the alcohol. 

Palate: The whisky is very smooth for 46.6% ABV and is full bodied. The flavor starts sweet and fruity on the palate and as the whisky warms on the tongue it shows more of its oak character.

Finish: The finish is long and  slightly sweet with notes of plum and dark cherries. As the finish lingers the smoke comes through and mingles nicely with the residual fruitiness. 

Conclusion: This is a very complex blended Scotch that is vastly superior to some of the other very old blended Scotches on the market. This demonstrates that blended Scotch is not an inferior spirit to single malts but a different animal with the capacity for greatness and newance. 

Thank you to Master of Malt and That Boutique-y Whisky Company for providing the free sample.

Review: Blended Whisky #1 Batch 3 Blended Scotch Aged 35 Years

Blended Whisky #1 Batch 3 Blended Scotch Whisky Aged 35 Years, blended by That Boutique-y Whisky Company and bottled at 46.5% ABV

Price: $129.76 for 500ml

That Boutique-y Whisky Company is an independent whisky bottler who selects unique whiskies from around the world. Their Blended Whisky #1 was designed to highlight older malt and grain whiskies from Scotland that when blended creates a smooth and well balanced drinking experience. Batch 3 was released in 2016 and the youngest whisky in the blend was 35 years old.

Tasting Notes

Nose: Initially the nose has a strong alcohol bite but after it has a little time to breath, a very strong and fragrant aroma fills your nose. At first there are notes that remind me of Islay peat with its distinctive combination of smoke, iodine and sea air. And, underneath this first layer of aromas are notes of chocolate, fresh apple, and caramel. 

Palate: The palate is smooth with a light touch of heat from the alcohol and medium bodied. The whisky is pleasantly sweet on the tongue with a flavor that is not immediately obvious but reminds me of sweet corn bread. As the whisky warms in your mouth the flavor begins to reveal some of the smoke character followed by briny sea air.

Finish: The finish is mostly dominated by smoke with underlying notes of malt and a slight nuttiness.  

Conclusion: This is a very complex and flavorful blended Scotch that is easy to drink neat and will likely to appeal to those who prefer a touch more smokiness and peat in their whisky.

Thank you to Master of Malt and That Boutique-y Whisky Company for providing the free sample.

Review: 1970s Johnnie Walker Red Label

Owned and blended by The Distillers Company (now Diageo) Johnnie Walker Red Label Blended Scotch Whisky (1970s) was bottled at 40% and 43% ABV.

Price: Unknow historical price however, current price is between $130-$230 per bottle.

In 1867, Alexander Walker created the blended Scotch brand Old Highland Whisky which was rechristened in 1909 as Johnnie Walker Red Label Blended Scotch Whisky. Blended Scotch is a mix of both grain whiskies and malt whiskies that have been distilled and mature in Scotland for at least 3 years. Grain whiskies are spirits are defined by the EU as a mix of grains such as malted barley, corn, rye, or wheat, distilled on a continuous column still, and matured for at least 3 years. Where as malt whiskies are spirits made from 100% malted barley, pot-distilled, and matured for at least 3 years. 

By the 1920s Johnnie Walker was being sold in 120 countries and had been using the same squared bottle and angled label for about 50 years.  In 1925, Johnnie Walker was acquired by The Distillers Company and by the 1970s Johnnie Walker Red Label was the most popular Scotch whisky sold in the world. While it is would great to know what whiskies went into the Red Label Blend in the 1970s as compared to today, sadly Johnnie Walker does not make that information public. Nevertheless, I'm grateful to David T. Smith for providing me a sample.

Tasting Notes

Nose: The nose greeted me with the aroma of fresh baked biscuits and honey with undertones of fruit carried on bright notes of alcohol.

Palate: The palate was smooth, had a medium body that was slightly warm. 70s Red Label tasted nutty like roasted cashews and had a light sweetness that balanced nicely with notes of spice, oak, and smoke with a little briny sea air.

Finish: The finish is long with lasting notes of brine and smoke mixed oak and sweet cherry.

Conclusion: It was surprising to me how fresh and vibrant Red Label tasted after all this time. 70s Red Label was a tasty blended Scotch whisky that demonstrates the skill of the blender to create a lighter whisky that still retains plenty of character. Johnnie Walker has clearly been putting out high quality whiskies for quite some time so there is understandable why they sold over 17 million 9-liter cases in 2016.