I know we recently did a Johnnie Walker as a group, but this was another gift to the lounge that we’ve got to discuss. This is a Rye cask finished whiskey which is notable for thankfully not being sherry. The scotch overall is fairly good, but is best treated as something worth trying, and for Rye fans a joy. The rest of the time though – move along.
The idea of choosing different casks to age whiskey or in this case finish is a novelty that’s really become a large part of the industry. If beers like Innis and Gunn are doing it, then surely one of the most well known scotch brands should also be doing it. While the effort is appreciated, and no doubt well done for Rye – it leaves much to be desired
What they Say: (Bottle) “Smooth blended scotch whisky aged in first-fill American oak casks and finished in Ex-Rye whiskey casks for a distinctive flavour.
(Box) Johnnie Walker thrives on on experimentation: from the early days of John Walker first blending whiskies to the many unique blends created today, the history of Johnnie Walker is one of pioneering spirit. We believe that whisky is ever evolving and experimental in nature, and we are pleased to present our very own rye cask finished Blended Scotch Whisky.
Matured for 10 years in first fill American oak casks and finished in casks formerly used to age rye whiskeys, this full-bodied whisky has complex layers of flavor, with hints of spice and vanilla woven into the smooth texture of Johnnie Walker. Crafted for your enjoyment straight up, on the rocks , or as a great addition to the cocktail. “
Taste: 6.0 – On the initial sip there, the first response was ‘lot’s to unpack there’. There’s some sweetness and an immediate rye whiskey down the throat. You get some elements of a scotch, but not enough.
Aftertaste: 6.5 – Here you get a bit more of a heat and rye like flavor, a kind of nose-tingling sensation. It’s great, but if you sold this as rye vs. a scotch we’d be talking differently.
Burn/Smooth: 4.0 – It nearly punches you, and I’m calling that under burn although it works with the other two in tandem. It also doesn’t have a nice warmth that lingers to it.
Aroma: 7.0 – That smells like a rye-finished scotch. That seems like a simple statement, but often the result is harder than it sounds. It’s very easy to have other over powering smells or flavors, and you don’t want to seem just like a rye. Well done here.
Honesty: 7.5 – For Johnnie Walker (especially lately) this is quite restrained on text, and is better for it. It’s better for a company to acknowledge this as an experiment, and not some specialty. They also don’t get too wanky, and it’s overall got a lot of good Johnnie Walker cred.
W/ Rocks: 5.0 – The power! The absolute power! There’s so much rye and scotch flavor and it’s intense. Certainly wouldn’t say it’s desirable as something to continue drinking, but it’s worth a glass.
Value: 5.0 – That is on the low side for scotch so the value is – and Double Black is 5 dollars cheaper. So I guess you get what you pay for overall, but just go get Double Black
Google Shop Average: $45
Metric Score: 41/70 |+| Metric Average: 5.86 |+| Reviewer Average: 5.0
Final Thoughts: In the least mean way – this is a scotch that exists. That seems harsh, but really that’s the extent of this. While Rye is not novel or maligned unless you are a huge fan of it – you aren’t likely to be a fan of this. While glad JW is doing new stuff, this is never going to be bought again which paints a rather sad story.