Scotch Review #81: Johnnie Walker Blue Label Ghost and Rare Brora
Distillery: Blend of 8 distilleries. 3 are closed (“Ghost”) and are Brora, Pittyvaich, and Cambus. 5 are open (“Rare”) and are Clynelish, Glenlossie, Royal Lochnagar, Cameronbridge, and Glenkinchie.
Price: $300 (marked down from $400)
Color: 1.2, Chestnut/Oloroso Sherry. It is chill filtered and has had color added.
Nose: It starts out with a whiff of caramel and of dark honey. Following the syrupy sweetness, you get a really bright note of pineapple and of pear. There’s a tad bit of oak spice linger in the rear as well.
Palate: The mouthfeel is incredibly silky and smooth. It’s a slightly sweet, but not overly so. There’s a lot of caramel accompanied by quite the array of smaller notes. There’s a hint of pineapple, a bit of hot freshly made apple sauce, a slight nutty note, and an ever-so-tiny bit of sweet peat. Toffee and dark chocolate shavings show themselves towards the end, which is really nice. After a bit of water is added, there is a waxy note that comes out.
Finish: Medium in length, which is a tad disappointing. The dark chocolate shavings from the palate linger and are joined with some dark sugar and ginger. The very end includes reminds me of tannins.
Conclusion: Oh where to begin with this. I’ve recently had the absolute pleasure of trying a bottling from old Brora and just when I was thinking I’d never own anything from there ever, this guy popped up on sale near me. It was a bit impulsive and it is also the most I’ve ever spent on a whisky. I’ve also not yet told the wife, which is why she’s notably absent from the nosing section.
It is at the end of the day a Johnnie Walker so while I hoped for much, I went into this dram expecting to be let down. With Diageo being Diageo, there’s no actual information on how much Brora (or Pittyvaich/Cambus for that matter) is actually in this version. They do single out Brora quite heavily so hopefully there’s a decent bit in here.
As for the whisky itself, I have to say it is fantastic. The nose teases some dark sugars along with some fresh pineapple. The palate really follows through with loads of lovely little notes including some pineapple and a bit of lovely light, sweet peat. The slightly gritty finish with dark chocolate, dark sugar, and tannins is a nice way to round up this dram. Several of the notes in here line up quite well with the Brora 30 year I’ve had, particularly the pineapple, dark sugars, and sweet peat though it could be the mind playing tricks on me. I do wish there was a bit less of the caramel in here and more of the other notes but it feels like it’s a bit of a blank canvas that the other notes are being painted upon.
Would I buy another bottle? Maybe if it was a little closer to $200, this was still a bit steep in my eyes. But it is a fantastic dram.
Final Score: 90.
Scotch Whisky review #81, Blended Whisky #6 , Whisky Network Review #105
Quick note, I realized while doing the Review Analysis yesterday that I forgot I had posted a few reviews and hadn’t upped my review count appropriately. It should be right now.
- 96-100: The perfect dram, nectar of the gods.
- 90-95: Near perfect, there is something truly special about this whisky.
- 85-89: Amazing, will always try to keep a bottle of this in my collection (if feasible).
- 80-84: Very Good, maybe only one minor nitpick about the whisky keeping it here.
- 75-79: Good, quite enjoyable to drink.
- 70-74: Solid, wouldn’t go out of my way to get it.
- 60-69: Meh, still drinkable.
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