Johnnie Walker Blue Ghost & Rare Port Ellen

Scotch Whisky Review #293: Johnnie Walker Blue Ghost & Rare Port Ellen

Distillery: Blend of Port Ellen, Caledonian, Carsebridge, Mortlach, Dailuaine, Cragganmore, Blair Athol and Oban.

Region: Blend

Age: NAS.

ABV: 43.8%

Price: Sample courtesy of /u/I_SAID_NO_GOLDFISH.

Color: 1.2, Chestnut/Oloroso Sherry or as /u/dustbunna put it “Diageo Gold”.

This review is a part 2 of 2 of a Johnnie Walker Blue Label vertical I did (part 1 is here). The 5 versions that I stacked up against each other are the modern Blue Label, a 1990s Blue Label, The Casks Edition, Ghost & Rare Port Ellen, and Ghost & Rare Brora. All 5 of them had the exact same color, which was expected but still a bit shocking to see.

I did taste the Ghost & Rare Brora along side this one, my thoughts on that whisky can be found here.

Nose: Much like the other Johnnie Walker Blue’s I’ve had today, this one is quite aromatic. Menthol and cardamom are coming through aplenty. There’s a slightly boozey fruity note that reminds me a lot of Korean plum wine (maesil-ju/매실주) and extract (maeshil-chung/매실청). Right towards the back is a light flowery note of heather which is nice and refreshing.

Palate: It’s quite light on the tongue. There is a slight herbiness here with a ground dried herb mix and a slight oakiness as well. A bit of smoke wafts through but not a lot going on. With a little bit of water, maritime peat notes come out a bit in the form of seaweed with a splash of smoke. Some earthy malt rounds things up. It’s all very mild in flavor though.

Finish: Fairly short. There’s a brief note of a peaty malt biscuits followed by some cream.

Conclusion: Having never had a normal Port Ellen, I can’t say how well Diageo has presented that distillery in this special blend of Blue Label. The nose is very similar to the normal Blue Label’s I had alongside it with aromatics in droves along with some fruit. A drop of water does release some maritime peaty notes, though it is quite mild, which does set it apart a bit, but really there’s just not enough going on to really make things interesting. It’s all super slight and super subtle, which is a disappointment. Perhaps if they’d bottled this at a similar proof as the Brora edition (bottled at 46% vs 43.8%), some more flavor would’ve come out. As it stands, it’s decent but very far from anything amazing.

Final Score: 77.

Scotch Whisky Review #293, Blended Review #20, Whisky Network Review #436

Scoring Legend:

  • 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.
  • Below 59: If you have a bottle of this, start cooking with it instead.

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