Scotch Whisky Review #290-292: Johnnie Walker Blue Label Vertical (Blue, 1990s Blue, The Casks Edition)
This review is a part 1 of 2 of a Johnnie Walker Blue Label vertical I did (part 2 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.
Scotch Whisky Review #290: Johnnie Walker Blue Label
Price: $20 for a 50 mL miniature.
Nose: Quite aromatic. Menthol, spearmint, eucalyptus. Hint of smoke. Dash of fruit, apples come through.
Palate: Simple. Very easy to drink, very easy. There’s a puff of sweet smoke, but only a puff. Hint of aromatics with a menthol. Malt liquor. Not a ton going on but perfectly drinkable.
Finish: Short. Cream. Not a ton going on here.
Final Score: 70.
Scotch Whisky Review #291: Johnnie Walker Blue Label (1990s Bottling)
Nose: Oh it’s quite bright! There’s a ton of green grapes here along with some cardamom and other aromatics.
Palate: Even easier to drink than the newer version. Not ton going on. Really flavorless actually. Hint of sweet smoke.
Finish: Short. Menthol. Cardamom.
Final Score: 60.
Scotch Whisky Review #291: Johnnie Walker Blue Label The Casks Edition
Price: Sample courtesy of /u/I_SAID_NO_GOLDFISH
Nose: You can smell the higher alcohol content compared to the last two. A bit of a near-hand sanitizer-esque bite. Wafting smoke. Sweet fruits, lots of fruits. Green apple, green grapes, peaches, apricots, and a bit of bosc pears.
Palate: Much like the nose, quite bright and fruity. Tons of apple and pear here along with more orchard fruits. With water, a hint of berry (couldn’t place it, strawberry?) comes out as well.
Finish: Medium in length. Orchard fruits and cream. With water, a chocolate malt comes out that is quite tasty.
Final Score: 81.
Conclusion: Johnnie Walker Blue Label might just be the most iconic scotch whisky in the world. If it isn’t the most, it’s surely high up there. I’ve had the regular Blue Label in the past and seem to recall it being very easy to drink but otherwise unimpressive. Having assembled a few version of this whisky, I figured I’d give them a nice side by side comparison. The modern and older blue label share one thing in common: they’re incredibly easy to drink and as a result, perhaps, they are virtually flavorless. The noses on both are quite nice and aromatic with some fruits here and there but really there’s barely any flavor going on at all. I was surprised at the older one being even more flavorless given the reputation that older blends have and a slightly higher ABV. I’ve rated both of these less than I did Johnnie Walker’s Black Label by virtue of the Black actually having some substance while these two blues having virtually nothing. The Casks Edition, bottled at a respectable 55.8% ABV, does contain quite a nice amount of flavor though while still being quite easy drinking. The nose teases a bright and fruity whisky and the palate actually delivers. The bit of chocolate malt that lingers with some water is quite nice as well. Would I buy any of these bottles though? Well, I do have some friends who go bonkers whenever they see a bottle of Blue Label, I’d keep one around just for them but otherwise all of them are a solid pass.
Scotch Whisky Review #290-292, Blended Review #17-19, Whisky Network Review #433-435
- 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.