Scotch Whisky Review #366: Johnnie Walker Blue Label Ghost & Rare Port Ellen
Distillery: Blend of Port Ellen, Caledonian, Carsebridge, Mortlach, Dailuaine, Cragganmore, Blair Athol and Oban.
Price: Sample courtesy of /u/L_Tyrion
Color: 1.2, Chestnut/Oloroso Sherry or as /u/dustbunna put it “Diageo Gold”.
This particular review was done blind with the only hint being “Scotch Blend”.
Nose: It’s definitely lightly peated as you get a bit of the maritime peat character in a little bit of smoke and a little bit of salty sea air. There’s some boozey fruit notes that are grape centered. Sherry, icewine, fortified wine all come to mind. A little bit of candlewax and a little bit of grass come through as well.
Palate: Without water, it’s got a little bit of oaky pepperiness and a bit of heat. Very grain forward with a lot of standard grain whisky sweets. With water, it opens up to a lot of fruit. Orchard fruits, to be precise, in the form of apples and pears.
Finish: Quite long. Those notes of icewine and fortified wine come through again along with some tannins. A bit of butter and cream (but not buttercream) wrap things up.
Guess: The hint was Scotch Blend. From an ABV perspective, I think it has to be sitting between 45 and 50%. My guess would be a 46% that comes off a touch hotter than it should. Cask type I’d guess mostly bourbon and maybe a handful of sherry casks? Definitely has a large grain component to this blend. I’m gonna go with Compass Box but not a damn clue which one it is.
Reveal: Johnnie Walker Blue Label Ghost & Rare Port Ellen
Conclusion: Well I’ll be. This is one I had before and man the experience was quite different. The boozey wine-y notes from the nose are still there but the maritime peat notes really help elevate it along with a little bit of candlewax. The palate come across lacking smoke this time and instead has a lot more fruity notes in its place. The finish is much longer this time as well, with similar creamy notes as the first time but also with a lot more of the boozey, wine-y notes coming through. This probably speaks a lot to palate fatigue, as the last time I had the Ghost & Rare Port Ellen was at the end of a 5 way Johnnie Walker Blue vertical. I’m glad to have had another swing at this one as it definitely stands up better on its own than after being barraged with its cousins.
Final Score: 82.
Scotch Whisky Review #366, Blended Review #22, Whisky Network Review #519
- 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.