17 May 2019

Johnnie Walker Black Label

Over the last few years the secondary whisky market has well and truly rocketed, along with what seems to be an ever-growing army of whisky auction sites. For many the appeal is to try and cash in on a back of the cupboard spirited curiosity, or to take a chance on bidding for an old dust gathered classic headlined lot.

Whisky auction sites also seem to be increasingly becoming a bit of a flipper’s paradise, with streams of newly released, highly sought-after limited-editions, being instantly put up for sale upon launch, by those hoping to make a pounding of a profit.
Now don’t get me wrong, I love a bargain on the single malt front as much as the next person, but personally the biggest draw for me whisky auction wise over the last couple of years, has been that of all things blended!
From a 1960’s White Horse, a 1970’s Cutty Sark or a 1980’s Teacher’s (yes Teacher’s!) those bygone style of blends are real things of dramming beauty. Sometimes a little rough around the edges - but almost more beautiful for being so, and comprised of whiskies which provide a real lesson in liquid history.
It may not have quite the same rich, dusty old school feel as its older siblings from the 60s, 70s or 80s, but one blended Scotch whisky that well and truly stands the test of time and still has all of its heritage at the heart of every pour, is that of Johnnie Walker Black Label.
The nose: Wafting waves of winter spice, warm treacle tart, sherry-soaked sultanas and assorted citrus peels. Along with protruding but not overpowering puffs of coal smoke, charred oak, anise and vivacious waves of vanilla.
Baked spiced apples, grilled peaches, rich toffee tablet and Cadbury Bournville dark chocolate make for the next set of nasal niceties, along with ready rolled cake icing, walnuts, ground white pepper corns and a tease of some rather tannic black English breakfast tea.
The palate: A wealth of wood spice and coal smoke infused Werther's Original soft caramels, followed by a feisty fruit led frenzy of Frank Cooper's original Oxford orange marmalade, lemon zest, dried apricots, baked figs and more of those sherry-soaked sultanas.

The palatable pleasures then conclude with a generous wedge of bread pudding, granary toast, Cadbury fruit and nut chocolate, a heated hint of Jamaica ginger cake, five spice and the subtlest suggestion of something herbal.

The Finish: A fabulous fruit and spice led finish, that delivers a lingering and harmonious hum of smoke.

Johnnie Walker Black Label, is one of those whiskies that you can well and truly rely and depend on to deliver as an everyday pour. It also makes for a reassuring sight on a plane or on a back bar when travelling.

Retailing for under £30, Johnnie Walker Black Label most definitely falls into the category of being a big bang for buck blended belter!
As far as whisky auctions are concerned, keep your eyes peeled, there are big bargains to be had. Last year I managed to get hold of a 1970’s Johnnie Walker Black Label for just over £40, and it was blissful!