I found myself over at a friends this past November to watch the fights, eat some great food and sample a few different scotches in between rounds. He’s been a long time fan of Johnnie Walker and had a selection of each of their blends for me to taste. After much deliberation I chose his favourite, the 18 year old Gold Label, to post as this months Scotch of the Month.
I haven’t written about many blends and can’t say that I have had the opportunity to sample them on a regular basis, but this one may change my ways in this department. There seem to be a number of misconceptions around blends, but I believe a blend is on par with a single malt. A blend is the marriage of a number of single malts which “leads to interesting distinctive flavours that goes beyond the already excellent whisky that the distillery is producing”, as stated by the Johnnie Walker master blender.
I’ll write more on blends and their relevance later, but for now we’ll get down to tasting this scotch.
This scotch, not surprisingly, has a rich golden colour that resonates an heir of indulgence. It’s qualities are luxurious throughout and is a very well rounded scotch.
The nose is prominent, but is far from overpowering. It is relatively soft around the edges with cream and honey standing out and a light spice.
In the palate it’s silky, light texture comes forth. Flavours of honey and fruit are present before it warms your tongue and slides down smooth and rich. It is quite distinctive in that there is a creaminess paired with a light almost mint overtone, which I’m sure wouldn’t be possible to achieve in a single malt.
The finish, as with the rest of this experience, is gentle and delicate, but decidedly satisfying and worth the wait. The smoke starts to come out here and leaves you with a soft, slightly smoke, honey toned flavour. Which in turn leaves you ready for your next sip.
There is an interesting story around this particular blend. It was originally produced to celebrate the first 100 years of the House of Walker in 1920. It has actually only been available outside the company since the 1990s. Which is why it is referred to as the Centenary Blend.
Through the combination of 15 single malts, including Cardhu and Clynelish (two very different malts), Johnnie Walker has produced a remarkable blend that is vastly complex yet remains delicate and subtle. As my friend who introduced me to this would say “Gold is Great” and blends are scotches too.
Find out more about this scotch and Johnnie Walker’s other labels at their company website: http://www.johnniewalker.com/.
If you have tried this scotch, please leave me a comment and let me know what you thought of it!