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Any One for a Scotch? - Page 233

post #3481 of 3492
Originally Posted by patrickBOOTH View Post

What's the deal with Johnnie Walker? Are they any good, or are they the Allen Edmonds seconds of scotch?

It's a blended whiskey, versus single malt, which is what most of us have been discussing.

Blended whiskeys are mixes of whiskeys from different distilleries. The advantage of a blend is that you can more easily balance out more extreme characteristics of each individual whiskey. Also, it can be done with exceptional consistency. That's why Johnny Walker Black or Platinum or Blue or whatever always tastes the same.

A single malt is composed of whiskey from just one distillery. It is harder to balance out extreme characteristics, but enthusiasts would say that this allows for more interesting and expressive whiskey. Still, single malts are "blended" in their own way: the distillery selects different whiskeys from different barrels of different ages to get the desired result.

Beyond single malt, there is single barrel or single cask. A single cask whiskey is whiskey from exactly one barrel/cask. They tend to be even more hit or miss, as you might imagine.
post #3482 of 3492
Interesting, seems like single malt, or single cask is akin to a wine vintage. How is Johnnie Walker objectively?
post #3483 of 3492
Originally Posted by patrickBOOTH View Post

Interesting, seems like single malt, or single cask is akin to a wine vintage. How is Johnnie Walker objectively?

Not sure there is an objective answer. Johnnie Walker Blue is excellent quality whiskey. It's just not very interesting to me.
post #3484 of 3492
Tonight's dram

post #3485 of 3492
Originally Posted by patrickBOOTH View Post

Interesting, seems like single malt, or single cask is akin to a wine vintage. How is Johnnie Walker objectively?

Assuming you're talking about any of the serious Johnnie Walker labels (Blue, Gold, Black) and not the cheap stuff, they're objectively well done for what they are. They're just not all that interesting, certainly for the money. They're one of those whiskies that you drink and says "It's good," and then can't really describe what you liked about it.
post #3486 of 3492
Originally Posted by indesertum View Post

I don't really like the latest batches of abunadh. They taste young and harsh to me even with dilution. And I pretty much only drink cask strength whisk(e)ys. A little one dimensional and overloaded. Wasn't abunadh one of the early NASes that they used to dump old stock in? I feel like the older label ones have better balance even with similar proof. Maybe that's just the douche in me

Macallan 18 I think is a great intro to SMS if you are a blended scotch drinker.

If you like glendronach you should really look for benriach (I think it's their parent company. Somebody correct me if I'm wrong). I feel like they're relatively underrated and can be a better value and they also do a lot of sherried whiskeys. The older ones used to be not as thick but I feel like the newer 12 is a bit more similar to glendronach in richness

Thought the exact same thing when I had a new bottle of the A'Bunadh recently, so I totally disagree with the 'if you don't like A'Bunadh then maybe whisky isn't for you' sentiment.

As for the Mac 18, there have been certain years that I've really liked, and others that have just been good. That said -- and much like everyone else here -- there are a bunch of other sherried single malts that are much less expensive that I probably enjoy more than any Mac 18.
post #3487 of 3492
IMO, JW is aiming for smoothness and consistency. Neither of which are something that I really care about. They're quite similar to cognac bottlers in that they're aiming to repeat the same taste because the taste is their signature.

That being said, I think JW Gold is a pretty good scotch and more interesting than Blue, neither or which are something I reach for over most single malts.

I'm not on the Glendronich wagon, too heavy on the sherry for my taste.

Aberlour is damned good, but not in my regular rotation. I've been reaching for sherried Islays generally.
post #3488 of 3492
Not sure if anyone has tried JW Green label, but it's a good single malt blend. A nice Islay take on JW...
post #3489 of 3492
i taste more of the grain whisky than islay in green. im not a fan of my bottle. an odd diesel taste to it and not enough caol ila for me.

i like blends. i think it takes a lot of skill to balance all the distilleries. with SMS you typically a few dominant flavors. with blends you get a little bit of everything. like you buy glendronach and you expect a sherry bomb. you buy laphroaig and you expect a iodiney smoke bomb. you buy JW or chivas and you expect a little bit of smoke, a little sherry, a little honey, a little bit of floral spices, a little brininess

with blends you're trusting more the palate of the master blender, whereas with SMS you're trusting more the terroir and tradition

i think it boils down to an aesthetic preference

JW used to be a fantastic deal. you couldn't buy 18 year old SMS for less than $110 and JW gold was like $70 with a ton of that lovely clynelish character. now prices are pretty much in line.

imo all distilleries (scotch or not, blended or not) aim for consistency and generally aim for smoothness. you dont see huge vintage variations in either blends or SMS. also cask strength is relatively uncommon

i dont quite understand why the default response to blended scotches is that they're boring or uninteresting. interesting beverages to me signifies that they have depths of flavor where you keep tasting new and different things every time you sip it. a lot of the younger SMS especially from expressive regions like islay are very one dimensional. you have a sip and you pretty much know what the next sip will taste like. what makes the older SMS (especially ones that have been in multiple barrels) interesting is that they continually engage your mind and remind you of different things. and i feel like blends emulate that complexity using different distilleries instead of relying on age. some are good and some are bad, but that's the same with SMS.

kind of like the pepsi challenge where people preferred pepsi if they only had a sip of it, but it turns out people prefer a can of coke over a can of pepsi. like the NAS stuff is really interesting on first sip, but i get tired of them after a dram or two whereas good blends make me want to drink the whole bottle in one sitting.
post #3490 of 3492
I should clarify my point. Blended whiskies aim at reproducing their same flavour exactly where single malts will vary more over time. This is practically speaking, theortically they're both trying to maintain the same flavour from batch to batch. I suppose blends hit their mark more often because they have much more variety to work with.
post #3491 of 3492
I'm not an expert or anything but seems to me the big distilleries also try to make their regular lineup taste exactly the same every year. IMO the variation comes in with additions to the new lineup and discontinuing of products and also with IB bottlings. Like I don't recall much vintage variation with regular products like Laga 16 or Mac 18 but I do feel like there is variation with the NASes
post #3492 of 3492
Yep their business is consistency @ scale
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