Johnnie Walker Double Black Review

Man, it’s like I forgot there was a blog around here. I guess there’s something about a newborn baby that distracts a man from writing.

Some time ago, I received a package from Johnnie Walker, sent to me for review purposes. Inside was a bottle of Johnnie Walker Black, two rocks glasses, coasters, and a bottle of the walking man’s newest offering, Johnnie Walker Double Black. Released last year into the duty-free market, Double Black makes its U.S. debut in time for holiday entertaining and gift giving.

I’ve grown very fond of ol’ John over the last few years, so I was eager to try this. At first, I wasn’t impressed. You see, the idea behind Double Black is to bring more of the smoky smoothness of an Islay malt to the Walker mix, while still retaining the sweet but complex maltiness that makes Johnnie Johnnie. I have to admit, on my first sip, I thought the idea was better in theory than in execution. I love a smoky scotch and would go miles out of my way for Laphroaig or Compass Box’s Peat Monster.

And maybe that’s where I set up myself, and Double Black, to fail. At first I felt that John’s new dram was schizophrenic, smoothly sweet and smoky but in a way that failed to highlight the best aspects of both. But as I tried it again (and again), I came to a different conclusion. As I taste the new blend now, it reminds me on first sip of vanilla and toffee with light heather notes. The smoke now seems more integrated and–forgive me for using this word, but it’s accurate–holistic. Some whiskies just need some attention before you can appreciate them.

4 thoughts on “Johnnie Walker Double Black Review

  1. I revisited JW Black at a recent wedding, and once you start exploring the world of single malts, blends just seem to fall flat. Pleasant and smooth perhaps, but they leave me scratching my head wondering what there is to get excited about.

    1. I enjoy them for different purposes. I don’t really like a single malt before dinner, for example, but I’ll happily drink a blend then. And although I don’t think it’s sacrilege, as some do, to mix single malts into cocktails, I still prefer to use blends for that purpose.

  2. I don’t really care for major maker brands of Scotch. Now the Blackadder- that is my kind of slurp. Or perhaps the Murray McDavid offerings. But if you can find it at the liquor store, I really won’t seek it out.

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