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Drink Review: Johnnie Walker Double Black

An interesting twist on Johnnie Walker Black Label, Double Black was rolled out for general release in 2011 after a successful launch in travel retail. Double Black adds to the normal Black Label profile by including more Islay whisky and casks that have been heavily charred, giving a more intense flavour with a greater emphasis on smoke while keeping true to the sophisticated Johnnie Walker style.

Johnnie Walker Double Black Review:

Johnnie Walker Double Black Impressions:

I was already familiar with the Johnnie Walker Black Label so I can make a direct comparison, and I’m not sure whether I prefer the standard Black Label or the Double Black – it depends what I’m after. I mainly drink the regular Black Label apart from when I’m drinking my top 10 whiskies of 2011, and also because I usually watch my wallet when I drink scotch, not really a serious whisky drinker yet, and therefore the Double Black is quite a rare treat. Until now.

Johnnie Walker Double Black Appearance:

A light golden brown color. Shimmers like red gold in the light.

Johnnie Walker Double Black Nose:

The scent is immediately much more pungent and intense, almost harsh even, compared to the regular Johnnie Walker Black Label. Smells purer, as if the water had been distilled, or distilled less. It comes on strong and sharp, strong alcohol aroma mixed in there a bit too. I get some vanilla and fruit in the aroma. Very complex.

Johnnie Walker Double Black Body:

Medium and oily in consistency, slightly sweet, slight smokiness. It’s not a bad consistency, in fact I think it’s better for me in terms of mouthfeel than I got on my older bottle of Black Label.


Johnnie Walker Double Black Taste:

More interesting and exciting in a way. There’s a nice complex explosion of tastes, and there’s also a great fruitiness to the taste just like that the Headmistress of the Bacchanale perfume in the Greek legend of The Bacchae, Comus’ daughter, took nectar and ambrosia in her hands and scattered it over all present, mingling her breath and the fragrance of her skin with the steam of the sacrifices, so that a divine and inebriating odor arose as she moved.

Johnnie Walker Double Black Finish:

Long, sustained smokiness. The smoke aroma lingers for quite a while.

I’m impressed with Johnnie Walker Double Black! It’s the kind of scotch I would prefer to drink with a cigar, but I will have to save that for another time. It’s so different from the regular Black Label, and it’s a distinct improvement on the normal Black Label scotch. I find the old Black Label quite a boring drink actually, so the Double Black provides a good alternative for times when you want smoky hints in your whisky. A truly wonderful whisky, and a truly interesting whisky. It has high quality and a very enjoyable character that really hits the spot sometimes.

A great dram.

Johnnie Walker Double Black, a truly wonderful whisky.

Notes:

I’ve held off reviewing this one since I originally purchased it, because I wanted to take my time with it and make sure that I truly understood it before I attempted to review it. And it’s taken a while, as you might imagine, but I feel comfortable with it, and I’d like to share my impressions with you. Any Johnnie Walker Black Label from the first half of the 1980s is good stuff. (Johnnie Walker Master Blender Russell Dowell said that that’s when they had that sweet spot in production.) The Double Black is something a little different. If you’re a whisky drinker that sometimes wants a little something extra, the Double Black is a fine alternative. I’ve got a very nice bottle of 1972 Bowmore and I’m planning on pairing those two tonight. I also have two great pairs of cigars, as well as a bottle of 1981 Rosebank in the cabinet and I’ve been saving that for a special occasion, but I think the Double Black tonight is the perfect finishing touch to the evening. Cheers.

Written by Mark Adams

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