Whisky Review: Johnnie Walker Gold Label Reserve, Blended Scotch Whisky
Onwards we go with the closet cleanout project! In the third in this brief series reviewing the core range of the Johnnie Walker whiskies, I’m taking a look at the Johnnie Walker Gold Label Reserve. Although, the Gold Label Reserve has been around for quite a while, this recent iteration is a relatively new format. In the past, the Gold Label Reserve was an 18-year old bottling, but due to a reported strain on available reserves, Johnnie Walker dropped the age statement, while also raising the price…..and then followed up with the release of the Platinum Label 18-year old. Hmmm…..
Anyway, I’ve tried the Gold Label Reserve several times and, SPOILER ALERT!, find this to be probably my favorite of the core offerings.
Review: Johnnie Walker Gold Label Reserve, Blended Scotch Whisky, 40% abv, Bottled 2016, L6034DN000 00953692
Color: standard amber-gold
Nose: (N) Very fruity nose full of ripe red apples, purple plums, and strawberry, a hint of pineapple, along with a touch of lime. Beeswax. A soft floral, orange blossom and rosewater aspect. With time, a growing note of warm bread. There is some vanilla, but it is very restrained. Black pepper, oiled leather, and a subtle touch of campfire smoke. (W) A couple of small drops of water brings out a very nice tropical fruit note – the pineapple and a touch of kiwi. Apples and beeswax, vanilla cream, hints of pepper and lime, along with some fresh mint. With more time, I also get some honey and a bit of cardamom
Taste: (N) The body is a bit thin, slightly watery on the arrival. The palate follows the nose with the apple-filled start. There is something metallic and slightly bitter in the middle. Green peppers, orange pith bringing a dry aspect, and leather. Slightly waxy. The peat smoke I picked up on the nose doesn’t really show up here. (W) A tad more vanilla with the water at first, and then again toward the back. The fruits remain prominent, but it also retains the bready, waxy, and floral notes.
Finish: Apples and warm bread, hint of lemon, a bit grassy and with a slightly bitter, tannic ending.
Overall: A rather enjoyable nose with big fruits and a reasonable complexity. One downside is that the body is a bit on the thin side. Certainly, the Gold Label Reserve presents a very different experience from the Black Label (reviewed here) with the lack of peat smoke, so it might be considered more alike to the Red Label. However the Gold Label Reserve, by far, has a broader spectrum of flavors, better balance, and a much more “polished” profile than the Red Label.
Type: Blended Scotch Whisky
Age: No Age Statement
Maturation: Not disclosed – Various
Availability: Readily available
Sample Source: My own bottle