Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Johnnie Walker Blue

This is without doubt the most expensive whisky to have ever troubled my liver. Johnnie Walker Blue Label is about as "premium" as it gets (at least, before the point at which one starts attending auctions) and I've long wondered what, if you don't mind me saying so, the fuss was all about. Fortunately for me, and vicariously you, dear reader, my friend T was gifted a bottle and I almost leapt at his offer to try a dram or two.

The first thought that occured to me, once I'd stopped salivating over the beautiful blue-green bottle, was that this whisky is a blend, when so much is usually made of the supremacy of single malts. I suppose when every malt you're blending is of the highest order - and older than your average pop star - it makes little sense to defend the purity of unmixed single malts like some 20th century racist.

The second thing to record, on sniffing the glass, was that JWB produces next to no aroma. At least, if it had one it went undetected by my nose and those of my companions. The initial taste was smooth and nutty, like almonds, and yet there was little discernable sign of the promised "explosion of flavours" - until I swallowed, and "the finish" started, the heat of the spirit spreading gently but inexorably to the back of the throat and down towards the heart for 1, 2, 3 seconds, or longer.

"It's all about the finish", said T, knowledgably, and I wouldn't argue. "It's like waiting for an episode of Hollyoaks to end," said M, and I think I know what he meant.

Is it worth spending £170 for 0.7 litres of Johnnie Walker Blue? No, of course not. But would I like to taste this whisky every day for the rest of my life - and beyond? Certainly.

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