Single malt whisky - tasting notes

07 Nov 2013

Johnnie Walker Blue label

Tasting notes by Ruben Luyten - Posted in * Blends

The Blue one…


Johnnie Walker Blue LabelJohnnie Walker Blue Label (40%, OB)

Nose: surprising amounts of toffee, with a sharpish / acidic side to it as well. Cereal notes (bread), some dried fruits and orange peel. Berries. Some lime. Vanilla. Give it some time and it develop into a decent blended nose. Mouth: medium bodied, nice enough, with toasted notes, grains and citrus. Quite a lot of floral notes alongside the soft sherry. Berries and ginger. Toffee. Good balance of sweet, spicy and acidic, but a bit characterless if you ask me (a bit of everything but nothing in particular). Fades on oak and citrus tea. Finish: not too long, returning to the grainy notes, with ginger and a slight zesty note.

It’s smooth and balanced, but it’s not a very proud blend, if you know what I mean. Although we expected a bit more at this price point, Johnnie Walker Blue Label isn’t conceived as a high quality whisky, it’s aimed at people who can simply spend more money and want to make this clear by buying something ‘premium’. At around € 150, I can think of a whole list of single malts which offer more individuality and intensity.

Score: 81/100

Johnnie Walker Blue label 3 Ruben Luyten 2013-11-07
  • Chad

    I lose respect for every reviewer who bashes on JW Blue. Yes it’s over priced but still its a very nice whisky, and I have a collection of 65 Single Malts…I love them all from Islay to Speyside…and the blends to. JW Blue is not better nor worse…simply a different type of dram that amplifies smoothness and subtlety of rounded flavor. I’m convinced reviewers most reviewers have jumped on the bandwagon of reverse snobbery because it’s an easy target in hopes to sound intelligent when reviewing malts. Reminds me of many years ago when you were an idiot if you didn’t believe in free trade…now we know that wasn’t so accurate but it was so vogue, and so it is recently to bash Johnnie…especially the iconic Blue. Folks don’t buy into this reverse snobbery…maybe I can’t recommend you buy a bottle of JW Blue because it doesn’t have a good price/quality ratio but it will be one of the smoothest and most delicious scotches you’ve ever had.

  • WhiskyNotes

    Mind that 81 is not a bad score, many single malts are scored lower here, it’s smooth and balanced but there are tons of whiskies that are much better and offer a more intense experience – single malts but blends as well – for less money. I have been defending JW Double Black but Blue is not my favourite.

    For someone who has tried his first Scotch just recently (as you say in another comment) you seem to have quite a firm opinion already. Maybe it doesn’t hurt to try a couple more, around 1500 let’s say. Let’s talk again then.

  • Bret_Salyer

    I was recommended Blue and, though not a Scotch man, was immediately impressed.
    I’ll probably try all the other high end single malts and blends because of all the negative reviews, but experience tells me I’ll be drinking this again.



December 2015
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Coming up

  • Lagavulin Distillers Edition (2015)
  • Talisker Distillers Edition (2015)
  • Laphroaig 32 Year Old
  • Glen Grant 65yo 1950 cask #2747 for Wealth Solutions
  • Mortlach 1959/1960 (G&M Royal Wedding)

1935 notes by Ruben

WhiskyNotes - Ruben LuytenThis blog is my personal collection of impressions, written while searching for the ultimate single malt whisky.