Johnnie Walker Double Black is supposed to be a more extreme version of Johnnie Walker Black Label which I reviewed before. Some of the spirit used was matured in deeply charred casks, and the proportion of peaty Islay malt should be higher.
It’s a fairly recent addition to the Johnnie Walker range. It used to be a Duty Free exclusive but it’s now widely available.
Johnnie Walker Double Black
(40%, OB +/- 2013)
Nose: indeed this is clearly Islay influenced. Smoke and ashed, even a slightly medicinal touch. Mineral notes too. Toasted almonds. The citrus and malt of the regular Johnnie Walkers are still there, as is a hint of vanilla and something of a pine wood air freshener.
Mouth: oily, lots of Caol Ila character here and hardly noticeable grains. Plain peat. Some salty butter, surprisingly briney actually. A vague sweetness. Mint.
Finish: long, fades on salty liquorice and malt. Some cold ashes as well.
I don’t think this is Johnnie Walker Black Label in an amplified version. It’s a style on its own. I think Black Label is too smooth and sweet to be called a smoky blend, but Double Black really is smoky. It’s much closer to single malt Islay whisky than I expected. A blend that’s really well put together – too bad this isn’t at 43%. Around € 35 in my local supermarket – sometimes under € 30 if you look out. Good value for money.