Johnnie Walker Gold Label Reserve sits more or less in the middle of the Johnnie Walker range: after Red Label and Black Label it’s the first of the precious medals that represent the upper regions. It was launched in 2012, around the same time when Johnnie Walker Green Label was being phased out in most markets.
It used to be called Johnnie Walker Gold Label 18 Year Old, but the age statement was dropped when the Platinum Label was introduced (with the same age). Now they’ve added Reserve to the name – I guess there’s a marketing rule that every expression should have something unique. I’m afraid losing the age statement also means it has become younger?
The base malts for Johnnie Walker Gold Label Reserve are Clynelish and Cardhu.
Johnnie Walker Gold Label Reserve
(40%, OB 2013)
Nose: quite fresh, with lots of peaches and oranges and hints of vanilla ice cream. Honey. Hints of banana. Not much grainy notes, but a soft hint of white bread. In the background there are oak spices (nutmeg, cinnamon). Some mineral and flinty notes as well, I guess that must be the Clynelish. Lacks a bit of punch, but its profile is quite nice.
Mouth: very soft (why would you even add ice to this?) and rather thin. Sweet raisins, cinnamon, butterscotch and toffee. Plenty of honey. Vanilla. The nicest part is certainly the soft minerality and waxiness in the background.
Finish: still sweet with a light touch of smoke now.
The added minerality makes this Johnnie Walker Gold Label a balanced dram. I’d say this is the smoothest, least grainy of all Johnnie Walker blends. Too bad it lacks some punch, at a higher volume this could have been my favourite. Around € 45.