Johnnie Walker Green Label 15 years. It is a blend of only single malts having a minimum age of 15 years. Often this type of scotch is referred to as a "vatted malt." It had been more than a year since I last had it, and a lot of readers had been emailing me my impressions of it. I was enthusiastic in my email replies urging them to buy this great spirit. So, I thought it was in order for me to try this scotch again to make sure that nothing had changed. It lived up to my memory of it, and in fact reminded me that I have to buy a few more bottles.
It's a lovely scotch that for some reason does not have the popularity enjoyed by other blends like it's younger brother Black Label. Not sure why this is the case. Here's a theory:
Johnnie Walker Green Label is priced in the same vicinity as many 10 and 12 year old single malts. The typical consumer heads into the liquor store and will want to maximize value for money in a purchase. Operating on the assumption that single malts are always superior to blends, he or she selects the 10 or 12 year old single malt over the vatted malt or pure malt scotch whisky, Johnnie Walker Green. Accordingly, sales of this vatted malt are weaker than say Black Label that has no such single malt equivalent competition.
There is some anecdotal support for my theory. The liquor corporation that owns all liquor stores in my area has chosen to 'delist' (government speak for a halt on future orders) as they too believe customers are opting for the 10 and 12 year old single malts in the same price range. Accordingly, I have started hoarding the remaining bottles available in my area . . .
So, who buys Johnnie Walker Green? People who have stumbled upon it by accident or those who wondered what the other Johnnie Walker bottlings taste like. That's how I discovered it. Of course, there is also the category of customers who know Johnnie Walker Green to be better than many of the single malts at the same price point. I think the company, Diageo, should consider increasing marketing of this wonderful product and maybe tackle head-on the assumption that 10 and 12 year old single malts are better. Such a premise is often not true. As you know, just because a scotch is a single malt does not necessarily mean it is better than a blended scotch, particularly this vatted malt.
Glenfiddich 12 years, Glenkinchie 12 years, Glenlivet 12 years, Auchentoshan 12 years and Glendronach 12 years are clear examples of single malts that pale in comparison to Johnnie Walker Green Label. Green Label offers a nicer nose, and a greater complexity of flavors. Just add a little water (ie. one teaspoon) to a shot to bring out the complexity of flavors.
Frankly, I think Green Label is better than Blue Label.
Diageo, if you are out there and reading this post, take note, this is one consumer that wants to see this brand marketed more heavily to ensure its continued existence. My great fear is that one day Diageo may stop making this great vatted malt. A marketing campaign with a logo like "Green Label - A Vatted Malt that Beats Single Malts!" or something to that affect would be great and effective in increasing sales and thereby enabling me to continue to enjoy this wonderful spirit.
Copyright © Jason Debly, 2009-2012. All rights reserved.
P.S. Diageo totally ignored my suggestion in this post and instead have discontinued this diamond of a malt. I discuss this terrible development here.