Johnnie Walker Green Label has been discontinued (click here).
|Photo credit: Lukadlo|
How could the multinational alcohol beverage company Diageo (the owners of the Johnnie Walker brand) make this decision? Green Label is a great scotch whisky. A blend of single malts. No grain whisky.
Some of the landmark malts making up this scotch whisky include: Talisker, Cragganmore, Linkwood, Caol Ila and several other lesser known ones.
It's a stunner that I have written about a couple of times. In one post I declared it was a blended malt that beat many single malts. In another post, I describe it as one of the best whiskies of 2011. In other words, my excitement about this whisky has not faded since my original review.
|Photo Credit: zombie slam|
Here's my tasting note:
Distinctly floral, coupled with malt and cookie dough, faint wisps of anise, peat and pipe tobacco.
Initially a honeyed dram, surely due to the core malt of Cragganmore. Honey gently expands across the palate followed by vanilla, moving to a drying sea spray (I realize this is an oxymoron) and pepper corns across the palate. I recognize this taste to be unmistakably Talisker.
Dry cinammon, restrained fresh ground black pepper and sea salt linger. A very long peppery/honey finish. Great length.
. . .
What may not be obvious in the tasting note is the complexity of this whisky. Wow! You take a sip and you will be impressed. The interplay between Cragganmore and Talisker is great. The individual flavors dance on the palate.
I often recommend Green Label to people who want to cross that bridge between blended scotch and single malts. In the middle is Green Label.
. . .
So why did Diageo decide to discontinue this great scotch?
No one knows. No explanation has been given. But, in a way, we all know. It's about money. A for-profit enterprise has that intrinsic right to make decisions about what wares its sells, and I certainly do not think 'profit' is a dirty word. However, I have a theory as to why the economics worked against this gem.
Unfortunate Price Point
You see, Green Label was priced in the vicinity of many introductory single malts. The average consumer faced with the prospect of shelling out the same amount of money for a blended malt (Johnnie Walker Green) when they could buy a single malt for the same price, a little more or less, invariably opted for one of the introductory malts (Glenfiddich 12, Glenlivet 12, etc.). So, this phenomenon may have weakened sales. Diageo cannot be blamed for market behaviour unless they could have reduced the price to eliminate this phenomenon.
|Photo credit: copyright 2011 Matthew Lowery|
I bet there are plenty of regular readers of this blog who were not even aware of Green Label. They may have assumed the Johnnie Walker product line was Red, Black, Gold and Blue. Actually many people are not even aware there is a Gold label.
My point is that everyone has heard of Red, Black and Blue labels. Especially Blue Label. Why? Advertising! I see Blue Label advertisements in magazines. Same with Black Label. Go overseas and the advertising for Johnnie Walker Red, Black and Gold goes into over drive. Ever been to the Middle East? I have. In Lebanon, the national drink should be Black Label. I mean, everyone drinks Black Label. Everyone. Have you been to Dubai? Blue Label rules. Israel probably has its share of scotch fans too, judging by all the visitors to this blog. And then there is the Pacific Rim. Ever heard of the Johnnie Walker Classic? A golf tournament played each year in the Asia Pacific region. In particular, the tournament was held several times in Thailand and Singapore, two juggernaut markets for Johnnie Walker. Everyone knows Red and Black Labels there.
Maybe if Diageo had spent a few more dollars promoting Green Label it would have had better sales.
In any case, let the hoarding begin! If you see it in your local store, pick up a bottle because it may be the last one you see!
Copyright © Jason Debly, 2009-2012. All rights reserved except for photos appearing in this post. Copyright is held by the photographers and appear here in this post with their permission, No reproduction is permitted without the permission of the relevant photographer. By the way, the last photo by Matthew Lowery is excellent in my opinion. Check out more of his great work at: http://www.matthewlowery.com and http://www.matthewlowery.com/