Friday, October 12, 2018

Scotch Review: Johnnie Walker Blenders' Batch Red Rye Finish

Yeah, I know it's been a while since my last post.  What can I say?  Part procrastination, and part I dunno.  Anyhow, I'm back and a big thank you to those readers who reached out to me via email since my last post in May asking if I was alright.  Don't worry, this kid is alright!  Ok, are you ready?  Let's go and check out Johnnie Walker Blenders' Batch Red Rye Finish!

Diageo, owners of the Johnnie Walker brand, are always rolling out brand extensions.  Some are a success, some are not (e.g. Explorers' Club).  Blenders' Batch is another attempt by this multinational, billion dollar plus, publicly traded company to inject some excitement and spontaneity in to their well established brand.  And, how they have done that is by taking blended Scotch spirit, aged exclusively in first-fill bourbon casks, and then 'finishing' (fancy word for transferring to another type of cask) the spirit in of all things ex-rye casks.  I must say I was intrigued.  Scotch whiskies are usually finished in port pipes, Sauternes, and even Barbaresco (a mysterious Italian red).  So, when I heard Diageo had come up with the idea of a finish in red rye casks, I was interested.  Intuitively, I thought rye casks could compliment blended Scotch spirit that had been raised in ex-bourbon casks.

Launch Date


Metal twist off cap

750ml bottle

Age Statement

Production Notes
A blend of three grain whiskies along with malt whiskies from Cardhu and the now defunct Port Dundas.  As I mentioned above, the spirit was aged in first fill bourbon casks before being finished for up to six months in ex-rye casks.

Apples, cinnamon, a floral sweetness and some caramel.

Honey crisp apples, caramel crisp, apple crisp, a citric note of grapefruit and orange is present and of course some spiced rye appears.

Oak, vanilla, spiciness with herbs like mint and tarragon, a wee grainy with some slight smoke.

General Impressions
I was really surprised by this blend.  Frankly, quite impressed.  I particularly like the influence of the rye casks on the spirit.  The rye imparts spiced rhubarb and a dry note.  Really like this for the price.  I would imagine it would perform well in a cocktail too!

Worth a try!  I wouldn't hesitate to buy again when low on funds.

Here's my YouTube video review of this blend:  

Thanks for your patience and I will endeavour to post more regularly!


Jason Debly


  1. It's refreshing to see a Scottish whisky producer incorporating Rye into its product, even if it is only in the wood and not in the actual recipe.

  2. Yes, incorporating rye casks is very interesting and in this case the end result works very well. It's one of those things where you wonder why no one had tried this before?

    Part of the reason for the success of this release is that the quality of ex-rye casks is very good. Excellent wood management coupled with a good spirit makes for good to great whisky, which is the case here.

  3. They do a Rye cask version as well. A workmate hated it but loved the Red Rye and buys numerous bottles.

    AL (from OZ)

  4. Gordon Masi / Wee DramOctober 22, 2018 at 5:43 PM

    Thanks for the review. It's good to see you back on social media! I appreciate your efforts.