Saturday, October 27, 2018
Whisky Review: Johnnie Walker Blenders' Batch 'Wine Cask Blend'
So, with that in mind, I picked up a bottle of another in the Blenders' Batch line-up: "Wine Cask Blend"
The concept behind this bottling is to age some spirit in wine casks, in addition to the traditional ex-bourbon and sherry casks. We do not know what wine casks were selected though. Diageo is tight-lipped on that point which is unfortunate because depending on the wine, there can be some very distinctive flavour profiles. For example, on the one hand there is Glenmorangie 12 years Nectar D'Or that has its spirit finished in ex-Sauternes casks (a sweet white wine) and on the other, I can recall a bottle of Bruichladdich whose spirit was matured in ex-Barolo (a powerhouse Italian red). In both cases, the results were spectacular.
So, not knowing what wine casks were employed in the maturation of this blended Scotch, what do I know? The malt whiskies in this blend come from Clynelish and Roseilses (opened in 2010 - and is the largest distillery ever built).
Twist-off metal cap.
Oak, apples, a little pine needles and cone, buttery, buttercups and a faint sherry note.
Apples, a lot of grapefruit, a little caramel sweetness turning slightly bitter by the finish. Dry wood notes and I note bourbon cask notes like melon, lemons.
Short finish, the flavours evaporate as quickly as a politician's promises following election night. The grain whiskies contribute to a grainy, tingling sensation that is slightly astringent. This is all chased by lemon pith/grapefruit and alcohol bitterness.
While I do not know from any press release or info on the Johnnie Walker website what kind of wine casks were employed in the wood management, my guess would be that the casks previously held white wines of some kind. In addition, I think ex-bourbon casks also play a big role in this blend.
In terms of malt and grain whisky ratio, I am tasting a lot of young grain whiskies that are not helping matters. Not enough Clynelish here!
If you visit the Johnnie Walker website that features this blend, they suggest using it as mix and I think that is the correct suggestion. This is not very enjoyable neat or with the addition of a few drops of water. This goes best in a tall glass of ice and ginger-ale.
This blend tries to taste like Glenmorangie 10yrs, 12 yrs Nectar D'Or, Glenfiddich 15 Solera, but only ends up tasting like a blended Scotch homage to Alpenweiss or Black Tower.
In conclusion, I recommend buying this as an effective mix. I did try it with ginger-ale, an iceberg of ice and slice of lime and it worked very well.