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Johnnie Walker Green Label
About Johnnie Walker green Label
There aren’t many scotch whisky brands more famous than Johnnie Walker. And despite seeing it in every grocery store and bar, I’ve never actually tried it myself. But thankfully, I was gifted this bottle of Johnnie Walker Green Label by a family member, so I can finally experience the brand and see how it measures up to other blended scotches.
Johnnie Walker was first established in 1820, when John Walker opened up a grocer’s shop in Kilmarnock, Scotland. At the time, these shops were known to stock different spirits, and eventually Walker would start selling blends of single malt scotches using the Johnnie Walker label. The whisky brand wouldn’t fully take off until after John’s death in 1857 and his son Alexander took over. The brand is currently owned and distributed internationally by Diageo.
Johnnie Walker Green Label is a blend of single malt scotch whiskies from different regions across Scotland. Some of the notable contributing distilleries include: Talisker from the Isle of Skye, Linkwood and Cragganmore from Speyside, and Caol Ila from Isle of Islay. Each whisky is aged for a minimum of 15 years.
❖ Spirit: Blended Scotch Whisky
❖ Distillery: Blend of whiskies from many different distilleries. Distilled, blended and bottled in Scotland.
❖ ABV: 43% (86 Proof)
❖ Aged minimum of 15 Years
❖ Moderate Price
❖ Color: Amber
❖ Nose: fruit, cereal, vanilla
❖ Taste: vanilla, fruit, slight smoke, grass, cinnamon
❖ Finish: long, vanilla, honey, wood, slight smoke
Johnnie & Green Tea
1 1/2 oz Blended Scotch
5 oz Sweet Green Tea
❖ Add Blended Scotch to a glass filled with ice.
❖ Top with 5 oz of sweet green tea
❖ Garnish with lemongrass and pineapple leaf or cucumber
Although I won’t use Johnnie Walker Green Label as a mixer very often, I was intrigued by this Johnnie & Green Tea recipe. I was already thinking of using Green Label in a highball style cocktail, so this variation looked perfect. I haven’t used lemongrass or green tea in many cocktails, but I could imagine their earthy notes working well with the similar notes in Green Label.
Most of the highballs I’ve tried had strong whisky flavor, but green tea was by far the dominant flavor in this cocktail. There were some subtle fruit, smoke, and vanilla notes, and I was right about the earth notes blending well with the tea. There’s also pretty much zero alcohol flavor, so be careful.
I also wasn’t exactly sure what the recipe meant by “sweet green tea” so I just bought a bottle of unsweetened green tea from my local Japanese grocery store, and added simple syrup to taste.
Brands with international recognition like Johnnie Walker carry higher expectations than others, so I find it hard to judge them. I could argue that other spirits are a better value, or better mixers, or produced more ethically and so on, but, at the end of the day, I simply really enjoyed drinking Johnnie Walker Green Label.
I generally put a big emphasis on the sipping experience with any spirit, and this is where Green Label excels. It’s relatively light and approachable, but there’s still plenty of depth and complexity to the flavor. And while this isn’t the cheapest spirit, it’s still priced close enough to be competitive with other blended scotches, like Monkey Shoulder, and cheaper that many single malt scotches.
But, even though I enjoyed Green Label neat, I don’t think I’ll use it too much in cocktails. The complex flavor can be hard to balance in cocktails that have more ingredients than a highball. And, the price is a bit too high to feel great about using it as a mixer in my opinion.
As always, drink responsibly.
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