It was a fury of double takes. I was finished with my shopping as I walked to the cashier with my 2 beers. Although it just happened yesterday, I already know I’ll always be able to recall the moment...Half way up the aisle, second shelf on the left. Heavy and Medium scotch drinkers rejoice: Johnnie Walker Green Label has been given a limited time re-release to coincide with the 10th Anniversary of its first appearance. New label, same great taste.
7 or 8 years ago a friend and I almost finished a bottle one night. A testament to its drinkability, if not its overall quality (a 6-pack beforehand surely skewed any opinion...). At $60 a bottle though, my friend and I were in veeeeeeery strong agreement it was “a find”. Even more so for me, as at the time I was a drinker of dark, smokey, and peaty Scotches.
Before I bought another bottle it was taken off the market while continuing to be sold in Japan and Taiwan. Then Japan was dropped. The more time that passed, the more I wanted another bottle to keep around.
For Christmas this year I received a gift box with a variety of 200ml bottles. Conspicuous by its absence, my longing for Green grew stronger. A search of my town turned up nothing. Then yesterday...my search ended.
On a side note: If you ever see a bottle of Gold with a label that reads “18 Year Old” and missing the word “Reserve”...snap it up! This is their old Gold before Platinum was introduced to take its place. So very good.
Back in the day the reviews of Green were consistently filled with praise and many described it as a different kind of Johnnie Walker. Other top shelf Johnnies (Gold, Platinum, and Blue) are blended with around 100 varieties of single malts to create a very drinkable almost one dimensional Scotch. There are several different distinct flavors in each, but they never stray far from the backbone chosen and created with many, many other varieties of Single Malts.
For Green Label they use just 4 very good Single Malts for the backbone and then others for finesse.
For my first taste of the bottle I tried a side-by-side with Caol Ila 12. It’s very much there on the nose of the Green (And wow, this Scotch has nose for days), but not really prominent in flavor. It gives the Scotch weight and an almost intangible body on which to carry the other flavors. I suspect that’s the “mystery” mentioned on the box. This blend is uniquely complex.
There are more than a few distinct flavors at work here and all are prominent, but I’ll save that journey for when I taste it alone. Can’t wait to compare it with the rest of the major 4 too.