John, what have you done now!

The John Walker Review!

Where to start!? I suppose by apologising that ‘tomorrow’ time-frame offered in The John post on the 15th never quite worked. But better late than never, eh?

I slept on the taste of The John Walker not over night but over several. The taste has washed away but the memory and notes remain. Oh, and that haunting press release is here too.

The John Walker is, in case you don’t know, the newest and most stupendous incarnation of the Blue Label Johnny Walker blend. Only 330 bottles made from 9 ridiculous casks (imagine components tasting of this!). Baccarat hand-crafted crystal decanters with gold-plated neck. Boxes covered with 11 layers of lacquer and fitted with cream leather interior worth… 60 hours of workmanship each! Mind boggled enough? This little piece of Brunei-Sultan-style cabinet filler comes at £2,000 a pop. It may sound modest in comparison to that £100,000 Dalmore or that £200,000+ Macallan but you know what? The John Walker is actually meant to be drunk and this is precisely why Chris and I have any interest in it at all. Since we can’t afford it, however, our interest is vague, our judgement harsh (but fair) and the chance of us becoming fans – near zero. That is all you can ever expect from Edinburgh Whisky Blog if you elect to charge so much.

The John Walker

Nose: From 20 inches away I’m getting banana bread and rich biscuity sweetness. Nose in. Old leather-bound book and Black Forest. Give it 2 seconds and it livens up with hot cherries, orange marzipan, cooked red apples and a touch of smoke. The banana bread theme continues. Infinite layers of complexity. Filled my heart with joy.

Palate: Extremely bitter and dusty at first, explodes with savoury Oxford marmalade, walnut shell, tobacco smoke and dried plum. Sweet wood smoke comes in… this is just silly good.

Finish: Cherry and bitter nut shell back. Sweet and smooth.

Overall: Quite unlike anything else I have tried. The nose is fantastically focused! If it was vision it would be Blue-Ray on a huge plasma in a dark empty room. It just has this I-can’t-move effect. Similarly the taste is huge and really makes you stop and think. The silky texture of it just seems to defy the laws of physics and organic chemistry, it’s like oil solution.

This is one whisky to spend time over and think about a little. I wish I had another dram of it to taste the next day but with a £2,000 price-tag I understand that the sample couldn’t have been bigger. Nevertheless, I sobbed my little eyes out when I took the last sip. The flavour concentration gave me mental orgasm but the fact that I will never be able to taste it again defeated me and sucked joy out of the experience. Lucky git – you may say – at least you got to try it once! Well I can tell you my friends that there is a land where whiskies are better never tasted. And The John Walker is the king of that realm.

So try it if you dare. But it will break your heart.


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