Blind tasting: Johnnie Walker Double Black

Johnnie Walker Double BlackDram data:
Distillery: – (Blend)
Bottler: Original Bottling
Distilled: –
Bottled: ca. 2015
Age: NAS
Limitation: –
Casks: –
Alcohol: 40%
chill filtered; coloured
Whiskybase link

Tasting notes:
fake-looking orang-ey dark gold.
Ah yes, another blind tasting – haven’t done one of these in a while. The only hint I have is that it’s a travel retail 1l-sized bottling. Let’s get going then, shall we?
The nose starts off pretty light and muted at first contact, no way this is bottled at more than 40% ABV. A nose not to offend anyone: A profound generic / honey sweetness paired with vanilla, toffee, orange rind, slight spices (allspice, cinnamon) and perhaps a hint of peat smoke in the background or is the cask fooling my senses here? Overall a tad generic but quite nice at the same time. The palate starts off just like the nose – very light and diluted. This could really use a bit more oomph… the magical 46% perhaps? Anyway, just like the nose, designed not to overwhelm the flying non-geeky occasional Scotch drinker. Diluted honey sweetness, the water from cleaning a pot used to make vanilla pudding with orange oil sprinkled in, caramelised ginger, slight spices, light toffee for diabetics, and a mild oak influence in the background. Just like the nose – likeable and easy-going – but a tad generic. The short finish is very unobtrusive and gentle – just as expected, little sweetness and surprisingly dry with lingering notes of slight oak, spices and fresh-cut grass.

Well, to be honest, this is just what I expected from a standard travel retail whisky. There’s nothing bad to say about it, it’s nicely drinkable and very quaffable, designed to appeal to the occasional whisky drinker without overwhelming and as such is quite generic, loads of distilleries are capable of producing such a profile. I’m guessing it’s a Highlander, maybe a Speysider, but my money is on a Highland malt. Let’s find out then, shall we?

Oh, what a sneaky son of a gun! That’s what I love my brother for – always good for a surprise. This does not have the telltale signs of a blended whisky at all (in hindsight maybe the generic sweetness can give the grain content away), I guess the malt content is rather high. Well, knowing it is a blended Scotch immediately clears why it is so “smooth”, diluted and easy-drinking – they’re designed to be that way. One additional comment at the end: Isn’t the “double black” version supposed to be smoky. Intensely smoky? Even the most lightly peated Islay malt, Bowmore, is more smoky when diluted with 10 parts water…

Score: 79/100
(Nose: 82 Palate: 78 Finish: 79)

Thanks to my brother Johannes for the blind sample challenge!

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