It’s been over a month since I’ve set foot here and much of my time goes ‘walk about’- trying to gather a fair understanding of the terrain, the names of streets, places and faces! Job hunting too is very much on the agenda, which means endless facetime with my 6 inch rectangular friend (I meant my phone- for those who might have had their minds wander), scrolling pages, tapping corners and striking conversations with people on the other side of the line.
We’re still very much in the touristy phase, on the lookout for the next best spot – clicking pictures, pouting and sometimes left with our jaws dropped seeing the many sites and scenes. I’ve been fortunate to meet some warm, kind folks and got to chat, laugh and get a small taste of what the land loves best – barbies (slang for BBQs), sangas (sandwiches) and beaches!
And during one such walk about, I stumbled across this rather rare commodity, at least back home it was – The JW Green Label and at a good price too (AUD $65)! And what did I do? Bought it, bagged it, stored it, opened, poured, sipped, and now blogged about it!
After a four year hiatus, this 15 year old Johnnie is back in stores. Yes! The year 2012 marked the discontinuation of this scotch, some say due to poor sales while others due to a limited supply of aged Caol Ila stocks. Nevertheless, beginning 2016 the whisky began popping its head at liquor stores far and wide, with some mentions of a ‘limited release’ sometime in 2015.
The whisky though a blend is not one in the traditional sense as it is completely void of grain. This one’s a melting pot of single malts from various regions of Scotland, the primary four being Cragganmore, Linkwood, Talisker and Caol Ila. The bottle is a slightly modern reincarnation, keeping very much to the physical attributes of its predecessors but with distinguishable sharper corners.
Nose: Vanilla with bits of burnt butter and cherries. Some brine, ash, peat, along with burnt embers are followed by traces of leather and dried fruits- almonds, raisins and dates. Much of the nose ends with some mild spice and red wine.
Taste: Caramel, milk chocolate and butter cookies are soon greeted by raisins and sweet wine. Though not briney, you do get some salt on the tongue along with peat and smoke. The spice is mild and not really strong on the palate.
Dilution accentuates the fruity, floral tones giving out a subtle and delicate side that has a more extended presence of vanilla, some honey, cream and sprinkles of pepper towards the finish. Wood and peat though present is more constrained and mild, somewhat showcasing the charachteristics of a digestif.
Finish: Medium – Sweet vanilla with a mild spice and some sherry influence that lingers on.
On the nose, brine and peat from the Caol Ila combined with the smoke from Talisker introduces itself initially with the fruity Speysides making their presence felt only later on. On the palate things are quite the contrary, sweeter and milder.
The Green Label is quite complex, with a fair balance of peat and caramel and that traditional JW smokiness. If you do happen to see this whisky on discount, I wouldn’t dissuade you from grabbing a bottle as it can easily fall under the category of a daily dram delight, better than the Black although not by a mile.
Now, I was sold to the Island Green and absolutely loved it’s smoky, peat rich profile; made me think this bloke was sure to be a one up. Well I’ll be honest, it wasn’t; but having said that it’s in no way bad, just not better.
Preference: Can be sipped neat or with a dash of water; both being equally enjoying. Try not to pepsify/cokefy this spirit, you really wouldnt be doing it justice. But I leave this to you…