Whisky Review: Johnnie Walker Gold Label Reserve

Johnnie Walker is the most popular whisky in the world, known and respected almost anywhere you go. It’s a blended Scotch whisky, meaning it is a mixture of malt whiskeys from different distilleries, along with some more neutral grain whiskey.

The company does not reveal all the names of the distilleries whose whisky they use. But they have said this blend is build around Clynelish. Other oft-mentioned suspects are Cardu and Talisker.

The Gold Label Reserve contains no age statement, so we don’t know how long it spent int he barrel. (This is in contrast to the Gold Label 18 year, the whisky it replaced in Johnnie Walker’s lineup.)

This special edition version comes in a bright, shiny gold bottle; a rather striking appearance, if a little gaudy. If you like the looks of it, you might want to buy one now, as it’s supposed to be a limited edition. If you don’t, you can buy the regular, less ostentatious, version instead.

Johnnie Walker Gold Label Reserve has a light aroma overall, with honey and fruit dominating, and just a touch of smoke underneath. There is also a faint grapey/wine aroma as well.

Similarly, it is light on the palate — a common characteristic of blended whiskeys — both in flavor and intensity. It starts out with toasted malt and honeyed oak, before changing over to light smoke. It has a short, very dry finish, with an astringency from either the smoke or the wood or both.

This is a refined and balanced whiskey, but it is not exactly bursting with flavor. It is certainly pleasant to drink, and would likely be welcomed by those who aren’t fans of heavier whiskeys or who are just being introduced to Scotch. However, drinkers who are looking for the more assertive flavor of a good single malt are probably better off looking elsewhere.

Johnnie Walker Gold Reserve