Though it was released earlier this year, the Johnnie Walker 18 Year Old Blended Scotch Whisky isn’t a new expression by any means. It’s merely a rebranded, renamed and reimagined Johnnie Walker Platinum Label. That choice fits the bottle in with the iconic brand’s other expressions a bit more seamlessly, sporting a stylish design and premium look that greatly reflects what’s found inside.
The 18-year old is a curious whisky, seeing as its main characteristics don’t really come through immediately. Largely defined by its Speyside character, the whisky is a big blend of up to 18 different whiskies, some of which have vastly different profiles and must have been difficult to unite. As expected, it has been handcrafted and overseen by Jim Beveridge who described the whisky as “bursting with intense sweet fruit flavours and aromas, with just a gentle wisp of smoke”.
The combination of Speyside malts like Cardhu, Glen Elgin and Auchroisk with highland malts like Blair Athol has built up a profile that packs a beautiful finish but, as mentioned above, takes a bit too long to reveal itself. The nose is overpowered by the alcohol content (ABV 40%) but eventually some lovely notes of caramel and sweet fruit aromas start to come through, then giving way to toffee which follows through on the palate. There’s a great deal of smokiness and oiliness here, which may not to be to everyone’s taste, although the finish is where the whisky shows its worth; sweet fruits and buttery vanilla that lingers for a surprisingly long time, making up for the front and mid-palate.
There’s a lot to like here if you’re patient enough with such a stubborn whisky but more casual drinkers who prefer a more vibrant palate may want to look elsewhere.
Johnnie Walker Aged 18 Years (ABV 40%) is available at good liquor stores across Australia – RRSP $124.99 for a 700ml bottle.