Review Stub: Johnnie Walker Gold Reserve

Just some quick notes on a whisky I had a chance to try last night.

Being afforded the chance to try JWGR last night, I thought that I would finally see why JW produces whiskies that so many people seem to enjoy for their smoothness despite the lack of complexity. Unfortunately, I’ve only managed to be further puzzled as to the unyielding popularity of this rather dull brand.

Nose: Sweet fudge notes, but very subdued, and almost non-existant. There are probably other notes here, but I’m really straining to find them. Grain alcohol, yes, but that’s not worth hunting for…

Palate: Surprisingly rough and jagged. Grainy fudge, sweetness, a little like a toffee candy, but with that unfortunate alcoholic tinge that I haven’t been able to shake with blends and other run-of-the-mill malts at low ABV. Somewhat waxy as many reviews have promised, but not really all that superb in that respect. If there is anything Clynelish in this dram, it’s been buried under whatever other additives are in the glass.

Finish: Medium long. Sweetness, vaguely fruity and lightly smoky, but I’m really straining to notice those notes.

Grade: C

For less money, you can pull the same complexity out of the Macallan Fine Oak 10yo, but I wouldn’t suggest it. For the roughly same palate, but with that extra coastal sea salt freshness, the Laddie Ten has the JWGR beat on all fronts. Not only that, but you would still save ~$25 to boot (keep in mind that it’s 50cl less, but at 46%).

This reaffirms that, until a really good blend accidently happens my way, I’m sticking to exploring single malts.