April Dowd photoThe products from the Johnnie Walker distillery in Kilmarnock, Ayrshire, Scotland, are the most widely distributed brands of Scotch whisky in the world, with yearly sales of over 120 million bottles. I most recently re-tried its top-shelf Blue Label at Whisky Live in Manhattan.
• Johnnie Walker Blue Label Scotch:
Blue Label truly has an old style set of characteristics, and since it is a non-vintage blend of 16 or so whiskies it is difficult to pinpoint the heart of it even though it is widely known to be Royal Lochnagar, a rare malt. Every bottle is numbered and placed in a silk-lined box with a certificate of authenticity.
It is at once nutty, pungent and peppery, with floral notes in the nose and initial hit on the palate as well. The traditional smokiness, accompanied by clear notes of caramel and vanilla, help make it a complex offering that is obviously superior in overall character to most others in its price range.
Retails for about $200.
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