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  1. #21
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    Re: Johnny Walker Black Label

    Johnny Walker is still extremely popular worldwide.

    No doubt. About a year ago I even stumbled upon, what appeared to be an official list of the top ten selling whiskies of the world where they, somewhat curiously, had combined the sales of Red and Black label to make it the best selling whisky in the world (I donīt know why this "trick" was allowed.)

    What I have witnessed over the recent five years or so,though, is people (letīs label them 'casual drinkers') who previously when they wanted to "hit it big" almost always bought Black label nowadays instead opt for Laphroiag or Glenmorangie.

    I also have to assume that when the largest liquor store in a town with around 100, 000 inhabitants (my hometown, that is.) removes a former top seller from the shelves that they must have good reasons to do so.

  2. #22
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
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    Re: Johnny Walker Black Label

    Johnnie Walker is good whisky, the Black Label still offers quality but the best in their line up is the Gold Label, in my view. Considering the whiskies are 18 years old and if not all-malt not so far off from that standard, the price (around $60 U.S. ) is well worth it.

    The pros are pros for a reason and Gold Label shows why. Blue Label is good too but the Gold has a deeper palate and is better value.

    Gary

  3. #23
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    Re: Johnny Walker Black Label

    None of the JW's will even come close to Ardbeg 10. Ardbeg is a really good way to scare off any bourbon drinker.

  4. #24
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
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    Re: Johnny Walker Black Label

    Well, different though, the symphony versus the soloist, right?

    Gary

  5. #25
    Advanced Taster
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    Re: Johnny Walker Black Label

    None of the JW's will even come close to Ardbeg 10. Ardbeg is a really good way to scare off any bourbon drinker.
    Probably! But Ardbeg 10 is one of my top 3 OB single malts, along with Lagavulin 16 and Laphroaig 10 cask strength. I always have these 3 on hand and I find bourbon stands up nicely to all three. In fact, I like to have a pour of bourbon then a dram of scotch or vice versa: the contrast is amazing. After a bourbon, say Eagle Rare 17 or Van Winkle 15, 107 proof, a dram of Ardbeg 10 is even more head-slappingly peaty than usual. Going scotch first, then bourbon, the bourbon is massively sweet, spicy, deep and complex: it just thunders! Same sort of thing with rye versus scotch. But not between bourbon and rye.
    At this point, my whisk(e)y tastes seem to have evolved to almost equal liking for straight bourbon, single malt scotch and straight rye is only behind a little. I assume this is rare, but I find it bracing out in no man's whisk(e)y land. No way I would want to give up any of these three categories, but, on a desert island, I could get by with just one randomly chosen category, so long as the actual bottles were of good ones in their category (no Maker's Mark or Loch Dhu , etc.). Cheers, Ed V.

  6. #26
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    Re: Johnny Walker Black Label

    Ed, what I had meant, Ardbeg would scare off a "non-scotch-drinking bourbon-lover"! I say this for the same reasons you do but I rarely combine the two in one evening because it's like eating an apple after an orange or vice versa.

    By the way, you have great taste - similar to mine if I may be so bold - with the exception that I would remove the Laphroaig and substitute Talisker, which has the longest finish in the world and therefore worth every penny!

  7. #27
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    Re: Johnny Walker Black Label

    Bourbon and Islay head to head is one of my favourite games. Especially good Islays vs. overstrength Pappy or the Antique collection. Its like Bruce Lee vs. Sugar Ray Leonard. They got different moves but they're both great.

  8. #28
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
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    Re: Johnny Walker Black Label

    I think the scotch whisky industry takes it as an article of faith that malts are still very much a specialty business. I don't know the exact numbers but I think single malt represents only 5% or so of worldwide scotch whisky sales. That figure is growing and the proportion of malt sales in places accustomed to spirits clearly will grow faster than in areas which are relatively new to whisky. Hence the fall-off perhaps of interest in Johnnie Walker in some areas in favour of single malts priced not that differently and which offer the full taste associated with single malt whisky. But in large parts of the world the blends still rule, I believe this is so in parts of the far east, in Southern Europe and indeed still in the U.S.. I am sure Dewar's and Ballantine still sell in much greater numbers than any single malt even though the latter are a growing and influential part of the business. I think there is and will always be a good market for specialty or designer blends such as those produced by Compass Box Whiskies (see www.compassboxwhisky.com), for the high end commercial blends such as Johnnie Walker Gold and JW Black too of course and the excellent blends of moderate price such as Famous Grouse, Ballantine and others. But the business is I think, in general, going more towards the premium end in all categories - and I see this starting to happen in bourbon too as we discussed recently on the board. Oddly, in Canada people seem satisfied with almost the same range of Canadian whisky one saw in 1990, 1970, 1960 (not 1950 because in that year there was still some straight whisky, bourbon-type and rye, being sold in this country). This is partly because of an inherent conservatism here in such matters and partly that those willing to experiment spend their money on bourbon and scotch! But if the makers don't give us many choices at the top end, the money will go elsewhere, my point being though Canadians seem by and large satisfied with the regular run of Canadian (blended) whisky that has been available, pretty much unchanged, for generations..

    Gary

  9. #29
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    Re: Johnny Walker Black Label

    But in large parts of the world the blends still rule, I believe this is so in parts of the far east, in Southern Europe and indeed still in the U.S.
    Gary, that was exactly what I was going to suggest. You simply took the words straight out of my mouth.

    I live in a (by Swedish standards) comparatively large university town. Maybe that accounts for something?

    Do Swedes have a more established whisky culture? Maybe, but what I do know for sure is that every time I treat my father to a whisky he always goes on about how whisky used be held in such a low esteem when he was young(er) and that Cognac was THE drink to have on display in your liquor cabinet if you wanted to appear high-brow.

    Thanks, by the way, for your commendation on Gold label. This has long been on my "Shouldnīt I try this soon?"-list. As for the Red label, it seems like an eternity since I gulped this down. I wouldnīt even dare to pass any comment.

  10. #30
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
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    Re: Johnny Walker Black Label

    The Gold Label is very good, malty, rich, complex, hard to beat when one is looking for a stylish but full dram of whisky. Regarding Sweden, the university presence in your town probably contributes to the increased interest in malts. Universities are repositories of international ideas (or should be). People who teach, and study, travel more than most others, so they would bump up against things such as single malt whisky. Also, Sweden in general has had - together with an ambivalent attitude towards alcohol -a rich history of making and drinking spirits. It makes sense Swedes would take an interest in the spirits of other Northern European countries including Scotland. As for brandy, the attitudes you described whereby scotch was derided by many in favour of brandy were characteristic of many European countries and even of England. The "de rigueur" spirit on the English drinks tray until well into the 20th century was brandy. Brandy, brandy and soda, brandy and water, even brandy and ginger (favoured by upwardly mobile rock groups in the early 1970's - "brandy and ginger, old boy!" declaimed Keith Moon (rather too often, unfortunately)) were a staple of the smart set. Only in Scotland (and special U.K. institutions such as the Army and Colonial Service) did the establishment favor whisky and not feel lesser as a result. (Good for them). But finally whisky gained ascendancy and, sweetest of victories, to a considerable degree in France itself. "Boire le whisky c'est tres chic, n'est-ce pas?"

    Gary

 

 

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