On the Shelf: Johnnie Walker Green Label (Re-Release 2016)

Around 10 years ago Johnnie Walker introduced their Green Label blend into the market and it remained one of the most well-received expressions for the iconic Scotch Whisky, until it disappeared. The blended malt whisky was somewhat of an outlier in JW’s core range, but nonetheless it was loved for it’s complex profile and, when it was made exclusive to the Taiwan market in 2012, demand to bring it back was fervent.

JW fans will be happy to know that Diageo has brought Green Label back, this year bringing it into the Australian market for what they say is another limited run, reiterating it as a homage to the craftmanship of Johnnie Walker’s blenders and their talent in selecting and blending whiskies from classic distilleries across Scotland to arrive at JW Green Label.

“We have listened to our consumers and we are responding to popular demand to reintroduce it”, said Johnnie Walker Global Brand Director Guy Escolme. “Johnnie Walker Green Label has always had a following and releasing limited volumes of it in the U.S and Australia this year to mark the tenth anniversary of its first introduction has revealed how much consumers have missed [it] and want to see it back.”

Having no grain whisky content, Johnnie Walker Green Label is a blend made up of only malt whiskies – Speyside, Highland, Lowland, and Island malts – which form its unique character, broadening its depth and presenting with a distinctive profile. The use of Talisker brings some wood smoke, pepper, oak, and rich fruits to the blend; the Linkwood gives it a bit of Speyside charm with light garden fruits and flowers; Cragganmore is used to bring in a sweet and fragrant malty heart with hints of sandalwood; and Coal Ila adds rich fruit, drying sea salt, and peat smoke.

“The challenge of Johnnie Walker Green Label is to have a wide flavour spectrum from malts matured for at least 15 years in American and European Oak, ensuring that those flavours really complement each other and work in harmony to create a blend of great complexity which at its heart, is true to the Johnnie Walker style of big and bold flavours with a signature smokiness”, offered Jim Beveridge, Johnnie Walker Master Blender.

“Crafting this blend is all about making the aromas more pronounced and vibrant, allowing us to shape the blend that has the depth of character which just isn’t possible from one malt whisky alone”.

Vibrant is a good way to describe what’s been achieved here. The deep smokey vanilla malt on the nose is made richer with a little hint of milk chocolate and fresh apple, making this one of the best smelling blends I think I’ve ever come across. Seriously, I could spend all day just nosing this. The palate is slightly sweeter than its brothers and sisters too, bringing in a little bit of honey on the mid-to-back palate that’s hiding underneath those strong cereal malty notes which characterise the blend. Orange peel, raspberries, and cherry are more noticeable towards the finish, maintaining that fruity nose with a smokey hit from a very slight hint of tobacco.

ABV sits at 43% which means there was no tinkering from the original release to this one, which should satisfy fans who would only be able to notice very little differences between the Green Label then and the Green Label now.

Johnnie Walker Green Label is currently available for a RRP of $74.99. You can find it online for a bit cheaper HERE


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Chris Singh

Chris Singh is the Deputy-Editor-At-Large of the AU review, loves writing about travel and hospitality, and is partial to a perfectly textured octopus. You can reach him on Instagram: @chrisdsingh.