Whispers of Whisk(e)y returns… Johnnie Walker The Adventurer

Today’s review, which comes after far too long a break, takes a look at another whisky: one from the Johnnie Walker Explorers’ Club Collection, a series inspired by the journeys of those who took Johnnie Walker across the world. Available via travel retail, you might have spotted these as you explored the whisky sections of Duty Free shops.

DTS and I first encountered The Adventurer before a trip to America a couple of years ago and we were a little confused at its store placement: very much apart from the other Explorers’ Club whiskies and with little information available on it. Intrigued, we bought a bottle. That was a few years (and bottles) ago.

johnnie-walker-adventurer-final

On its own

Nose: A saline, almost briney smokiness to start, with notes of tobacco, dry wood chips, and echoes of pineapple. Lovely spiced notes build up over time.

Taste: Very soft on the tongue, but with more force of flavour on the palate afterwards. There is a pleasant smokiness, before lasting notes of dry, not tart pineapple, light wood, and chilli, then sweeter spice with more smoke on the finish. A lovely dram that, personally, I think is perfectly halfway between the Red and Black Labels.

Rob Roy

Pleasantly dry, but the Rosso comes through well. Wisps of smoke are followed by lots of complex herbal notes. The finish remains lovely and dry, with notes of dark liquorice and a hint of berries. Finally, there is a clean, light, and woody smokiness.

Old Fashioned

The Adventurer makes an unusually sharp, almost bitter Old Fashioned that makes a wonderful aperitif. Subdued honey notes are followed by the smoke and spice. Like the Rob Roy, its finish is very dry, but full of smoky flavours, along with a little lime and vanilla.

Whisky Soda

Exceptionally dry, this is a refreshing, grown up drink. The soda water lengthens the whisky well, without masking any of its flavours. To start, there is dry vanilla, before a flash of sweeter smoke, then more charred notes that linger on a refreshing, woody finish.

Whisky Ginger

Again, this works well, but produces a much sweeter drink than the others. It is creamy, too, with lots of vanilla and just a dash of smokiness – more than you’d get with the Red Label, but not as much as with the Black Label. The finish is long, with solid notes from both the ginger and the whisky’s oak notes.

 

It is worth noting that the Explorers’ Club Collection covers a broad price range, but The Adventurer is the cheapest, at around £32 for a litre in Duty Free. It can be found for around £40-45 in the UK. Given the combination of price point and the international theme of the collection, we decided to try a few additional, unusual long drinks alongside our normal line-up.

with Coconut Water

This is an unexpectedly brilliant, refreshing drink. The coconut water adds the extra sweetness and creaminess that The Adventurer holds back on, resulting in smooth notes of pineapple and light coconut that fade into smoke, dry apple, and oak on the finish. Exceptionally easy to drink, especially in warmer weather.

with Ting

These flavours, again, go surprisingly well together – there is bright, vibrant, citrus (lemon and grapefruit) that flows seamlessly into the light smokiness of the whisky. The finish has notes of vanilla and pineapple, and a continued stream of smokiness.

with Fentiman’s Curiosity Cola

Intrigued at how well some of these combinations were turning out, we decided to try The Adventurer up against one of my favourite (and most flavourful) soft drinks: Fentiman’s Curiosity Cola. The result? A tasty drink with great structure and body. Not too sweet, there’s a dry woodiness to start, that is quickly swept up in the complex, herbal flavours from the cola. The Adventurer’s smokiness appears on the finish – soft to start, but gradually increasing – and works very well with the more medicinal notes of the mixer.

In Conclusion

The Adventurer is a great addition to the Johnnie Walker line-up. With its light texture, but combination of distinct smokiness, dry pineapple, and spiced notes, it makes for a whisky that is both easy to sip – sitting midway between the Red and Black Labels in taste – and works exceptionally well in mixed drinks. A firm favourite in our household.

— Mrs. B.

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Cocktails with Johnnie Walker Spice Road – The Travel Retail Exclusive Blend

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Following the introduction of the new Johnnie Walker Gold Reserve and Platinum whiskies, Johnnie Walker have a new collection of whiskies to unveil: The Explorer’s Club Collection. Inspired by the historic expeditions of the Walker family, the collection combines the exclusive and exotic nature of international travel in centuries past with characteristics of particular travels. The first series in the collection is ‘The Trade Route’, which consists of three whiskies: The Spice Road, The Gold Route and The Royal Route.

The first to be released, The Spice Road, was very kindly brought home from a trip to Kentucky by DTS (it’s currently a travel exclusive, only available in Duty Free shops). It’s inspired by the thriving markets of Asia and comes in a lovely, slightly understated box.

JW SpiceRoute Bottle

On its own
Nose: Warm and rich: the heavy, sweet fruit of fruit cake and brandy, before a gradual transformation to a lighter, savoury spice, more akin to mild chilli and black pepper, and the freshness of lime. A hint of charred-wood smokiness at the end.
Taste: At the beginning there’s a sweet woodiness that has a dough-like quality to it. This quickly develops into a smooth, but seemingly playful spiciness – a combination of chilli, pepper and ginger – that lasts on the finish, giving it a warm and interesting texture that’s long, but not at all heavy. The end of the finish is warm, dry and ever-so-slightly bitter, reminding me of bark.

Whisky Ginger
Intriguing – oddly sweet for a majority, before transforming to a savoury finish. There’s a subtle, creamy vanilla note throughout. Unlike some other Whisky Gingers, where the ginger ale and whisky flavours are quite separate – you get the sweet ginger and then the whisky quite distinctly at the end – the two integrate particularly well in this drink; maybe its the ginger in both? Regardless, it’s lovely.

Rob Roy
Savoury and sweet at the same time – the dryness of the whisky and the rich fruitiness of the vermouth seem to be expertly combined. Rich, red wine to start, followed by the distinctive, dry spiciness of the Spice Road. The vermouth highlights more wintery spices in the whisky, like cinnamon and cloves. This has an excellent, interesting flavour profile, whilst remaining smooth and refreshing.

In Conclusion
This whisky really does exactly what it says on the tin: it’s full of colourful, spicy flavours, combined with a brilliant smoothness and freshness. Although it doesn’t have the weight and comforting smokiness of the Black or Double Black Labels, it’s unique character, along with the concept behind the series, makes it definitely worth a try.

– Mrs. B.

Johnnie Walker Spice Route is available from World Duty Free for around £30 for a litre.

SpiceRouteBox

 

Keep Walking! – A Look at the New Johnnie Walker Labels

The Johnnie Walker line-up is changing this year, with the bowing out of their Green Label and Gold Label, and the introduction of Johnnie Walker Gold Reserve and Johnnie Walker Platinum Label:

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Gold Label Reserve was created by Master Blender Jim Beveridge from handpicked casks to celebrate the art of blending. The Johnnie Walker website describes it as “pure indulgence”.

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Platinum Label, also created by Jim Beveridge, is being marketed towards people who are after something a little bit special to share with friends. All of its constituent whiskies are at least 18 years old and are from limited casks that have been specially kept by.

Despite how exciting these sound, as a particular fan of the original Gold Label (ever since our wonderful Goodwood tasting), I have to admit to being a tad hesitant about such a big change. I had tried small samples at Distil and Imbibe, but couldn’t wait to try them both at home and was particularly relieved when DTS offered to set up a blind tasting for me, so that I could be as fair and unbiased as possible. To make things additionally interesting, he threw in the Green and Black Labels without telling me (it’s a shame that we didn’t have any Gold Label at the time)! Still, a sneaky, if clever, move.

Here are my blind-tasting thoughts.

Green Label
Nose: Syrup and oats, but with a dry finish. Lots of sweet wood, too, reminding me a tad of bourbon.
Taste: Raw, genuine wood and not too much else; quite a short initial flavour, but a very nice one, nonetheless. A good warmth builds up after from alcohol.

Black Label
Nose: Rich, fruity and really syrupy, with hints of plum, raisin and other rich notes that remind me of fruit cake. After a few moments, the sweetness transformed into more of a Christmas-pudding nuttiness.
Taste: Smooth and sweet. There’s a short initial flavour of fruit cake that’s followed by another flavour that develops a lot more slowly, overlaid by a faint smokiness: another genuine woodiness – no gimmicky flavours to mask it here – that you can really chew over.

Gold Label Reserve
Nose: A much stronger nose than the previous two. A combination of light wood, vanilla and a richer, honey sweetness.
Taste: Quite strong alcohol to start, followed by a good woodiness and the faintest hint of smoke. This quickly disperses, leaving a pleasant, medium-long finish that is relatively dry and fruity. Smooth and accessible.

Platinum Label
Nose: Savoury, light wood with oats, like oatcakes, to start. This then turns sweeter, with hints of maple.
Taste: Harsher than the previous ones and distinctly savoury; almost bitter at points. This comes across as not particularly balanced to start, but quickly settles down upon a second sip. There’s definitely some wood notes here, but there’s not so much personality. The finish is dry, reminiscent of sherry and dried fruit.

In Conclusion
The latest additions to the Johnnie Walker range are definitely different to the ones that they’re replacing, so if you are a particular fan of either the Green Label or the Gold Label (“The Centenary Blend”), you’ll want to stock up now. Equally, if you get the chance to try the Gold Reserve or Platinum Labels, I would recommend it; they’re definitely something new, carefully designed for today’s market, and, whilst they weren’t my favourites in this blind tasting, they might be yours!

– Mrs. B

Johnnie Walker Gold Reserve is available for around £42 for 70cl from The Whisky Exchange.

Johnnie Walker Platinum is available for around £66 for 70cl from The Whisky Exchange.

Cocktails with… Johnnie Walker Red Label

There’s not too long now before Christmas, and I’m sure everyone’s busy worrying about lists of gifts, wrapping them up, or wrapping up work before the holiday descends upon us in its entirety.One thing DBS & I always like to do around this time of year is explore the various seasonal gift aisles at the big supermarkets and shops, which often yield a variety of spirit-filled goodies. I’m a big fan of these, in particular those that are whisky-related (obviously). A number of them made up my recent birthday wishlist, so I have lots  of new things to try over the next couple of months.

Today, though, I wanted to look at a more substantial offering from the makers of Johnnie Walker. Unlike the scores of mini-and-a-glass sets gracing the shelves, this set provides you with a full bottle of Johnnie Walker Red Label in a lovely red and gold tin. I’ve reviewed Red Label already, here, and, as its made for mixing, I thought I’d ask DBS to make me a couple of festive cocktails to explore how this set could benefit your (or a friend/relative’s) Christmas. But first, a few notes on it neat (straight from the tin!).

Johnnie Walker Red Label

Nose: A mixture of straw, toasted grain, and brandy, with a faint hint of the kind of dry grape that you get with a sherry. The brandy note intrigued me today, because it reminded me particularly of the bitter citrus peel note that you sometimes get via taste in a Christmas pudding.
Taste: Very warming. There was a vivid burst of flavour and warmth immediately, that was followed by a dry woodiness. The warmth followed through to my stomach – very pleasant at this time of year – and, as this fades away, dry wood and grain notes come through more strongly, with a slight, but not unpleasant, metallic edge to them.

Jolly Johnnie

[30ml Johnnie Walker Red Label, 10ml Cointreau, 1 heaped teaspoon mincemeat.]
Add to a shaker with ice and shake hard. Stain into a glass.
The nose was dominated by the mincemeat – ah, the flavour of Christmas! Lots of Christmas spice and citrus fruit. A powerful shot of sweetness hit me almost immediately, before giving way to more bitter, dry notes from the citrus in both the Cointreau and the mincemeat. A perfectly balanced, but not at all dull,  cocktail that’s wonderful to sit and sip.

Hot Toddy

[30ml Johnnie Walker Red Label, 10ml Sugar Syrup, 10ml Honey, 100ml Hot Water]
This drink had a comforting nose of lemon and honey. To taste, there was a soft start, with a kick soon after of sharp, sour citrus, like sherbet lemons. This faded into a rich honey flavour with Christmas spice on the finish. The whisky serves to add warmth and bring all of the flavours together rather than dominate itself, and the warmth ensures that the flavours last for considerably longer. Delicious; a revitalising, rather than a relaxing, toddy.

In Conclusion

This tasting surprised me and reminded me why I liked Red Label so much when I first tried it in a blind Johnnie Walker tasting a few years ago: it’s bold, warming, straight-forward and wonderfully savoury. As a result, it works marvellously in Christmas cocktails by adding it’s long, glowing warmth and balancing out sweetness (allowing you to treat yourself to seasonal ingredients like mincemeat or honey that might otherwise make a drink sickly). If you know anyone who likes a whisky toddy or experimenting with cocktails at Christmas, this could be the gift for them.

As for the tin, it’s a good size for storage of a variety of materials and a great colour to perk up shelves or a cupboard, in particular at this time of year. Here’s a couple of uses that I thought of…

Oh, there’s one more present under the tree…

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Johnnie Walker Premier

DBS bought a miniature of Johnnie Walker Premier for me a little while ago. We were both intrigued by this whisky, which we couldn’t find many notes on. We knew it was a J.W. blend made predominantly for the Japanese market that wasn’t made any more, but, other than that, there didn’t seem to be much information around. As I set about writing this, DBS proposed that this might be a good time to crack it open – I wasn’t going to object!

Nose: This had a smooth, rich nose of golden syrup, honey and the slightest hint of peat or straw. It was a very down-to-earth nose that reminded me of farmhouses or (clean) stables: mainly wood and straw. No harsh ethanol at all.
Taste: Full-bodied, with lots of force of flavour – I got a strong alcoholic tingle across the tongue as I drank. As the alcohol’s intensity softened, the flavour took on a slightly bitter, woody, “grown-up” aspect, with wisps of straw coming through via vapours at the back of the throat. It wraps up with a very dry, savoury finish.

With a drop or two of water, however, Premier really improved, in my opinion. The nose became even sweeter, reminding me strongly of caramel and oats, a little like flapjack, and the taste, whilst still very savoury, was less harsh. The straw notes deepened a little, getting one step towards peatiness, and were more a part of the flavour of the spirit, than vapours evaporating off of it.

I’m very glad to have tried Premier, as it’s an interesting addition to the J.W. collection. My resounding thought was that there wasn’t any sweetness or complex development of flavours here – this is a very straight-forward, grown-up whisky with a lovely, sweet nose masking a savoury taste.

– Mrs. B.

Here’s Johnnie! – A Tasting of the Johnnie Walker Range

Well, we have definitely moved into whisky weather! DBS & I recently returned from a wonderful trip to Edinburgh, where we explored gins and whiskies alike and generally had a chance to relax in a beautiful city. It was our honeymoon in Edinburgh a few years ago where I first realised that I enjoyed Scotch and so its special for a multitude of reasons.The delightful impromptu whisky tastings on our holiday reminded me that I needed to write about the second half of our visit to Goodwood Revival; it was the most perfectly timed and fitting tasting that I’ve ever been to. To re-set the scene, DBS & I had been invited along to try some Johnnie Walker.

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Outside the garage…

We tried the Red and Black Labels outside in the bright summer sunshine, members of an eager audience in vintage garb, all ready to hear the story of Johnnie Walker from Colin and learn about the brand’s “original two” blends. Racing cars were whizzing around the track not too far away and cheerful music was filling the air, along with chatter from the surrounding crowds. It was a lovely, fun way to sample the whiskies and it was great to see a few people drop any boundaries that they might normally have to trying whisky straight and give it a go. Here my notes.


Red Label

Blended from thirty-five grain and malt whiskies, the Red Label has no given (minimum) age. Along with the Black Label, this was one of the original blends that were sold by John’s grandsons from 1906. Back then, it was called ‘Special Old Highland’, but they found that customers simply ended up asking for the bottle with the “red label”, so they introduced the use of the colours in the names. The Red Label, unlike the others that we tried, is apparently blended with the aim of producing a good mixing ingredient, although you can, obviously, still enjoy it on its own.

The nose was distinctively savoury, with notes of grain followed by some spice and apple, but remaining savoury throughout. The taste matched the nose perfectly, with savoury grain and dry fruit being the predominant flavours for me. I found it to be quite sharp and bright; a whisky to wake you up.

Black Label

Back in 1906, this was called ‘Extra Special Old Highland’ and sat alongside the Red Label. Thirty-five malt and five grain whiskies, all aged for at least twelve years, go into making this blend. It contrasted sharply with the Red, with a rich, sweet, syrupy nose that reminded me of a liqueur.
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On the tongue, it was viscous and syrupy with a lovely warmth and mouth-feel. There was an elegant smokiness (I was going to write “light”, but it wasn’t – it just wasn’t overwhelming) and an earthiness to it, but both were smoothed out by a spiced honey sweetness that was only accentuated by my trying the savoury Red just prior to this.
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Inside the garage…

Later on in the day, David & I were invited to try the other JW “Colours”, which was a wonderful opportunity. We set up our impromptu whisky tasting inside the Rob Walker Racing Bar, which had been dressed marvellously with props and items from the Diageo Archive in Scotland. Simply being at the Revival made me feel like I’d stepped back in time, but this garage was on a level of its own. And now we were sitting down – me on a stool, David on a high-chair and Colin on a rickety workbench – to try whisky. It was superb!


Green Label

The concept behind the Green Label is slightly different to the others; it is blended from a mere four whiskies, all of which are at least fifteen years old, and this definitely comes through. The nose wasn’t sweet, in a similar fashion to the Red, but didn’t have the strong notes of grain. There were some definite notes of lime and other citrus and, maybe by mental association, I got a hint of the sour saltiness that I associate with a tequila.

To taste, this was dry, like a light wood, with a dry, peppercorn-like spice to it (not at all like the chili pepper spiciness of Talisker). Towards the end, I got a prominent “flash” of dark chocolate that intrigued me, because it wasn’t at all sweet or creamy, but the flavour was there nonetheless, followed by a dry finish.



Gold Label

Based on Alexander Walker II’s (John’s grandson) blending notes for a whisky to celebrate Johnnie Walker’s centenary, the production of Gold Label had to be postponed because of a shortage of the whiskies during World War I. Of all of the whiskies that we tried, this one surprised me the most. The nose was sweet and vivacious, underpinned by heavier notes of burnt wood and highlighted by delicate notes of spice and violets.

The flavour profile in the mouth was what really intrigued me here, though; it was not at all linear or flat, but evolved constantly. There was an initial burst of spice and honey, followed by a deceptive dullness that is quickly swept away by a burnt wood smokiness (not peaty, though). The spicy honey notes then seem to fade in and out as the flavour evolves. The flavours reminded me of a liqueur, but it wasn’t sweet.

Another aspect to this whisky that I had underestimated was how much it evolved just by sitting in the glass. Following Colin’s guidance, we frequently returned to each of the Green, Gold and Blue throughout the tasting session, and I found that the Gold both changed the most and for the best: after ten or fifteen minutes, it grew gradually more sweet and syrupy, with notes of marzipan and a buttery nuttiness coming into play alongside the other flavours. It managed to retain its boldness, but generally seemed more rounded, as if it had relaxed after being in your company that little while longer (!). Delicious.


Blue Label

The Blue Label is a premium blend, which is obvious in the luxurious packaging (a silk-lined box and a cap that is initially covered by foil that you remove by pulling a small, gold braid ending in a small medallion) in addition to what’s inside the bottle.

The nose was complex and multidimensional, and I found it difficult to isolate many of the flavours (I think that this is a whisky that I will keep coming back to as I try more and develop my palette!), but got an oaty, malty sweetness that was accompanied by darker wood notes than I’d found in any of the other Labels.

To taste, it seemed more heavy and viscous than the others – so much so that I’ve scribbled, “Almost chewy!” in my notes. It’s also richer in flavour, with more peat and smoke that regularly faded in and out, interrupting an underlying maltiness that is rounded off by spiced honey. As I’ve said above, I can’t help but feel like this is one that I’ll have to keep returning to – long-term, not merely over an hour – before I can fully appreciate it; it was complex and took its time in developing, demanding both attention and patience.

In Conclusion…

My favourite of the day was undoubtedly the Gold Label, although the Green continues to intrigue me in how unique it was against the others (and that hint of dark chocolate!) and the Black has been a family favourite for a while now. One thing that struck me during the tastings, though, was how I could see myself drinking all of the colours, depending on my mood; the real benefit of the day was being able to put them all in perspective with one another; what a family!

Mrs. B

A postscript…

Johnnie Walker DoubleBlack

JW also made a Double Black Label, which is based on the Black, but also uses some peated malts and whiskies that have been aged in charred barrels. It’s currently still only available in duty-free in the UK.

The nose was sweet, light and bright, and characteristically syrupy, like the Black Label, with some flapjack notes and a faint hint of smoke at the end. I even thought that I detected a little liquorice.

On the tongue, it was incredibly smooth, with a texture like runny honey. This develops into a drier and distinctly woody texture, with sweetness keeping it smooth around edges. Rich wood dominates the flavour for me; there’s also a warm, but not overbearing, peatiness all the way around the mouth that’s neatly rounded off with a savoury finish that is clean and yet still warming. In case it isn’t obvious, I really enjoyed this one and will definitely be going back to it; hopefully it’ll become more readily available in the future.

Cocktails with Johnnie Walker

Cocktails with Johnnie Walker
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Last Friday, DBS donned his finest three-piece and grey fedora, and I, my favourite, flowery frock and we set off for our very first trip to the Goodwood Revival. Despite my having seen various advertisements and heard discussions on this event by friends in the vintage community, I certainly wasn’t prepared for the sheer scale of this event. There were literally people everywhere and a vast majority were dressed in honour of the Golden Age, including children; at one point we spotted a school party, all dressed in grey and crimson vintage uniforms and caps. All in all, it was quite a sight, even for someone used to seeing people dressed in vintage, and so I was immensely grateful to be grounded by the focus of our day: Johnnie Walker whisky.
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We found the Johnnie Walker Racing Bar by walking through a vintage style Tesco store, through the subway beneath the racing track, and past a vast array of beautiful and exceptionally well-cared for vintage cars. The bar was set up within a wooden shed that had been meticulously decorated to look like one that might have been used by Rob Walker, with racing car, tools, desk, books and a tea mug, complete with dregs.

The Rob Walker Workshop - Click to enlarge

The Rob Walker Workshop – (Click to enlarge)

On the opposite side of the garage was a bar, serving Johnnie Walker Red and Black Label whiskies, plus a selection of cocktails created especially for the occasions. Given my fondness for scotch, I was delighted to be able to try the Johnnie Walker selection with the wonderful Colin Dunn (who we met at the recent Talisker event at Cowes Week, which you can read about here), but today, I thought I would run through the cocktails to hopefully inspire some experimentation before our British summer disappears completely! I will write about the whiskies on their own shortly, in a separate post.
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Red Rose

Red RoseIngredients:

25mls Johnnie Walker Red Label
Fentimans Rose Lemonade
2 strawberries
1 lemon wedge
Method:
Fill a tall glass with ice and pour in the Red Label. Top with the lemonade, drop in a strawberry and stir. Garnish with a pinch of chopped strawberry and a lemon wedge.

 This was, frankly, delicious. Delicate, but flavourful, the scotch hits your tongue first, with its sweeter, fruity notes highlighted, followed by a gradual increase in flavour that transformed into a strong, rose flavour, just like Turkish Delight. The finish was fruity and fresh, with the strawberries coming through and the lemon just rounding off the sweetness of everything else. Having recently tried Fentiman’s Rose Lemonade alongside some of its Floral Soda counterparts and knowing that it has a delicate flavour, I was amazed at how much of the rose came through in this drink. Lovely!
 Johnnie Walker Buck

Johnnie Walker BuckIngredients:
25mls Johnnie Walker Red Label
Top with ginger ale
2 lime wedges
Method:
Fill a tall glass with ice and pour in the Red Label. Top with ginger ale and a squeeze of lime, using the lime wedges as a garnish.

In contrast to the Red Rose, the J.W. Buck was incredibly savoury. I found the nose to be ever so slightly salty – reminding me of the Tequila Fruit Cup that DBS made – which was supported by the freshness and acidity of the lime. When I tasted it, I got the sense that this drink worked very well with the whisky, allowing the spicy, woody notes to come through without any sweetness to mask them. The savouriness of this drink made it easy to drink, but this is unlikely to be the favourite of someone who prefers sweeter cocktails.

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Stirling Collins

Stirling CollinsIngredients:
25mls Johnnie Walker Black Label
25mls lemon juice
10mls gomme
25mls rhubarb and apple juice
Soda
1 lemon wedge
1 sprig of mint
Method:
Shake the Black Label, lemon juice and gomme with the rhubarb and apple juice and pour into a tall glass. Top with soda and garnish with a lemon wedge and mint sprig.

This was an interesting one. I had two during the day they tasted slightly different, although both had a spicy nose, followed by the distinctive smell of the rhubarb and a slight, lemony bitterness. On the tongue, I thought that it was well-rounded, despite evolving a lot in the mouth. The first one that I had tasted a lot more of rhubarb, whereas the second was surprisingly savoury – as with the Buck, bordering on salty – and refreshing, especially given the amount of fruit juice in it. The rhubarb flavour became stronger in both drinks, with a tartness that reminded me of old-fashioned rhubarb boiled sweets, followed by a decidedly savoury finish.
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Cream of the Crop

Cream of the CropIngredients:
25mls Johnnie Walker Black Label
Cream soda
Method:
Fill a tall glass with ice and pour in the Black Label. Top with cream soda and garnish with an orange wedge. (Apple works too!)

Incredibly different to the last two! The cream soda is immediately evident as a very appropriate choice of mixer, given our vintage setting; the nose was strong, creamy and sweet, like milk bottle sweets. The taste was similarly sweet, with a smooth, creamy texture; the milky creaminess stayed at the top of my mouth. The Black Label came through afterwards, but it was faint and mainly served to add some weight with a slightly heavier, spicy, dark-toffee-like sweetness, highlighted by the orange. This would be good for those with a sweet tooth who don’t think that they could like a whisky cocktail.
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.Stirling Collins and Johnny Walker Buck

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In Conclusion…

Although I obviously liked some of these cocktails a lot more than the others, I thought that the selection overall was superb for that very reason: I have no doubt that most people would find a firm favourite amongst the list.

For those who like their whisky cocktails to taste predominantly of whisky, there was the Johnnie Walker Buck; for those who like heavier whisky notes, but something else going on as well, there’s the Red Rose; the Stirling Collins will satisfy those that like a more fruity expression of their whisky; and, finally, for those who would prefer less heavy whisky notes, want to try something new, or just have a sweet tooth, there’s the Cream of the Crop.

My personal favourite was the Red Rose, followed by the Johnnie Walker Buck, but I could happily drink any of these lovely concoctions, especially on such a glorious summer day as we had last Friday. I will be writing on the whiskies themselves shortly, no doubt by which point the autumn chill will definitely be in the air.

– Mrs. B.

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