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Monday, December 5, 2016

JOHNNIE WALKER AT 15 CRAIGSIDE

I join a table on Wednesday nights at 15 Craigside, and sometimes, too, again on Sunday.  Last night I featured Johnnie Walker.  I have perhaps a dozen different kinds of this scotch.  The Company sells the most scotch in the world, and has been in existence for almost two centuries.


The most popular JWs are the colored ones, and they are all a blend of different whiskeys from throughout Scotland (prices vary widely, depending of various factors, but the relativity is close):
  • Red Label around $20/bottle, is rather harsh, leading some to mix it with something like ginger ale.  This was Winston Churchill's favorite, with a little soda.
  • Black Label sells for $30 and tastes woody.  It is a blend of 40 whiskeys at least 12 years old.
  • Double Black, for $40, was only launched five years ago, has no age designation, and is peatier (said to more closely resemble Caol Ila, whereas the Black has the essence of Cardhu).
  • Green Label appeared two decades ago, is aged 15 years, and costs $60/bottle.  Once was sold as Pure Malt, but has a blend of 15 single malts.  (For a while restricted to duty free, but now being sold retail.)  I still have a bottle this version, which should get more valuable with age.
  • Gold Label is at least 18 years old of 15 single malts and is $70/bottle.
  • Platinum Label goes for $100/bottle, is a blend of whiskeys at least 18 years old, and only appeared three years ago.  It is sweetish with a mild Islay (peaty) smokishness.
  • Blue Label is the iconic expensive bottle, going for $200.  Has won awards, tastes great and is a celebratory scotch.  Supposedly, only 25 years and older whiskeys are used in the blend, although the bottle shows no age.
There are, of course, other Johnnie Walkers, including Swing (right, where the bottle swings when you touch it), XR 21 Years Label, The John Walker and a hundred special bottlings.  Oh, The John Walker and Sons King George V:
  • Retails for $1000, but generally sells for $4500, for only 330 are annually sold worldwide.
  • Here is a site with a $600 price.
  • You can have a dram (one-sixteenth of an ounce)  at Charlie Trotter's bar in San Francisco for $650.
  • Supposedly goes well with blue cheese and chocolate truffles.
At this point, I thought, this scotch surely looks familiar, so I rummaged through my liquor cabinet and found an almost empty bottle:


This will now need to be locked up close to my Louis XIII cognac.

As those on the Monday night table are not scotch drinkers, I thought I'd begin modestly, with JR Red and Black Labels, a Dewars White Label and that 24-year old Costco scotch I just bought:


To maintain their privacy, I won't mention who sits on this table, but none of them drinks scotch, and one gave up after the first taste.  We all agreed that the Kirkland Signature Scotch Whiskey was the best.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average again broke its all-time record, up 46 to 19,216.

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