Black Label 12 yr

image    What comes to mind when you hear Black Label, serviceable, Middle of the row, adequate, every day. But what’s wrong with that ? We can’t always be sipping on the finest of dram we can’t always be sipping on the finest of drams. Every shelf has its highs, lows and gifts. To fill out a collection and have it last there has to be a good middle ground, it doesn’t have to break the bank and it fills a role. It’s not for special occasions but it is there after a good day of work.

Johnnie Walker imagehas an offering that fits the brief. With a wide range of expressions that vary from the work-a-day Red Label to the much vaunted Blue Label there is s middle ground.  Johnny Walker Black Label 12 year blended Scotch whiskey is that middle ground and it serves it well. The blend itself is comprised of about 40 different whiskies taken various areas all around Scotland. They have all been ages for 12 years. The result is a smooth, relatively light experience.


The nose has pleasant smokiness with an underpinning of deep salt. After repeated sniffing, trying to gain any other insights from smelling and then for a fleeting ephemeral moment I think I smelled a plume of plum. I suppose that can be the joy of blends. If you keep digging you can experience moments singular to the expression.

The palate has a simple introduction, the light spice washes quickly through subsiding while leaving a deposit of light peat. The mouthfeel for this dram is a mixture of light handed and just out of reach. You think something will develop but then it doesn’t.

The finish matches the nose and the palate, pleasant but fleeting. It seems that the numerous blends that provide the smoothness also muddles the various interesting notes. Blending is an art and by all means  Johnny Walker has a fine handle on this expression.



One thought on “Black Label 12 yr

  1. I wanted to drop by as a complete non-expert and say it was good to read this. I don’t think “Just good is still good, and serves a purpose,” is said enough in reviews of…well, anything.

    Walker was recommended to me by several Scots as the best choice to cook with (Red usually, Black if it’s the feature of the dish). Connoisseurs seem to take that as offensive, but they shouldn’t. Why would anyone who cares about their food cook with something that’s terrible? The first rule of cooking with wine (or any other alcohol, for that matter) is “Don’t cook with something you wouldn’t drink.” I was recommended this because it’s good, but the flavors aren’t overpowering enough to trample all the others in a dish. No, you shouldn’t put the $500 wine in a beef stew, but if you taste a wine, hate it, and think “I’ll keep that for cooking,” you’re going to make some god-awful beef stews.

    Apropos of nothing, maybe, but I think the same concept must apply to drinking as to cooking, in slightly different terms.

    Liked by 1 person

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