With the long weekend been and gone, The Bon Vivant has been using this time to have a look at various different things and what we can bring you our readers for these cold winter months. In particular I have been cooking up a storm in the kitchen working on various different soup recipes that we can bring you as the weather gets colder. Today, however, I am bringing you something that will most definitely warm the cockles of your heart.
One of first articles I wrote for the Bon Vivant was about a Johnnie Walker master class at the CBD Cellars Carrington St Store. Here I had the opportunity to taste the 5 commercially available Johnnie Walker whiskies. Today, I am looking at a bottle of the Johnnie Walker Double Black, a whisky that was purchased for me Duty Free a few months ago and since then has now, as I have been informed become commercially available here in Australia
The Double Black is interesting, I paid approximately $60 for a one litre bottle and at that price it sits between the green label and the black label and as such, you would have to consider it as a slightly more premium version of your traditional Johnnie Walker Black Label. With that in mind, what do you get for a bottle of double Black that is about $15 -$20 dearer than your standard bottle of Black label. Unlike your standard Black Label this doesn’t come with an age statement on the bottle. For those who haven’t read my master class article or are still unsure about what the age statement on a bottle of whisky means fear not. My understanding of the age statement on any bottle of whisky is that it reflects the age of the youngest whisky used to make that particular whisky. Blended Whiskies like Johnnie Walker whiskies are made of a number of different whiskies of various ages and the age statement tells you the age of the youngest whisky in the blend. The age statement on a Johnnie Walker Black Label reads twelve years meaning that each whisky contained in the blend has been aged at least twelve years. The double black without such statement is free to contain Whisky’s that are younger than what would be in standard Black Label.
The question remains how this affects the Double Black and how the double black differs from your standard black label and the proof is always in the tasting. Now, I have been waiting a while to taste this whisky with it sitting on my shelf tempting me every day for the past three months. Cracking this for the first time was a little surprising, as it was sealed with a plastic contraption that initially made pouring quite difficult.
That being said, you Immediately you notice that the Double Black has a much more predominate smoke character to it in comparison with the standard black label. The nose gives this smoke characteristic away almost immediately and upon closer inspection even the bottle makes note of this, describing the whisky as “a rich, intense, smoky blend containing whisky matured in deep charred old oak casks”.
The nose is dominated by this smoky character but there were some interesting more subtle notes (perhaps sawdust?) Upon tasting the double black I can confirm that for me this blend is a lot smokier than the standard black label with perhaps some slightly citrus (?) notes. The flavours on the this lingers on your palate for quite some time combining the dominant smoky flavour with some more mellow vanilla flavour coupled with a toffee/Werthers original and burnt caramel.
Overall, the double black is a lot more complex than the regular black label. I quite enjoyed the smokier elements of the double black. Both the length of palate and the more subtle flavours of this contributed to much more enjoyable experience for me than the standard black label. In my opinion unlike the Black Label this can be classed as a sipping whisky and doesn’t need to be mixed with anything. If you do see it when you are flying duty free I would give it a go, especially if you do like a whisky with a smokier element to it.
1 Litre of flavour.
Feel free to shoot me an email if you have tried it or if you have any other Whiskies you can recommend. Danny@thebonvivant.com.au