Johnnie Walker Green Label
was not the only execution in the JW lineup.
Apparently, and I’m admittedly a little slow to the news, Gold Label has been discontinued as well.
From a Johnnie Walker representative:
Unfortunately, Johnnie Walker Gold Label is no longer in production. However, we recommend Johnnie Walker Gold Label Reserve as an alternative whisky. As they are from the same family, they both carry a distinctively honeyed aroma from the single malt distillery, Clynelish.
Because Clynelish is one of the Master Blenders’ favorite distilleries, he has chosen to highlight this distillery character even more in Gold Label Reserve. Gold Label Reserve has a full, rounded taste, its’ sweet vanilla tones balanced with a fruity aroma, with hints of cedar and smoke. The whisky gives a smooth, warm and creamy lingering finish.
We apologize for any displeasure the decision to discontinue Johnnie Walker Gold Label may cause you, and sincerely hope that you will find Johnnie Walker Gold Label Reserve to be a suitable alternative.
There is, however, something to replace Gold Label – it’s called Gold Label Reserve. You see, Gold Label carried with it the 18 year old age statement. Gold Label Reserve drops the age statement but not the price. Removing the age statement gives Johnnie Walker some flexibility in blending, so it’s not a surprise (plus the industry is moving towards dropping age statements as a general trend).
If you’re a fan of Gold Label and want to know how Gold Label Reserve compares, here’s a good side by side review of the two by Drink Spirits.
And for what it’s worth, Johnnie Walker released a Platinum Label in 2013 that carries the 18 year age statement.
Despite naming myself a scotch addict, I do enjoy whiskies of all nationalities and I was happy to learn that Suntory Liquors was named Distiller of the Year at the 17th International Spirits Challenge in England. It was the second year in a row that Suntory, maker of Yamazakie (among others), has taken the award, which is given to the distiller who “consistently produces a variety of high-quality products.”
As it also turns out, Yamazaki 18 and Hakushu 25 took home the highest awards as well, rated at 90 – 100 based on the ISC’s rating system. It’s not a simple ranking of best to worth but a review of the product itself with “outstanding product, exceptional quality” being the benchmark for the highest score. There are the only two non-Scotch Whiskies to get this highest rank.
If you’ve never had Yamazaki, named after the district in which the distillery operates, I suggest you give it a try because it’s a fine dram. Thus far I’ve only had the 12 year old but I look forward to trying a few of the others in the near future!
The London Distillery Company, started by a former employee of the Scotch Malt Whisky Society, is planning to be the first distillery in a hundred years to produce a whisky in London. Darren Rook, 30 year old former manager of the Scotch Malt Whisky Society, plans to start production before Christmas of this year and will be the first time London had a working malt whisky distillery since 1910, when Lea Valley in Stratford was shuttered.
“The English whisky industry isn’t anywhere near as well documented as the industry in Scotland, but the history is fascinating,” Mr Rook said. “We’re looking at the history of whisky production in London, and we want a product that’s light and floral.
I think it’ll be interesting and Rook is right, competing with Scotland would be crazy, but all the pieces are there in London for the creation of a nice dram. We’ll see how they do… see you in 10 years?
The San Francisco World Spirits Competition was held in late March this year and there were a lot of standouts in the single malt scotch category. The competition awarded a “Best Whisky” for the category but also a bunch of “Double Gold.”
Reddit user there_is_no_clutch compiled a list of seventeen Double Gold winners who can be purchased for $100 or less (retail):
- Aberlour 12 Year Old, Speyside[43%] $42.
- Aberlour 12 Year Old, Non-Chill Filtered, Speyside, [48%] $60.
- Aberlour 18 Year Old, Speyside [43%] $100.
- Ardbeg, Corryvreckan, Islay [57.1%] $85.
- Auchentoshan Three Wood, Lowland [43%] $63.
- Bunnahabhain 12 Year Old, Islay [46.3%] $40.
- Bunnahabhain 18 Year Old, Islay [46.3%] $90.
- Glen Garioch Founders Reserve, Highland [48%] $45.
- Glenfiddich, Cask of Dreams, Speyside [48.8%] $99.
- Glenmorangie Extremely Rare 18 Year Old, Highlands [43%] $100.
- Laphroaig 10 Year Old, Islay [43%] $46.
- Laphroaig 18 Year Old, Islay [48%] $95.
- Laphroaig 10 Year Old, Cask Strength, Islay [57.3%] $60.
- Speyburn Brandan Orach, Speyside [40%] $20.
- The Arran 14 Year Old, Islands [46%] $70.
- The Balvenie 15 Year Old, Single Barrel, Speyside [47.8%] $80.
- The Glenlivet 18 Year Old, Speyside [43%] $60.
The winner of Best Whisky went to Isle of Jura Single Malt Scotch 1976, a 42% spirit with a retail price of $750.
One of my favorite go-to scotches, Balvenie 12 Year Old DoubleWood, scored a Gold medal.
Full results by class
It looks like Johnnie Walker Green Label will be discontinued.
I emailed Johnnie Walker and received this response from a representative named Eliza –
“We value loyal consumers such as yourself and we appreciate your enthusiasm. Unfortunately, Johnnie Walker Green Label has been discontinued and currently there are no plans to offer this product again in the future. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you, and appreciate that you took the time to express your support for this product. However, we are glad to hear that you enjoyed Johnnie Walker Double Black Label and we encourage you to try Johnnie Walker Platinum Label or Johnnie Walker Gold Reserve in hopes that you may find a new favorite.”
Update February 2015: JW Green may be available in North America again – more details here.
I suspect the move has to do with sales. Johnny Walker Black and Red are quite affordable at $26 and $20 a bottle respective. Johnnie Walker Blue lives in that “luxury” realm of scotch at $160 a bottle.
Then you have Johnnie Walker Gold at $70.
And Johnnie Walker Green at around $50 a bottle.
To the novice scotch drinker or gift giver, you can either go inexpensive with Red and Black or you go up the luxury spectrum and consider Gold at $70 or Blue at twice the price. The $50 price point gets lost.
I’ve tried each of the five, most recently I tried the Green, Gold and Blue in one sitting. I can’t honestly say that the Green stood out above the others in any meaningful way and at $50 I don’t know if it’s particularly memorable, I’m sad to say. While I’m always sad to see anything be discontinued, I’d be lying if I said I’d miss it but you can always try to make your own!
It contains Talisker, Caol Ila, Cragganmore, and Linkwood with each being at least 15 years old.