As a brand Johnnie Walker is a household name, regardless of whether you are a whisky drinker or not, many would have heard of the name. Some perhaps know the name and still have no idea what they do, they are that big. And yet, there is this experimental whisky which they have produced in a limited release that is probably a little unusual for them. 11-years ago, blender, Aimée Gibson and her colleagues started a series of precise experiments in distilling Malt Whisky, using barley that had been roasted more heavily than ever before. The results were quite special, rich, dark chocolate notes with an intensity never experienced before. The blenders began working with this malt whisky and balancing its distinctive roasted notes with other whisky flavours. The result is of course this Johnnie Walker Blenders’ Batch Espresso Roast.
On the nose: is a wonderful burst of roasted coffee, rich dark chocolate, toffee, apples and pears. These initial notes are closely followed by vanilla, butterscotch, some green herbs, orange zest, raisins and nutmeg. Rounding-off the nose are notes of golden syrup, barley, citrus, honey , toasted oats and suggestion of walnuts. On the palate: those lovely dark chocolate notes are ever-present, alongside coffee, toffee, walnuts and raisins. A second sip reveals some notes of butterscotch and a slight salty note, as well as toasted oats, some spices, nutmeg and cinnamon. Completing the palate are notes of lemon zest, oak, an earthy note, golden syrup and barley. The finish: long, rich, bittersweet, with hints of smoke, with lingering notes of bergamot.
The verdict: This isn’t the first whisky I’ve ever tried that has been inspired by heavily roasted barley, if you remember, one Dr. Lumsden has used the same technique when creating the Signet. This Espresso Roast from Johnnie Walker has a more intense nose and palate of coffee and seriously rich dark chocolate. It’s a well-balanced dram that is smooth and would perhaps work best served neat in an espresso cup. With an ABV of 43.2%, in my opinion, you don’t really need to add any water. However, if you require water then add in small quantities until it’s right for you but to truly experience the full riches of the notes, then I suggest you leave to breathe for approximately 3 – 5 minutes.
Johnnie Walker Blenders’ Batch Espresso Roast Blended Scotch Whisky can mainly be found at any well-stocked whisky shop or online for approximately £30
For more information on this Blenders’ Batch Espresso Roast, visit the official Johnnie Walker website.