Monday, October 28, 2013

Johnnie Walker Vs J&B - Cheap Whisky shout-out

I like my whisky. If you are a regular connoisseur of the fine drop you may need to mortgage the house to enjoy the better ones. It is not hard to pay $90 to $300 a bottle for some of the best though I have found incredibly good whiskies for $60 to $90 a bottle. Why should life be so hard? Surely there is a cheap drop of the golden nectar which will satisfy and not break the band.

And so the quest. I bashed the local liquor stores and the Dan Murphies nearby purchasing and sampling the better offerings of blended Scotch and even single malt Whiskies in the $30 to $40 range. Not that I will review it here but Glen Moray single malt Irish, 5 year old, is a fine example of an inexpensive single malt Whiskey. Lookout for the review now back to the blended. Heather Mist is an example of a darn horrible whisky. If you mix coke with your whisky (which I never do) you will be wasting good coke on this one. This stuff is almost undrinkable, no wonder it can be purchased for under $29.

Grants is a reasonable sipping whisky but has a heavy Islay malt flavour. After a few Grants I found the heaviness just too much. I did find Johnnie Walker Red Label (JW) a base, drinkable whisky at the mid thirties price. I drink my whiskies straight in a chilled glass, no ice. JW though just didn’t excite and its crude attempt at a peat bouquet leaves me feeling I have been breathing smoke from burning timbers. It also has a sow mash finish. Again, compared to more expensive whiskies, which do sponsor a sow mash finish, I found this a little over bearing.

On the recommendation of Dan Murphy staff I tried J&BScotch Whisky (JB). This is quite similar to JW but has an oily, smoother finish with none of the peat bouquet or sow mash finish. At least these two characters are not overly evident. JB has more of the “cream” finish than JW and is fine as a sipping whisky where you want to have a few and not feel bogged down. See some tasting notes below.

For me and my wallet JB is the drink. I can sip away for hours and not feel weighted down by too much sour mash, or over malty flavour. My head is full of aromatics at every sip and I get to keep the house. You should be able to buy JB at the low thirty dollar mark. I have seen it as high as $39.95. Don’t pay this and shop around. Drink it straight and leave the coke for children.

Lighter in colour
Very light bouquet slight citrus
Slightly oily, hits with that whisky taste at the back of tongue
Smooth off the tongue and across the palette
Light aromatic. Fills the head with light spice

More yellow, looks righter
slightly heavier bouquet. A slight meaty odour but both whisky are very light
A little cruder, far more sour than JB not as refined in flavour
Hits you at the back of the mouth.
Richer and harder aromatics into the back of the nose.

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