By Kurt Maitland
Late this summer, Johnnie Walker released their newest expression – The Platinum Label. It’s more than potential replacement to the soon to be departed Green Label. In their lineup it’s a position that is a rung below Johnnie Walker’s classic Blue Label, long considered one of the world’s best blends. The Platinum is an 18 yr old blended single malt and grain whiskey that was alluded to in our interview with Diageo’s Stephen Wilson:
“Platinum is the one of the newest members of the Johnnie Walker family. Right now it’s available globally in duty free markets. I can tell you, as I’ve done some work on it globally and it really, again when you talk about that Walker style and you look at all of the Walker whiskeys – they are all these unique personalities but they all have that House [of Walker] style that we have talked about. The Platinum really holds true to that craftsmanship and that tradition of great blending. The flavor profile is wonderful. Jim and the team have done a great job with it.”
I’ve had a chance to live and get familiar with the Platinum for a while and here is my take.
First off, there is no mistaking that the Platinum is a member of the Johnnie Walker line. Sitting in a glass near my computer, the core Johnnie Walker flavors are wafting toward me.
Nose – Sweet smoke, vanilla, and fruit
Color – A rich copper
Taste (Neat) – The nose is smoky and sweet and that is exactly what you get in the taste. It’s a warmer, fuller, creamier, and smoother flavor than some of the other Johnnie Walker Labels that are lower down the food chain. This is reminiscent in some ways of my beloved Midleton’s but with the smoky finish and slow burn that defines a Johnnie Walker release.
Taste (with water) – Less burn, and little less smoke and a little more sweetness. It is just as good but in a different, perhaps mellower way with a little water.
My take is that its an excellent addition to Johnnie Walker’s offerings. I’m happy this has moved from duty free to a general release. While I will miss the Green Label when it finally disappears from US shelves, this will more than do as an replacement.
$110 US and up, but it will be easy to find in better liquor stores.