Dram Review: Johnnie Walker Blue Label Ghost & Rare

[46.0%・NAS・Bottled in 2018・Johnnie Walker Bottling・Limited Release]

Nose:

Quite a smoky presence upfront, the peat leaves a quick impression alongside minerals and limestone. Hearty malt, soft honey and candle wax follow the initial peaty impression. There is a meaty lowland presence in the mix with soft fruits, crisp red apples, ripe banana, sultana and can pineapples balanced by hazelnuts, white chocolate, sandalwood and white pepper. It grows a bit sooty and chalky in time.

Palate & Finish:

A voluminous front palate made of honey and soft fruits – poached apples, cured pineapples and caramelised banana bringing about a full on tropical jammy sweetness as the mellow pear smoke run beneath it on the mid-palate. A splash of pepper and spices injects a liveliness to the juicy affair as the earthy woodiness showcases some of the components’ age, with the sweetened hazelnut cream providing a nutty afterthought.

Mild finish, clean barley sweetness drags on with some grain spices. Grows a tad dry like an earthy piccolo.

Thoughts:

The Brora fan in me likes how the distillery’s smoky years were subtly incorporated.

Rather than giving a full on Brora experience, Mr. Jim Beveridge did well by using 7 other grains and malts to highlight the period-specific characters of Brora, utilising their soft fruitiness to draw out the complementary Brora notes.

Quite a clever interpretation.

☆ [Recommended]

-Nicholas

P.S. Thank you to Mr. Simon McGoram, Ms. Liz Hunt, Ms. Sarah Rhodes and the rest of the Diageo and Leo Burnett Sydney team for arranging the tasting experience. It is much appreciated.