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Tasting the new Johnnie Walker ‘Gold Route’

13 March 2013 3,062 views Written by: Gal Granov

jw_headMy beloved whisky geeks, this is a blend. Yes, i know. It’s not a single cask from a long gone Japanese distillery, or bottled at cask strength after being matured in an obscure wine cask touched by the queen of Sheba, but I bet more people will ever be drinking this whisky than any of the past 20 I have reviewed in the past month. You can not hide from it, JW is a best selling whisky, and as such, i am very happy to be reviewing this new release today, only a few day after it’s official release to duty free shops around the world. I would bore you with the PR or claims of how luxuries and exotic this one is, so let’s get going into dramming. Facts : it’s going to be $95 at duty free shops, NAS , and a part of the “Explorerer’s Club” series (the first one being the spice road which i have yet to try). Here’s a nice Video you can view. Now let’s get on with the dramming.

Johnny Walker ‘Gold Route’ , 40% , $95jw_gold_route

Nose: Starts rather sweet with a lot of vanilla and some sherry influence. Fruity too: banana, bits of mango and candied ginger. Wee smoke and earthy peat that reminds me a bit of the black label. However this one is richer and fruitier.

Palate : continuing the fruity nose with some raisins, sweet pineapple, spices and a hint of peat smoke, and sherry goodness with quite a bit of charred wood cask and pepper.

Finish: malty with some peat smoke that lingers. Medium.

Surprisingly, this is a nice dram, with a lot more fruit and exotics than the Black label or the Gold label versions. While staying sweet and fruity it does conserve it’s smoky and peaty edge (don’t expect a lot of those, but a bit is nice). It’s a solid dram and quite enjoyable as such, being very approachable and middle of the way sort of dram. The only down side i see is the price, which is a bit steep for a NAS at $95, you can get a lot of very good malts, and other blends at your duty free. If you’re a Johnnie fan looking for something different, It might be a good idea to pick one up, or as a gift to someone who appreciated JW as a premium gift.

Score: 82/100

official sample provided by Diageo

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  • Roger

    I’ll save you the trouble on the Spice Road: I am very disappointed with this whisky. It is absolutely not complex or
    spicy as the description alleges. The nose is very closed. The taste
    is one-dimensional – a malty caramel taste (maybe from the added
    caramel?). The smoke is very slight and you’ll be struggling to get any
    cinnamon or spices in the mouth. There is nothing memorable or
    distinctive about this whisky. The only redeeming feature is that it is
    quite smooth. A very boring drink.

    • http://www.whiskyisrael.co.il Gal(WhiskyIsrael)

      thanks for the update Roger.

  • Timothy Bullard

    I opened an Explorer gold tonight and totally agree with the above review. My BF and I have been collecting JW for a while now and have the largest JW collection in Taiwan so we had to open one to try.

    My review was at the $100usd price point (same as JW XR 21 here) the whisky crazy Taiwanese would buy it to try but wouldn’t buy a second bottle to drink.

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