Johnnie Walker Double Black

It’s taken almost a year since the global launch, but Johnnie Walker Double Black has finally tipped over to general availability on these shores. Blended whisky mavens will have spotted bottle in travel retail (duty free) for a few months now, but 7500 facebook fans now have bottle adorning their desks and lining their stomachs.

While the blended whisky market has seen Black Bushmills and Black Grouse already adding a hint more smoke, the innovation seems to have remained poorly comunicated here, and it seems that the momentum they’re building towards the consumer launch on Wednesday means Johnnie will get the lion’s share of the credit in bringing a bit more west coast mouthfeel into play.

Any existinfg fan of the single lighthouses of the wild west, like Talisker, Port Ellen, Lagavulin, Ardberg or Caol Ila will probably be a little disappointed with the amount of smoke that comes to the palate. This is possibly because the smoke not only comes from the heavy peated malt whiskies in the blend, but also from a heavy charring of the finishing casks. Essentially, you light a fire in the barrel and char the insides before filling it with liquid.

It’s a good entry point to the land of salt and smoke, it will work well in a cocktail too. The signature serve is on a sphere of ice, and it performs well in a highball. If you want to mix a cocktail, try it out in a dried out Bobbie Burns, 60mls Double Black, 10mls Italian Vermouth, 1 barspoon Benedictine. Stir it down over ice and strain it up

Expect to part with $65 if you’re looking to add a bottle to your liquor cabinet, and it’s a quality blend with some good smoke at that price.