For a long time Johnnie Walker Green Label was really hard to find — I ended up buying my bottle via mail order, then drinking very little of it. That all changed relatively recently: Now you can buy Green Label at Safeway.
I set out to see what’s up with a good old-fashioned Green Label bender. (OK, a few sample drams… but the bender line sounded better.)
Green Label is a pure or vatted malt — a blend of 15-year-old single malts bottled at 86 proof. The “signature malts” in the blend come from Talisker, Linkwood, Cragganmore, and Caol Ila.
The nose is moderately smoky and peaty, with hints of heather, likely the Caol Ila muscling the other malts out of the way. The body follows through on that promise, a salty shot that follows up with woody notes and a sweet finish of honey. The wood sneaks back in at the tail end of the finish to tease you into that next sip.
Overall I like Green Label quite a bit, but as with many blends (vatted or no) it’s just so busy that it’s a bit like drinking sips from a panel of whiskys at a blind tasting almost at random. I like all the elements here — though the smoke and wood are overplayed — but I wish for a touch more finesse.