Review: Johnnie Walker Blenders’ Batch Wine Cask Blend

Review: Johnnie Walker Blenders’ Batch Wine Cask Blend

Johnnie Walker’s experimental, limited-time releases continue this month with the second expression in the series to be released in the U.S.: Wine Cask Blend. (Two more expressions from this series, Rum Cask Blend and Espresso Roast, have been released internationally and are not available in the U.S. That brings the total number of experimental releases up to six.)

Some details:

The unique blend is influenced by experimentation of maturation in wine casks, a project set in The unique blend is influenced by experimentation of maturation in wine casks, a project set in motion by Johnnie Walker Master Blender Jim Beveridge nearly a decade ago. In 2015 Aimee Gibson, a member of the Johnnie Walker blending team, took on the project and through experiments of her own, developed a wonderful new whisky in the Blenders’ Batch series. This welcoming blend includes some whiskies matured in wine casks. It is crafted with malt whiskies from the Highland such as Clynelish and some from Speyside such as Roseilse. It also includes creamy grain whiskies, such as those from Cameronbridge. The result is a light and vibrant whisky with notes of orchard fruit and red berries.

It’s a bit troubling that the only information on the aging is that “some whiskies” are matured in “wine casks.” There’s no information about how much of the blend goes into wine casks, for how long, or even what kind of wine we’re talking about. After all, sherry, Port, and white zinfandel are all “wine.” Naturally, there’s no age statement on the bottle, either.

Anyway, we’ll have to plow forward despite our ignorance…

Light as a feather, pinkish in color, and pleasantly aromatic, the whisky offers a few unusual aromas (driven by the wine cask treatment) of bold florals, fresh peaches, strawberry, and mint, alongside more traditional vanilla and some modest cereal notes. The palate is soft and expressive — and so sweet that it initially feels a bit like a rum, complete with plenty of fruit and lots of vanilla character. As it evolves on the tongue the whisky reveals more fruit character, including some apple, citrus, and red berries, along with classic baking spice notes. The finish is where you see the granary character the most, with a lasting cereal note that lingers as the fruit quickly fades.

For what it’s worth, my wife calls it a “whisky for ladies.” That ain’t a bad thing, but she’s not wrong.

80 proof.

B+ / $30 / 

Johnnie Walker Blenders’ Batch Wine Cask Blend




Christopher Null is the founder and editor in chief of Drinkhacker. A veteran writer and journalist, he also operates Null Media, a bespoke content creation company.


  1. S me on January 10, 2018 at 5:46 pm

    I bought this at my local liquor purveyor a few minutes ago, thinking “Hey! It’s only $30. I’ll take a gamble and see if I can save a few bucks. Can’t be worse than the Red.”

    Dear Jesus I was wrong. Nose: Strong rubbing alcohol and antiseptic. Flavor is also reminisct of rubbing alcohol. Finish is of plum.

    Rating: D

    I really can’t believe a rating of B+. It makes me sad, I hope some day you can try some of the really delicious scotches out there, or even some of the mediocre.

    • Christopher Null on January 10, 2018 at 6:01 pm

      That rating might be overly generous — letter grades are tough to peg on the spot — but for sure I’ve had some delicious scotches that are well beyond this one… and some that are far, far, far worse. Thanks for your tasting notes! (Also possible you had a bad bottle somehow… that happens.)

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