At half the price and prestige of the infamous Blue Label, Platinum Label is clearly the Johnnie Walker blend for those poor souls who can only afford to rent a yacht, rather than own one. But what it lacks in “elite” status and Jude Law marketing it makes up for in maturity, bearing the oldest stated age of the core Johnnie blends.
Platinum is clearly the “new money” to Blue’s “old money”, so it’s hard not to picture Silicon Valley tech-entrepreneurs with sparkly white teeth and 3 iPhones which they use to coordinate their various Tinder accounts drinking this stuff. Nevertheless, owing to my fondness for aged blends (and any JW with an age on the bottle) I’ve got a soft spot for Platinum Label over its overhyped NAS brother. After figuring out how to open the ugly, oversized plastic gift box, you can liberate the Platinum’s beautifully understated, Art Deco style bottle and pop the cork. Ready when you are!
Complex! Nutty. An almost sherry-like sweetness. Glazed oranges, toffee and malt – some of that Speyside herbalness. A little well integrated smoke. Muted spice, pepper. Fruity – rich apricot, citrus and banana. Wow.
Tastes and smells line up here: Malt, toffee and sweet citrus. Nutmeg. Very dark chocolate – raw cocoa. Pecan nuts and salt. Leading inevitably to…
…orange peel and an extended, brilliantly bitter, slow ride to the finish. One to be sipped slowly over the course of an evening.
If you read my other Johnnie Walker reviews, you’ll see I very rarely appreciate water getting in the way. But this can hold it, and hold it well. It opens up effortlessly, revealing more floral and citrus flavours. Reduces the spiciness, but becomes creamier, richer. Well suited to water or ice.
This is a truly delicious, mature blend. Obnoxious marketing aside, these guys know how to blend whisky. It reminds me strongly of Nikka’s From the Barrel, and given a higher ABV and natural colour it would creep dangerously close to competing with my precious Spice Tree. Even so, I’ll go out of my way to keep a bottle for special occasions and rainy evenings.
And value? If you compare this to the typical 18-year expression of pretty much any other brand or distillery, not too shabby – about 30% cheaper on average. There are NAS blends and aged single-malts that rival this, but rarely at this price.