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Johnnie Walker Black Label – Sherry Finish

Updated: Mar 2, 2023

12 years 40%

Johnnie Walker. Possibly the most iconic and well-known whisky brand in the galaxy. The dapper striding man tipping his hat and holding a cane, wearing a nice pair of jaunty boots. He's on a mission. An example of magical marketing, and longevity of success. Funnily enough, the striding man used to face to the left until it was suggested this was negative, and one should always head towards the future. Or something like that. I might be wrong - I am about many things.

This new Black Label Sherry Finish release builds on the success of the standard Johnnie Walker 12-year Black Label.

And the standard 12yr is and has always been a firm favourite of mine as it is consistently good.

So, onto this new bottle. When I saw that a Black Label "Sherry Finish" had appeared, it immediately got my attention, so I tracked one down and gave some money to Mr Bezos to support his small shop (as I couldn't find a bottle anywhere else at the time)

Appearance: Rich amber with fast, thin legs

Nose: Very sweet with a warm prickle. There’s an emphasis on sweet vanilla-soaked grain whisky. Cereal (Cheerios), and porridge with some golden syrup appear. The sherry influence feels more akin to caramel, and not really sherried.

Palate: Very sweet with a nice, tamed alcohol warmth. There is a very faint nod to the smoke found in the standard Black Label, but it’s only there for a split second before vanishing. There’s also a bit of a card-boardy note with some bitterness. There really aren’t any big flavours to give it real character and it tastes like a generic grain-heavy whisky with synthetic sweetness.

Finish: Medium with an overly-sweet saccharine coating that clings to the back of the mouth.

Conclusion: This is not a patch on the standard 12yr Black Label. It feels a bit plastic and lacking in any real character. It’s very sweet and grain-forward, and would probably be better suited to mixing or over ice. If anything, I think this dents the standard Black Label’s iconism.

Sorry Diageo, this didn’t work for me and is a thumbs down.

Price is around £30 (at the time of writing this review)

More information on the Johnnie Walker brand here

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