02 03 Wild about Whisky: Black is beautiful, or so the Scots and Japs think.... 04 05 15 16 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 31 32 33

Black is beautiful, or so the Scots and Japs think....

Johnnie Walker Black Label 12 yo Blend 43%
Metallic top note that shadows the sherry and vanilla notes underneath, then smoky tendrils lace together the candied peel and fruit.
The palate is buttery, oily, a full bodied flavour of 85% coffee-flavoured dark chocolate and then a short dry finish.
Water opens the dram with stewed fruit, orange cordial and smoked honey.
Thickening the liquid it now has an eye-popping, silky, fruit-driven texture with the bitter chocolate and smoke lingering.
Despite the initial, very odd coppery note this really is a superb premium blend. 86

Johnnie Walker Double Black Blend 40%
Sweet sherry and smoke, then creme brulee with a thick, crispy caramelised top layer sprinkled with allspice and icing sugar.
The signature silky smooth full body coats the tongue with rich dark fruits and a smoky chilli-bite finish.
Water opens this one with dark orange chocolate and an exquisite balance of sweet smoky fruits.
Double Black? A gimmick? I thought so when I first saw this expression. However it is enormously impressive and for me knocks the iconic Black Label off its lofty perch.
I look forward to Double Black's general release. 88

Nikka Pue Malt Black 43% - Batch: 18H06C
A voluptuous nose of manzanilla/amontillada sherry along with rich dark fruits and a smoking peat backdrop for dark toffee, liquorice, sweet garden mint and honeyed barley.
The palate is a full smooth body of oloroso sherried oak, stewed fruit and then a bite of salt to finish.
Water brings out an orange zest and more smoke stirred into the fruity stew, drying the salty finish to a lingering Spanish sherry and charred oak.
Beautifully crafted, beautifully balanced. 90
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