Johnnie Walker New Releases - Gold Reserve and Plantinum

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By Mike Lord

I was lucky enough to try the 2 new Johnnie Walker releases side by side last night.  Johnnie Walker Gold Reserve and Johnnie Walker Platinum.  Not what you might think at a fantasy Diageo tasting  with wall-to-wall corporate entertaining but in my front room.  My assessment - these are damn good whiskies.

I am not a blend fan.  This is not a snobbery thing but I don't, generally, like the taste of young grain whisky which is what I think blights Johnnie Walker Red for me.  There is nothing like that in these two whiskies.  I can see the Johnnie Walker heritage more in the Gold but where did all this tropical fruit and honey come from which is prominent in both of them?  May be that statement from a few years ago that Diageo would become self-sufficient in the whiskies for its blends has disappeared in to the ether for good reason.

Johnnie Walker Green and Johnnie Walker Gold (not Gold Reserve) have been withdrawn.  These 2 whiskies are "replacing" them but I think they are very different in what they deliver to their predecessors.

Johnnie Walker Gold Reserve:

On the nose this has spiced lemons, macerated peaches and wooden benches.  There is lots of class in the nose.  The taste has more peaches and mango all part of fruit cocktail.  Then raisins in the cocktail syrup and a nice bitter wood note to the finish.

Johnnie Walker Platinum:

The nose has peaches and mango with deep wood notes.  Melon balls and fruit cocktail. The taste has lovely spiced raisins in syrup with a nice touch of smoke.

The Platinum is my pick of the pair but you cannot argue with the price of the Gold.  I might argue about the packaging on the Platinum which is a bit crazy but the bottle is beautiful.  It would grace any bar and I think I will be collecting the empties for my flavoured oils.  But didn't I see that bottle in Battlestar Galactica?

These are great whiskies and I challenge any malt snob to say anything different - please direct those challenges to Diageo Plc, Lakeside Drive,Park Royal, London.
Thanks to David Sinclair for the samples.

The views in this article are my own and I freely admit to being insane.