Johnnie Walker Red, Black and Gold...
And Single Malts- Glenkinchie, Cardhu,
Talisker & Lagavulin
By F. Sot Fitzgerald

At 6:15 the fun began.  I strode down a broad hall, paintings of ships on the walls.  The hall opened into a very large room.  Four men and two women dressed in Tuxedo shirts, black pants and bow ties stood two per side of the stairs with trays of scotch.  I thought I was in Heaven.

Over the next hour I guzzled a little Johnnie Red and a vat of Johnnie Black.  I had drank both previously...on many occasions.  It was free, a gift from Johnnie Walker Inc. for coming to their tasting.  Strapped for green at the time, it only made sense to get as much as I could.  There was all the Johnnie I wanted to drink, and afterward, a promised buffet in the Grand Library of this venerable men's club in the Financial District of Manhattan.

I never thought much of the Red.  It always struck me as too biting.  As my soaked tsting notes read- "medicinal- has edge, bites tongue tip."  (Rating **)  Black is very different, very smooth.  The tasting guide provided to us was correct- it is silky and does hint at vanilla then open into something more complex.  (Rating ***1/2) (click here to order Johnnie Walker Black)

Already near staggering, we the demographically promising (read- possessing degrees, employed, living in NYC) were herded by the Johnnie Walker people up some ancient walnut stairs and into a conference type room.  Over the next hour we were entertained by a kilted old Scotsman, Evan Cattanach, Brand Ambassador for Johnnie, and supplied with more scotch.  He showed us slides, hyped the brand and told us that if our old ladies objected to hom much we drank, we could always sneak belts of scotch by pouring it in the glass of milk one drinks before going to bed.

As for the other scotches we tasted...Johnnie Walker not only makes their own scotches (Red, Black, Gold, and the $150 a bottle Blue), they also import single malts.

Things got a bit hazy, so take my notes for what they are:

Glenkinchie, Lowlands Scotch- Rather fun, spikes the tongue in an immoral but enjoyable way.  Heathery with a grainy finish.  Would go great with chicken. (Rating ***) (Click here to order Glenkinchie)

Cardhu- a terrific Speyside scotch, deep smokey and very smooth.  Not a thick peat, like Laphraoig.  So smooth...Evean claims he used to run this distillery until 10 years ago...That means he was making the bottles of Cardhu I nipped at when I tended bar some 7 years ago in Ohio...So strange we should meet- me the sot, he the supplier, in New York City, far from either of our hometowns... (Rating ****) (Click here to order Cardhu)

Talisker- Full and powerful, a blast of warmth...very island scotchy- meaning you're sucking on peat.  But it's pleasant, despite its girth. (Rating ***1/2) (Click here to order Talisker)

Lagavulin- Incredibly mighty, goes down and just flushes your body with warmth.  Not a burning, but a thick, slow heat.  Like Laphroaig- peat maximus. (Rating ****) (Click here to order Lagavulin 16 Year)

And the Gold?  The Johnnie Gold was unbelievably smooth...You could almost feed it to a baby.  Then again, it was $60 a bottle so it had better be good.  I liked it so much that I put it on my short list for New Year's 2000 bottles... (Rating ****1/2) (Click here to order Johnnie Walker Gold)

As for the ride home, I'll say nothing....

Click HERE to SHOP!

Email this article to a friend! FOOTER
Reproduction of material from any pages without written permission is strictly prohibited
Copyright © 1997-Present Kevin R. Kosar