Johnnie Walker Red Review


Johnnie Walker Red Label

Johnnie Walker Red Label Review

Distillery:  Johnnie Walker & Sons
Expression: Johnnie Walker Red
Category: Blended Scotch
ABV: 40%

Picture yourself in the late 1970s. 

Disco is dead.

While walking home after a long night on the town, you round’ the corner and spot an angry mob of red-headed youths heading your way.

Most of these lads have Mohawks and they reek of cheap alcohol.

This isn’t going to be pretty.

They immediately spot weakness in your palate and go on the attack.

You’re whacked in the gob with a malty mallet of  rotten grain.

While you’re squirming around on the pavement, each member of the gang puts generic-brand cigarettes out on your tongue.

Mercifully, it ends quickly but the incident leaves you jaded with a bitter taste in your mouth.

The moral of this story?

If you’re drinking Johnnie Walker Red neat, do yourself a favor.

  • Put it on ice.
  • Add some Coke.
  • Have a nice night.

Johnnie Walker Red Label 
Tasting Notes

Color: Amber
Nose: Heavy whiff of alcohol and young grains
Palate:  Harsh malt, confectionate sugar, and smoke
Finish:  Hot and dry ending that putters across the finish line.

Score 66 / 100

Matisse Old Whisky Review

A 200 ml bottle of Old Matisse whisky

Matisse Old Whisky Review

Distillery:  Matisse (Independent Bottler)
Expression: Matisse Old
Category: Blended Scotch
ABV: 40%

Hey sexy, you’re quite complex for a convenience store scotch.

Do I know you from somewhere?

You may think I say that to every malt on the shelf (and I do) but in this case it’s not just a pickup line.

The Old Matisse is quite similar in taste to Johnnie Walker Black with some subtle, but important differences.

It’s less oily and peppery than JW Black, but the malt is crisp, the chocolate overtones are chewy, and the smoke is there throughout.

It’s a tad more expensive than some of the other offerings we reviewed but this funky-ass blend is worth the extra NT$30.

You dig?

Matisse Old Whisky Tasting Notes

Color: Honey Gold
Nose:  Oak, Plums, Floral, Orange
Palate:  Chocolate Fudge, Smoke, Dried malt
Finish:  Nutty and Refined

Score 82 / 100

Prime Blue Pure Malt Review

A bottle of Prime Blue Malt Blended Scotch Whisky

Prime Blue Pure Malt Review

Distillery:  Morrison Bowmore (owned by Suntory Group)
Expression: Matisse Old
Category: Blended Scotch
ABV: 40%

Prime Blue is one of the most widely available whisky brands in Taiwan, selling over one million bottles per year.

Apparently it’s somewhat hard to come by outside of the Asia-Pacific region.

The Prime Blue is a vatted malt that’s distilled and bottled in Scotland by Morrison Bowmore and is owned by Japan’s Suntory Group.

With two Suntory Kakubin brands (Black and Yellow) also available, Suntory seems to have this 200 ml Taiwanese market down on lock.

If Prime Blue had a bit more marketing dollars behind it and was more readily available in Europe and North America, I think it would stack up nicely against Johnny Walker Black and Chivas 12.

Overall it’s a quality sipping whiskey for the price.

Prime Blue Tasting Notes

Color: Light Straw
Nose: Floral, spices, citrus fruits, caramel
Palate:  Toffee, Oak, Malty
Finish:  Hints of oak. Overall quite balanced, warming, and smooth.

Score 78 / 100

The Famous Grouse Review

A bottle of the Famous Grouse

Famous Grouse Review

Distillery:  Famous Grouse
Expression: Famous Grouse
Category: Blended Scotch
Region: Perth, Scotland
: 40%

The Famous Grouse is the top selling blended whisky in Scotland.

It’s a lighter-flavored grain whisky that’s available a low price point.

Truth be told it certainly didn’t knock my socks off at first.

After a couple of drams the initial harshness seems a bit smoother and it kinda wins you over in the end as a drinkable blend.

It doesn’t really stack up that well against the Matisse, Suntory, or Prime Blue blends available at the same price point in Taiwan.

But if you find a mini-bottle lying around your place, go ahead and give it a swig.

It ain’t that bad.

Famous Grouse Tasting Notes

Color:  Burnished
Nose: Alcohol, Grain, orange, honey
Palate:  Pepper, Malt, barley, hint of chocolate
Finish: Dry and bitter feint caramel tad harsh

Score 72 / 100

Ballantine’s 12 Review


Ballantine’s 12 Review

Distillery:  Ballantine’s Scotch Whisky Distillery
Expression: Ballantine’s 12
Category: Blended Scotch
: 40%

Ballantine’s 12 has some fans out there. Many consider it to be a good value whisky.

But at the end of the day I felt it ended up being a rather unexceptional dram—light-bodied, and lacking in flavor.

However don’t write the Ballantine’s brand off after tasting this one.

Ballantine’s older expressions (the 17, 21, and 30) are phenomenal and packed with flavor-filled goodness.

But when it comes to this plain Jane, use it for mixing or better yet, skip it altogether.

Ballantine’s 12 Tasting Notes

Color: Pale Gold
Nose: smoke, lemon rind, cask smoke, floral
Palate: rotten sherry, spice, honey, sherry, tannin-dryness
Finish: Toffee and spice. Conflicted short finish that leads to nowhere.

Score: 74 / 100

Highland Park 21 Review


Highland Park 21 

Distillery:  Highland Park
Expression: Highland Park 21
Category: Single Malt Scotch
Region: Highlands
: 47.5%

I picked up a mini-bottle of this beauty on a whim at the liquor store. The sweet raisin/sherry finish is what really stands out above all else. Super impressed.

Highland Park 21 Tasting Notes

Color: Golden Amber
Nose: Heathery, Sweet sherry, toffee and smoke.
Palate: Buttery – Balanced sweetness; slight smoke, rich dark chocolate
Finish: Spicy raisins, hints of hazelnut. for a drawn out, exotic note.

Score: 93 / 100

Bunnahabhain 12 Review



Bunnahabhain 12 Review

Distillery: Bunnahabhain
Expression: Bunnahabhain 12
Category: Single Malt Scotch
Region: Islay
: 46.3%

Hard-core Islay fanatics should take heed because this is not your typical peat-monster.Yet it IS an interesting / intricate bottle that seems to get better from dram-to-dram.

It feels a bit more like a high-quality blend than a single malt because it feels like you get a pinch of Campbeltown here, some Islay there, etc.  Kinda reminds me of a sweeter and slightly more complicated version of the Bruichladdich Laddie Ten.

As a young, entry level single malt, it’s surely worth a gander.

Bunnahabhain 12 Tasting Notes

Color:  Late-autumn brown
Nose: Sherry, creamy butter, powdered cinnamon, vanilla birthday-cake icing, almond, floral notes.
Palate:  Toffee, Nutmeg, vanilla, light-peat, hints of tobacco.
Finish: Near-perfect length. Quite pleasant. Slight sting without anesthetizing your tongue and electrocuting your taste buds

Score: 82 / 100

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