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  • Writer's pictureDrunk as Lords

Johnnie Walker Double Black

Johnnie Walker Double Black

Last year I embarked on an experiment, a quest really, to find a decent single malt Scotch whisky under $50. I failed miserably. My brother – an honestly employed research doctor at Vanderbilt – told me that well-run experiments don’t so much fail as just give you an answer you don’t want. It’s a fair point, and he is the smart one, but it still feels like I failed. This column isn’t going to reverse that verdict.

For one thing, Johnnie Walker doesn’t make single malt – they shouldn’t, they are good at what they do. Johnnie Walker’s Double Black, though, is better. The website calls it “bold and brooding” as well as “the embodiment of rebellion in the world of whisky.” And I call that over-the-top copywriting. But it is a hell of a good whisky.

Double Black is bolder, with more peat that you generally get from a blend, certainly one as mainstream as Johnnie Walker. Being as surrounded by Bourbon fans as any Southerner generally is, don’t let the peat put you off. This isn’t a campfire in a kilt level of smoke like you’d find in Lagavulin (and I mean that in the most positive sense). The smoke underpins dried fruit and hints of vanilla and heads on to a nice long and warm finish. This is a whisky that has dropped its cods, but won’t eat you either.

For the Scotch whisky crowd, on the other hand, don’t be put off because you can actually pronounce the name on the bottle. Churchill drank Johnnie Walker and, well, there we are. If nothing else it’s something different, and it is at a good price. In Memphis, it will run you about $40 at Buster’s.

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