I was secretly hoping for a fourth release in the Ghost & Rare Series and this one actually would fit in that series (same luxurious packaging and it has some ‘ghost’ distilleries in the mix), but for the 200th anniversary Johnnie Walker launched this Blue Label under the banner Legendary Eight. That tells us three things. One: the blend is composed of legendary whiskies, being the malts Lagavulin, Oban, Teaninich, Blair Athol and Brora, upholstered with the grains Port Dundas, Cameronbridge and Cambus. Two: if you are going to call your whisky legendary, it needs to contain liquid from closed distilleries. Yep: Brora, Port Dundas and Cambus fit the bill. Third: it will not come cheap. This release will set you back some 300 EUR.
The nose is deliciously subtle. A wonderful mix of tropical fruit – great leading role for pineapple, joined by mandarin and peach – followed by notes of young apples and salted caramel. Lots of brown sugar and light honey, a complex floral note and finally a hint of wood, smoke and salt. None of the aromas dominate, creating a perfect balance. Sorry, but this makes me gasp in awe.
Nicely oily on the palate. Up front I get some wonderful sweetness in the guise of cinnamon sprinkled apples in the pan, supported by cocoa and vanilla. The smoke returns and whispers a good dollop of Lagavulin. Sultanas and raisins kick in, pineapple and mango reveal themselves. Becomes a tad spicier than I am used to from Blue Label. If you take your time for this one, you’ll find it’s a masterpiece.
The spices slowly fade in the finish, while the smoke intensifies. A sweet honey note makes this very satisfying.
If I ever have the good fortune of meeting the amiable Jim Beveridge, I’ll congratulate him in five languages. This whisky is very complex and intruiging. It’s my favourite Blue Label so far. Yes, this is indeed Legendary. Kudos.