Johnnie Walker Red Rye Finish Review

“Great Value For Money”

Whisky Review # 631

Country: Scotland
Brand: Johnnie Walker Red Rye Finish (Blender's Batch)
Type: Blended Whisky
Age: NAS
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 40%
Maturation: Bourbon - and Rye Whiskey casks  
Chill Filtration: Yes
Price Range: US$ 25-35 (August 2017) 
Buying Advice: 😉 Positive. A winner at this Price Level!

Colour: Golden Amber (Artificially Coloured)

Nose: Soft and Sweet, almost like a light Bourbon. This is completely different when compared to the harsh Grain Alcohol of the regular JW Red. Thanks God for that! To be fair, I don't get many Rye influences at this moment. So either the six months Rye Finish was too short or the casks weren't very active. The Alcohol is well-integrated to the point that you hardly notice any at all. I find  Corn Flakes sweetened with Honey, Caramel, Toffee, Butter Biscuits, Vanilla, Straw, Apricots, Orange Peel, Sugared Almonds, Warm Apple Sauce, Cinnamon, Cloves, Nutmeg, Ginger and faint hints of Nail Polish, Caffe Latte and Mint.       

 Port Dundas Grain Distillery closed in 2010 (Wikimedia)

Palate: The delivery is rather Thin and a little Watery as a result of the low ABV. Again I can't pick up any relevant Rye influence. The Alcohol is slightly more noticeable but never gets too Sharp. It's all a bit dull and I was expecting more after the pleasant Nose. I find Sugared Breakfast Cereals, Caramel, light Vanilla, Toffee, Roasted Nuts, Straw, Orange Peel, Pepper, Ginger, Nutmeg, Cinnamon, Cloves, Cardamom, Blueberry Muffins, Honey, light Oak and hints of Menthol and Dried Herbs. 

Finish: Not overly Long and a bit Thin. Mainly Sweet and Medium Spicy. A light Bitterness towards the Dry end. I find Sweet Cereals, Toffee, Caramel, Vanilla, Blueberry Muffins, Nuts, Heather-Honey, Orange Peel, light Oak, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Ginger, light Pepper, Menthol and a hint of Milk Chocolate. The Alcohol is more noticeable now but never aggressive.  

Drinking Advice:
No need to add Water to this Blend.

Rating: 78.5    

Nose: 21 - Taste: 19 - Finish: 19 - Overall: 19.5

General Remarks:

Johnnie Walker Red Rye Finish was launched in 2016 and is the first of the new JW Blender's Batch range developed by Master Blender Jim Beveridge with the aim to explore new - and innovative Flavour profiles. The Red Rye Finish is inspired by Jim's fascination for American Whiskeys that was developed when he worked in the Bourbon industry in Louisville, Kentucky some 25 years ago. After many attempts using over 200 Grain - and Malt whiskies, the final recipe for the Red Rye Finish consists of three Grain Whiskies including the now closed Port Dundas and the Speyside Single Malt Cardhu. The small batches used for this Blend firstly matured in first-fill American Oak Bourbon casks before being finished for up to 6 months in former Rye Whiskey casks. The next releases in the Blender's Batch range are the Bourbon Cask and Rye Finish, a 40% Blend of Malt- and Grain Whiskies (Sounds similar to the Red Rye Finish!) and the Triple Grain American Oak, a 41.3% Blend of Barley, Wheat and Maize Whiskies that matured in first-fill Bourbon casks.

Drinking Experience Neat: Good

Drinking Experience on the Rocks: Good

Conclusion: First of all congratulations to Diageo and Jim Beveridge for trying out new ways and delivering a reasonable quality at a reasonable price! To be honest I was expecting a regular JW Red with a touch of Rye but that's not the case. No harsh Grain Alcohol whatsoever to be found here. Not much Rye as well to be honest. What remains is a Soft blended Whisky with some clear Bourbon characteristics. The Nose is quite good actually. Palate and Finish are a bit too Dull and Thin to be really interesting but I didn't find any off-notes and the Blend never gets aggressive at any point. You can enjoy it neat, over Ice or in a Cocktail. At this price level you can't go wrong with the JW Red Rye Finish. I'm looking forward to the following expressions of the Blender's Batch series!

Jan van den Ende                                                                August 10, 2017

Cardhu - Visit May 2014

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