Johnnie Walker Black Sherry Finish

“Black Is Not Black”

Whisky Review # 986

Country: Scotland 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿
Brand: Johnnie Walker Black Sherry Finish
Type: Blended Scotch Whisky
Age: 12 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 40%
Maturation: Probably a mix of mostly Ex-Bourbon casks & some Sherried Wood
Finish: Casks seasoned with Sherry from Jerez de la Frontera, Spain
Chill Filtration: Yes
Price Range: US$ 25-35 (April 2023)
Price/Quality Ratio: 👍
Buying Advice: 👍 if you are looking for a Sweeter and less Smoky Black Label

Colour: Amber with shades of Red and Orange (Artificially Colored)


Sweet and Pleasant but even less Smoky than the standard Black. The Grain Alcohol remains dominant but the Sherry influence is clear with Dark Berries, Dried Fruits and Nuts.

Main Aromas:

Grain Alcohol, Toasted Grain, Toffee, Salted Caramel, Grass and Straw, Dried Fruit like Raisins, Dates, Plums, Apricots and Figs, Dark Berries & Cherries, Orange Peel, Mixed Nuts and Nut Shells, Dark Chocolate, Earthy Peat, Dusty Oak, Cinnamon and Pepper.
Supportive Aroma Accents:

Sweet Barley, Honey, Vanilla, Buttered Toast, Brown Sugar, Rum, Dusty Track, Dark Chocolate, Smoke, Ginger, Aniseed, Tobacco and hints of Licorice and Ashes.

Cardhu Distillery


Despite the Sweet influence of the Sherried casks, this JW Blend can't hide the fact that the principal component is Grain Whisky. It's a pity that no one, at least in an official way, has tested a blend with a 50/50 Grain/Malt content and an ABV of 43%. That might be a stunner! As it is the Palate basically follows the Nose with a mix of Dried Fruit, Nuts, Spices and Grain.

Main Flavours:

Grain Alcohol, Toffee, Salted Caramel, Brown Sugar, Dried Fruit like Prunes, Dates, Figs, Apricots, Raisins and Prunes, Cherry-Flavored Cough Syrup, Mixed Nuts, Dark Chocolate, Dusty Oak, Orange Peel, Cinnamon, Ginger and Pepper.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Sweet Barley, Vanilla, Honey, Red Berries, Green Vegetables, Dusty Track, Earthy Peat, Smoke, Ashes, Tobacco, Cardamom, Licorice, Espresso and Menthol.
Cameronbridge Grain Distillery


Short/Middle Long with a slightly Sharp Grain Alcohol Kick. Mostly Sweet but with a little Bitterness towards the Medium Dry/Dry end. I also find Grain Alcohol, Toasted Grain, Salted Caramel, Sweet Barley, Vanilla, Toffee, Honey, Dried Fruit like Plums, Prunes, Raisins, Dates & Figs, Cherry-Flavored Cough Syrup, Dark Chocolate, Mixed Nuts, Herbs, Dusty Road, Earthy Peat, Smoke, Ashes, Tobacco, Cinnamon, Pepper, Cardamon, Dusty Oak, Herbs and Espresso.

Drinking Advice:

I added a little Water and although the Blend becomes dangerously easy to drink, you also miss most of the Aromas and Flavors. But in all honesty, this Blend is not interesting enough as a sipping Whisky. It's nice on the Rocks though.

Rating: 7 (*******)

Nose: 7.5 - Taste: 7 - Finish: 6

*** Important Note with respect to Rating.

A few of my loyal readers have pointed out that every once in a while my final Rating note did not seem to be totally in line with the written text. I recognize that. When I started this Whisky Blog back in 2011, I was not at all experienced in tasting and scoring Single Malts & Blends. Looking back I realize that during the early years I probably scored the good Whiskies too low and the not so good Whiskies too high. Ever since the beginning I try to remain consequent in my rating, always comparing the outcome to the rating of comparable whiskies in terms of quality and taste and adjusting the final rating if necessary. This might lead to the discrepancy I mentioned before. As a result I have decided to use a new rating system this year. I will still give a rating for Nose, Taste and Finish but now on the scale from 1-10 whereby 1 represents the worst and 10 the best. The sum of these numbers will be divided by 3 to get the rounded final score. I hope this new scoring makes it easier for you to understand what I thought about the whisky I'm reviewing.

If the Final score is above 8 you can safely buy the whisky in question if and when it fits your Aroma/Flavor profile. If the score is between 6 and 8 you might want to try it out in the form of a sample or if offered at a good price. Anything below 6 should be left alone when you are looking for a nice sipping whisky. You might still like it of course & I realize pricing is an important item for many whisky fans especially when you are used to enjoy whisky in a cocktail or a mixed drink. Please let me know what you think of the new rating system and leave your comments and/or suggestions.

Drinking Experience Neat
: Okay/Good

Drinking Experience on the Rocks: Good


Johnnie Walker Black Label Sherry Finish is made with Grain Whisky from Lowland Distillery Cameronbridge and Single Malts from a/o Cardhu, Clynelish, Glenkinchie and Caol Ila.

It's not a bad Blend and a good Start for beginning Whisky Drinkers that want to explore the Smoky side but in an easy way. The best way to enjoy this Blend is over Ice. The standard Black is still my to-go-to Blend because of its good Price/Quality ratio. I like it better than this Sherry Finish as it presents a bit more Smoke & Peat from Caol Ila. But in case you prefer it a bit more Sweet & less Smoky, this Sherry Finish might just be the Blend for you.


Jan van den Ende                                                                           April 12, 2023

Caol Ila

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