Review: White Walker by Johnnie Walker
White Walker by Johnnie Walker is an original, limited edition Blended Scotch Whisky created in collaboration with HBO to celebrate the final season of the Game of Thrones television series. Inspired by the creatures in the show, White Walker by Johnnie Walker is presented in an icy white and blue bottle adorned with an armor clad Striding Man and utilizes temperature-sensitive thermochromic ink technology to reveal a surprise on the side of the bottle when frozen (spoiler alert: it says “Winter is Here”).
White Walker features single malts from Cardhu and Clynelish at the heart of the blend, which is chill filtered, bottled at 41.7% ABV, and recommended to be served chilled. Chilling liquor mutes the flavors and aromas of the spirit, so anytime a whisky maker recommends serving their whisky chilled, it can be a cause for concern – at surface level it appears to be an admission of an inferior product. Is White Walker an over-priced mixer? Or is this a respectable blend that can be enjoyed neat?
White Walker by Johnnie Walker Specifications:
- Spirit: Scotch.
- Type: Blended.
- Age: NAS (No Age Statement).
- ABV: 41.7% (83.4 Proof).
- NCF (Non-Chill Filtered)? No.
- Natural Color? No.
- Price: $39.99 for 750 ml.
- Color: Gold.
- Nose: Acetone nail polish remover, young grain alcohol, sugary sweet, confectioners sugar, marshmallows, fruity (berries).
- Palate: Thin-moderate mouthfeel. Acetone nail polish remover, sugary sweet, artificial vanilla frosting, mixed berries, apricot, plums.
- Finish: Short. More nail polish remover, sugary sweet notes, apricot, plum. Grain, caramelized sugar and a hint of butterscotch.
When I first opened the bottle, White Walker had a strong aroma and taste of chemical (acetone) nail polisher remover that I was struggling to look past. I left the bottle alone for two weeks and revisited to find it had oxidized for the better – the nail polish remover aroma and taste was still there, but it was no longer dominating the whisky and I was able to enjoy it.
With that being said, White Walker is too sweet for my tastes. I don’t like sugary sweets, and this whisky is full of those notes. Adding a drop or two of water helped subdue the sweet notes and brought out more fruit at the expense of the mouthfeel, which became thin – you can only add so much water to a whisky that is bottled at 41.7% ABV.
How does White Walker rank among the entry level line-up of Johnnie Walker blends? I enjoyed it more than Johnnie Walker Red Label, but less than Johnnie Walker Black Label. It’s a respectable blend at an affordable price point and is worth trying for fans of Game of Thrones and Johnnie Walker.
Elias’ Rating: 70/100
- Color: Gold.
- Nose: Sweet, fruit, vanilla, some artificial sweetness to it. Somewhat like a flavored vodka. Definitely detect a good amount of grain.
- Palate: Thin mouthfeel. Not as much graininess as the nose led me to expect. White grapes, vanilla, maybe some faint butterscotch, but not much else. Definitely less peat than the black label.
- Finish: Short. Stays sweet. Fruit, baking spices and confectioners powdered sugar.
Given the price point, I’d compare this to the entry level blends from Johnnie Walker and Dewar’s. In that company, it holds its own and is much better than Johnnie Walker Red Label or Dewar’s White Label. The grain wasn’t too overpowering, and it was somewhat well balanced albeit thin and not very complex. I prefer Johnnie Walker Black Label by a few points, but this is still enjoyable and I recommend trying it. I can see myself serving it to guests and still enjoying a pour, and a story, with it.
Jayson’s Rating: 71/100