Johnnie Walker Platinum -bravo- '' Johnnie Walker Platinum Label is a rich and contemporary blended Scotch Whisky inspired by the Walker family's tradition of crafting 'private blends' for directors of its company and for special occasions. The Master Blender has crafted a contemporary 18 year old Scotch Whisky for today's sophisticated consumer and is rich and refined - a symbol of style that rewards those who take the time to savour it. The trademark Johnnie Walker smokiness is entrenched in this whisky that strongly embodies the sweet and elegant Speyside style. Crafted from single malt and grain whiskies, Platinum is a complex blend with deep layers of balanced flavours of both whisky and wood in which it has rested for a minimum of 18 years. Nose Sherry, oak, chocolate fondue, wet leaves, loam, mint. Palate Blood oranges, sherry, rosewater, dark plums, raspberries. Finish Salt, very subtle smoke (methinks Talisker), and crisp red grapes. General Impressions The first couple of sips are accompanied by some feisty spiciness, but that settles down to a red fruit, sherry infused taste experience that is very satisfying. Very quaff-able. Very smooth. Goes down way too easy. Blended scotch consumers place a premium on smoothness above all other qualities. Platinum Label delivers. There are no sharp or pointed sticks here. It's all velvet pillows and satin sheets. Trouble is, when a blend is that smooth, it has to sacrifice complexity of flavor. That's what has happened here. Normally, I wouldn't hold a blended Scotch whisky up to a naked light bulb and handcuff it to the chair of tough questions of complexity. But, Platinum Label is deserving of such an interrogation because of the price point. In Canada, this blend retails for the borderline criminal sum of $149.00. In my opinion, any Scotch whisky, single malt or blended, has to display an appreciable complexity of flavor that makes me go "wow!" at that price. Not happening here. Don't misunderstand me. This is good, solid, premium blended Scotch whisky. I enjoy it. But, the price of $149 is ridiculous (and maybe capable of tempting a prosecutor to lay a charge of larceny). A good friend of mine, on his way to Isleworth picked this bottle up for me at Duty Free in Orlando, Florida for about $85. I paid him back, so I am doing some serious Deep Blue value-for-money calculations, and I am still unsure whether or not it is worth it. Well, actually, that is not entirely true. Drinking Platinum Label brings to mind an old Barry Goldwater campaign billboard, that read: "In your heart you know he's right." Similarly, in my heart, I know I'm right when I think I am paying too much for Platinum Label, even at Duty Free prices. I think this should be priced at about $60. Target Market So far, we have established that Johnnie Walker Platinum Label is a good blended Scotch whisky, very drinkable, pleasant and pretty solid. Unfortunately, due to the high price, we whisky nuts demand some complexity. This is because for the same amount of money there are other blends (ie. Hibiki 17, 21, Johnnie Walker Green, etc) that are priced lower and deliver magical complexity. Moreover, for much less money we can buy single malts that deliver pixies who dance on our palates doing nude interpretive dances that leave nothing to the imagination. So, who buys Platinum? Probably not whisky aficionados seeking a good value for money proposition. I know that there are a lot of affluent, casual consumers of Scotch whisky who would bring out this premium blend during the holidays or in moments of celebration (weddings!). These consumers want a smooth, pleasant, non-offensive whisky experience, and at the same time they want to demonstrate to their friends and family that they have the means to buy the best. The handsome packaging, the high price, the lofty age statement and the precious metals marketing slant all satisfy that expectation. I speculate that this would be a very desirable bottle in countries whose economies have an emerging middles class who want to announce that they have "arrived." I am thinking: China, Russia, Brazil, India, and many others. I am also thinking so called mature economies like Canada, United States, England and others also have plenty of consumers who want the same assurances and a need to make the same declaration. Good for them! I just hope I get invited to their next wedding celebration where the Platinum Label flows! ''