...where distraction is the main attraction.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Opening the family whisky

So.......there's this:

Immediate facts:
Johnnie Walker Black Label
1.2 quarts (1135 mL, 38.4 fl. oz.)
86.8 proof (43.4% ABV)
Bottled in Kilmarnock
Sold only through Duty Free

Fact from research**:
Bottled in the late 1970s

Yes, that is whisky sediment raining down around the edges

As of last Christmas this whisky was the property of Robert and Wilma Perry, my wife's grandparents.  It had previously belonged to one of Grandpa Bob's cousins.  But for many years it sat in a cold Ohio basement.  This past December, Grandpa Bob, who is currently kicking cancer's ass, gave the bottle of whisky to me.

It's part of our family.

It was likely bottled around the same time I was born.

Oh, and one more thing.  When I first met Kristen, I discovered that this 20-year-old fox was drinking Johnnie Walker Black Label.  While men hit on her, they were drinking Sex on the Beaches, slamming Jager bombs, drinking Bacardi and Cokes.  Meanwhile, Kristen sipped Scotch.

She's my wife now.  And while she prefers barrel strength rye -- yeah, she pretty much rules -- she can smell a glass of JW Black from across a room.  So there's some actual emotional weight to this bottle of whisky.

And as the youngest whisky in this blend was distilled in the Johnson administration, some of that malt coming from distilleries no longer in existence, there's some financial value to it as well.

But I'm opening this whisky up.  And this weekend, I'm going to tell you why.

** - Many many many thanks to Joanne Bergstrom of whisky.com; Christine McCafferty, the Archive Manager (!) at Diageo(!!); and the handful of whisky collectors who weighed in at the whisky.com forum.


  1. Oh, c'mon! I was just getting into this read!

  2. 43.4% ABV! Why can't Johnnie Walker stay at that proof?

    1. Of course my question is entirely in jest since I think everyone knows the answer to that. You make more money by watering down to 40%...

    2. They do make more money and it looks like what it is: nickel-and-dime-ing the customer. They reduced the quality of their product in return for a 8-9% higher take. There's nothing wrong with turning a profit, but that's just lame (official financial terminology).

  3. And when do we get to find out how it tasted? With respect to 'Family Whisky', I've set aside bottles of JW Green Label, Arran Machrie Moor 2nd Edition, and Compass Box Spice Tree and Peat Monster that I intend to have people drink at my funeral (in a good 60 years, I hope...)...wonder how they'll taste then, and what the state of the whisky world will be like...

    1. I hope to have a post on it soon. It changes a lot in the glass and it's very very different than the current JW Black.

      See now you've given me the Funeral Whisky idea. Time to buy more bottles! Just kidding. Sort of. The whisky world may look much different decades from now as so many countries get into whisky production. I'd like to think that the best whisky has not yet been made.

      It's Friday night, that's my only excuse for this sort of optimism. :)