Sunday, November 22, 2015

Whisky review: Johnnie Walker Explorers' Club Collection "The Adventurer"

In my last post, I uploaded a reader's email, in which he lamented that it is very difficult to find the "Honda Accord" of Scotches, meaning something affordable, yet of great quality.

Normally, 'affordable' and 'whisky' are two words that do not work well in the same sentence.  Generally speaking, affordable Scotch whisky means you are looking at blended Scotch, and in the past there were a few gems.  Today, the same brands are still with us, but the great drams they were, at very reasonable prices, have disappeared.

Teacher's, Black Bottle, Monkey Shoulder and others that at one time delivered great quality at a great price are now serving up noticeably lesser quality at a reasonable price.  Now, you get what you pay for, whereas ten years ago, you glanced nervously over your shoulder, as you exited the liquor store fearing the manager would bolt out the doors demanding you return, as there was an error in price.

Nevertheless, I am still in search of that Accord, thinking it is just around the corner, on a lonely shelf, just waiting for me to discover it.  So, in the spirit of Japanese efficiency and value having an equivalent in the blended Soctch category, a friend picked me a up a bottle of Johnnie Walker Explorers' Club Collection "The Adventurer" at Duty Free.

Duty Free only

1 litre



Nose (undiluted)
Red licorice, easy peat, wisps of smoke, rose hip, strawberries.

Palate (undiluted)
Spicy/sweet entry of sugared strawberries, raspberries, pickled beets, peat, some malt notes and lots of sweet grain whiskies bulking it out.

Finish (undiluted)
Montreal steak spice, ginger, simple black pepper, and a tannic cola note.

General Impressions
"The Adventurer" appears to be the standard Johnnie Walker Red Label with an extra boost of smoke, spices.  It is a little smoother than Red Label with a little less bite too but hardly by much.  I really struggle to distinguish much difference in taste between this and Red Label.  A Scotch whisky blogger in Brazil holds the same opinion.

That being said, for $29.99, you are getting a lot of decent mix quality blended Scotch whisky.  I really think this blend is best enjoyed as mix, and at the price it is offered for, you won't feel guilty using it as such.  In a tumbler, add 2/3 ginger ale, 1/3 The Adventurer, ice, slice of orange, a dash of Angostura Bitters, and you are in business!  Much more enjoyable than neat.

So, I guess I will heed Johnnie Walker's advice and keep on walkin.'  Maybe a trip down the Spice Road will lead to my ultimate destination: an Accord!


Jason Debly