I attended a whiskey tasting at the Embarcadero building last night. I’ve been to a few other tastings and this one had a slightly different vibe. I am generally a single malt (or bourbon) fellow but figured I’d drink some blended if they gave it to me. Which they did.
Started off with a chit one could use at the “bar” to get a JW cocktail. I ordered Black, neat. It was not unpleasant and was probably the best part of the evening. I think I have odd tastebuds that are overly sensitive to certain components other folks don’t talk about. I got licorice in the nose and the flavor seemed a bit mis-shapen with a dollop of phenolic band-aid on the front. Hmmm.
It was nice and dark, a relatively simple and understated setup. Cool music. Appetizer type things, kinda. Thought the food was a bit weak, even for a freebie.
The Red, pitched as a mixer scotch, was raspy and reminded me of (uhhhh) cheap scotch. Not pleasant.
Gold was presented in frozen (WTF?) shot glasses, apparently in some attempt to win over vodka drinkers and others who really don’t like whiskey.
Blue was a massive let-down. It wasn’t so much smooth as it felt like someone just turned all the volume buttons down. No there there.
Bottom line: Black was better than I thought it would be; the rest were not as good as I thought they would be. None are going to get me to change from Woodford Reserve and the Macallan, my current standards.
Seems JW is more about marketing than the whiskey, and the quasi-historical intro film seems to reinforce that. The JW ringleader made some not-so-subtle “poison the well” shots at single malt whiskeys which suggests to me either they thought they’d have none there or it was worth it to get lock-in from new consumers. Seemed petty.