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Blue Label vs Rare Cask: Head to Head!

Discover the differences between Johnnie Walker Blue Label vs Macallan Rare Cask in this head to head comparison and decide which Scotch is better for You!

Johnnie Walker Blue Label

NoseOak, dried fruits, berries, citrus
PalateCaramel, smoke, chocolate, malt
FinishMedium, light smoke, dried fruit
Alcohol content80 proof (40% ABV)
How to drinkNeat
Similar toGreen Label, Royal Salute 21

According to Johnnie Walker only 1 in 10,000 casks is selected to be part of the blend.

It makes me think that Johnnie Walker must have a zillion casks in storage as the Blue Label is everywhere to be found as every duty free store in the world carries a generous stock.

The nose offers oak at first, followed by a light smoky note. There are hints of berries and citrus coming behind.

On the palate, the Blue Label feels creamy, rich in caramel up-front, followed by a malty flavor and a hint of chocolate. There is a bit of smoke making it incredibly rewarding.

The finish has a solid length, light in oak and smoke with a rich dried fruit note.

I would summarize the Blue Label by saying “smooth, smoky and delicious”.

This whisky is incredibly smooth yet quite flavorful with more peat than I was expecting but still just a hint and nothing off-putting for those who are not into peaty whisky.

The Blue Label is remarkably gentle on the palate, very smooth, slightly sweet with smoky cigar-like aftertaste. It does not burn as it goes down easy and nicely.

This whisky could definitely use more proof (ABV) and become a much better offering; a mere 80 proof (40% ABV) is too low for a whisky at this price.

There are a few facts worth knowing about the Blue Label:

  • Johnnie Walker is a of grain and malt whiskies from different distilleries; this is not a single malt Scotch.

  • Blue Label has no age statement. Johnnie Walker does not disclose the minimum aging of the whiskies that comprise the blend.

  • Each bottle of Blue Label is offered in a silk-lined box with a certificate of authenticity and a serial number.

Macallan Rare Cask

NoseOak, vanilla, raisins, citrus
PalateSherry, citrus, dried fruit, chocolate
FinishLong, chocolate, ripe fruit
Alcohol content86 proof (43% ABV)
How to drinkNeat
Similar toMacallan 18

The nose kicks-off with toasty oak, followed by vanilla, raisins and a touch of orange.

On the palate, the Rare Cask feels incredibly smooth and rich, full of sherry notes, orange, dried fruit and dark chocolate behind.

The finish is long, pleasantly warm, with rich chocolate notes to it, ripe fruit and a touch of toasted oak.

What makes this malt special is that only 1% of the casks at the Macallan Distillery are chosen by the Master Blender to be part of the Rare Cask.

Even though the Rare Cask has no age statement the whiskies in the blend have an age between 17 and 21 years.

The Rare Cask is one of the nicest malts I’ve had and the best Macallan Whisky. Full of flavors, beautifully balanced with each hint in complement to the other, quite complex, very satisfying and immensely drinkable.

Personally, I’m not particularly fond of sherried whiskies as I’m more an Islay Whisky guy but this the best sherried whisky I have tried as the chocolate note is quite intense.

A bit pricey for a whisky with no age statement, though, but incredibly satisfying nonetheless.

What’s the differences between the Blue Label and the Rare Cask?

Blue Label is a blend and Rare Cask a Single Malt

  • The Blue Label is a blend of several whiskies crafted at different distilleries owned by Diageo. The whiskies are an undisclosed mix of malt and grain whiskies with no age statement.
  • The Rare Cask is exclusively made from malted barley at a single distillery. The whiskies in the blend are aged between 17 and 21 years is free of artificial caramel-coloring.

Blue Label vs rare Cask: Price comparison

Prices are approximate and stated in USD:

Johnnie Walker Blue Label$200
Macallan Rare Cask$420

Blue Label vs Rare Cask: Which is better?

There is a place for both in my cabinet

  • The Blue Label is artificially colored, a blend of grain and malts, has no age statement and is yet incredibly tasty, overly smooth, with a soft hit of smoke making a delicious dram at a price that it’s still quite reasonable; I like it!

  • The Rare Cask is a much more elegant sherried whisky and could well the best in its kind, crafted by perhaps Scotland’s best distiller but at a price in which you really have to be a die hard fan of sherried whisky to pay for it.

The best alternative to the Rare Cask is the Macallan 15 which has a lot in common and is offered at a fraction of the price.

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