Johnnie Walker Black Label 12yo (40.0%): Number five in our blend project is the celebrated JW Black Label... Ok, I know I am bending the rules here a little bit. It is not an entry level blend and it is slightly more expensive than the other whiskies got reviewed in blend project (still less than $40 though...) but since I already covered JW Red Label from Johnnie Walker range I thought I can make an exception. I actually have to admit that I always had a soft spot for JW Black Label. For years and years it had been my go to dram and I always tried to keep a bottle at home back in the days. So, it will be fun to revisit my old friend. Color: Dark amber, old copper. Nose: Peach melba, dried Turkish apricots, tung oil and dried cranberries. Very gentle ocean spray, fresh cut grass, salted butter and orange blossoms. With water addition it gets very floral: magnolia flowers and rose petals. Absolutely beautiful... Palate: It is not as multi-layered as the nose and has a very thin mouthfeel but it incredibly silky. Aged corn whisk(e)y and subtle but comforting peat, fireplace ash. I wanted to say warm apple pie but it less sweet than that, more like apfelstrudel. Cinnamon, cloves and some allspice. Adding water makes it even more watery. I wouldn't go there. Finish: Fast and steep downward slope but with some good amount of vanilla, butter and cinnamon notes. The blend showing its age here. Overall: It is a fine blend, no doubt about it. Very easy to drink, solid and incredibly well balanced. I have to say it's a little too thin and watery for my palate. Also definitely more floral, more cereal and less peaty than I remember. I don't think that the formula has changed in years probably my palate did. Anyway at the end: Worth every penny! Still one of my favorite budget blends and one of the strong candidates for the top five of our blend project.