Nose: Malt, chocolate, coffee, toffee, apples, oranges, sherry, raisins, spices and caramel. Roses? Yes, definitely a floral/rosey note in here. A pinch of salt. The grain notes are calm and well integrated. In fact, they add a pleasant earthiness to the nose. You might also note that unlike most blends, this whisky opens up with time.
Palate: A very gentle arrival with a good, medium-thick mouthfeel. Caramel at the fore, with soft waves of indistinct sherry flavours rolling in. Fruity and salty. Raisins, salt, caramel, rich malt, and some very inoffensive and gentle spices.
Finish: As the gentle spices begin to dry a smoky note comes in. It’s very subdued and understated, but it stands firmly throughout the finish. Several sherry notes return, and with them a gentle spicy tingle. As the sherry fades, we’re left with lingering smoke and salt throughout the medium finish.
Thoughts: Nice! This is as drinkable as many single malts, and I think it demonstrates JW’s ability to offer a broad range of products. Definitely the most “Speysidey” Walker I’ve tried. It doesn’t have the striking personality of the Green 15 yo or the velvety texture of the Gold 18, but it’s captured something different; a rich fruity character. Of course smoke, caramel, and maritime notes are also present, but it’s sherry notes that define the Swing. As one would expect with a JW release, it’s well structured with an inoffensive character; but why should that be a bad thing? Good balance, integration, and smoothness are also things to behold.
As a sidenote; I absolutely LOVE the standard JW bottle style, so I’m disappointed that didn’t get a colored label and a place in the core range. I get that they’re alluding to a maritime tradition, but nobody’s drinking this on the high seas during a storm. Nobody that I know, anyway.