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Johnnie Walker Swing Whisky

A bottle of Johnnie Walker Swing ($65) is a fat-bottomed oddity when stood next to its tall brethren—the Red, Black, Green, Gold and Blue JW whiskies. The wobbly, ornate bottle is shaped like a brandy decanter and topped with a crosshatched and pebbled gold plastic lid and collar. Swaying gently back and forward when you nudge its neck, it was originally designed that way to counteract unruly ocean waves while aboard the great luxury steamships of the 1930s. (What, you thought the name referred to golf?) Swing has been around in Europe since 1932, its taste created by Sir Alexander Walker (grandson of John), who sought a whisky that could appeal to new drinkers as well as connoisseurs. It features a high proportion of Speyside malts—some rich and some light—complemented by malts from the northern Highlands and Islay to add richness, spice and weight. Johnnie Walker recently made Swing available for purchase for the first time in the States in order, the company says, to complete the collection for loyal JW fans. The whisky itself is notably sweet, especially when compared to the excellent Black or the richer, fuller but still dry Gold. Black is twelve years old, Gold eighteen, but the Swing blend makes no claim to age, only elegance. It tastes almost as sweet as a bourbon, but you won't mistake it for one: Swing has the precise, toned balance of carefully blended scotch. Call it a mid-Atlantic whisky: sweet like an American, but with the lean restraint of a Scot.

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