Johnnie Walker has been around sing the 1850’s and today is the most widely distributed blended scotch in the world with sales of over 130 million bottles. This iconic brand sits on the bars of homes in nearly every country. Johnnie Walker red, black, green, and blue all have die hard loyalists and it’s actually quite interesting given the range of tastes. I have come across men who use Johnnie Red as their everyday drink and sad save JW Blue for special occasions. I know men who drink nothing but blue. I know sophisticated and lifelong whisky drinkers who swear by the brand’s least expensive blend, Johnnie Walker Red. Each has its own distinct taste due to the aging process of the whiskies used in the blends. In this article we will profile the entire Johnnie Walker line including the age and tasting notes of each blend.
Johnnie Walker Black Label: JW Black is probably the most popular of the Johnnie Walker line. A step above JW Red this is an everyday whisky for many. If you hear somebody ordering JW at a bar it’s most likely Black. It’s a blend of 40 whiskies, none aged less than 12 years. You can taste notes of wood smoke and dry spice with a fruity finish. JW Black is easily one of the most popular blends in the world.
Johnnie Walker Double Black: A fairly recent addition to the JW line of products the best way to describe Double Black is a very peaty and smoky version of Black Label. If peat and smoke are your thing and you want to keep it in the JW family then this is your whisky.
Johnnie Walker Green Label: Unfortunately, green label has been discontinued. Green is where JW’s elite blends began. Green Label was a blended malt which means it was made solely from single malt whiskies and no grain whisky whatsoever. The four blends used were Talisker, Linkwood, Cragganmore, and Caol Ila. None of them were aged for less than 15 years. JW Green always received very high tasting scores and was considered one of the best whiskies on the market.
Johnnie Walker Gold Label Reserve: Gold Label was a blend of over 15 single malt whiskies. It was bottled as either 15 or 18 years aged. However, JW Gold has been replaced by JW Golden Label Reserve and comes bottled without an age. Golden Reserve is a very smooth whisky and has a sweetness with a marked taste of honey. There are also floral elements in its taste with a hint of vanilla.
Johnnie Walker Platinum Label: Another fairly recent addition, Platinum label is often sold alongside Golden Label Reserve but is very different. It is a rich whisky that has a sweet and warming palate. The finish has an interesting dark chocolate taste.
Johnnie Walker Swing: Johnnie Walker Swing got its name from the shape of the bottle in which the bottom is shaped so that it is able to rock back and forth. It is made up mostly of Speyside malts and complemented by malts from the Highlands and Islay. Swing almost has the sweetness of a bourbon.
Johnnie Walker Blue: JW Blue is the king of the Johnnie Walker line. It can have a higher proof, as high as 86 and is not marked by a certain age. As far as the taste goes you will get notes of toffee, chocolate, and malt. JW Blue has a floral and oaky finish. JW Blue is sold in a silk lined box and is one of the most expensive blended whiskies on the market given its reputation as one of the superior blends and legendary status.
Article By: Jon DaBove