Whisky Reviews

Johnnie Walker Black Label


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Johnnie Walker is a firm favorite of many novice and intermediate whisky drinkers alike – though I haven’t come across many whisky enthusiasts who hold it as a favorite. Personally, I find it to be a perfectly good every day whisky and one which I’ve had on more than one occasion. In the same price category, though, I generally prefer the Whyte & Mackay 13 year old.

According to the history made available by Johnnie Walker themselves, John Walker started selling whisky in his grocery shop in Kilmarnock – which his family bought in 1814, after his father had passed away -sometime around 1820. At the time the whisky was sold only in their shop and the circulation was small, and that’s pretty much how things would continue until 1857 when Alexander Walker (John’s son) took over the management of the shop. In 1860, he made deals with shippers to distribute their whisky across the country and indeed globe.

The nose is subdued, which is probably one of the reasons why it is popular with novice drinkers rather than hardcore enthusiasts, with notes of oak, salt, nut, light smoke and fruitiness in the form of raisins. The palate is dry and shares many of its characteristics with the nose, with the addition of tobacco, peat, sweet apples, toffee and a gingery spice. The finish is mellow, leaving a bit to ask for. Controversial as it may be to use a Scottish blend in a Whiskey Sour, I actually think this particular blend may go quite well in one. I haven’t tried it myself yet, but will come back with an update once I have!

Color: Coppery amber

Nose: Oak, salt, nut, light smoke and raisins.

Taste: Dry, tobacco, light smoke, sweet -perhaps toffee- apple, gingery spice.

Want to buy this whisky? Available in: USA & World (click)UK & Europe (click)

About Whisky Critic

My name is Martin and I live in Scotland. I love fine things in life, such as gourmet food, travelling around the world and, last but not least, whisky (naturally, I’m partial to a tipple of whiskey or bourbon as well). I have tasted hundreds of whiskies during the recent years and I finally decided to share my experience.

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  1. Jason's Scotch Whisky Reviews

    November 11, 2010 at 2:44 am

    I consider myself a bit of a scotch nut and when it comes to a Johnnie Walker Black, I just think it is an excellent blended scotch whisky that is superior to a few single malts like: Glenkinchie 12 or Auchentoshan 12.

    Black Label makes for a great daily tipple. It is not the finest scotch in the world, but it is sufficiently intriguing that I never tire of it.


  2. Felix Cappuccio

    November 11, 2010 at 9:27 pm

    Always my go to scotch when going out to dinner with my family a fine scotch indeed-FC.

  3. MJB

    January 31, 2011 at 5:57 am

    Simply the best all around whiskey ever made whether your a new Whiskey drinker or an old bird. It is smooth but yet with great unique flavors. Hits a little like tequila/turpentine with vanilla and Carmel and nice peaty light smoky finish. It has the most distinctive wood flavor that separates this from the rest!!!

  4. gary

    March 2, 2011 at 3:25 pm

    Johnnie Walker Red Label was once an 8 year old. what is it now?

  5. Ryan

    July 30, 2011 at 2:10 pm

    I consider myself an “enthusiast” (although not the most experienced one, I sure am enthusiastic!) and love Johnnie Walker Black Label. Sure, maybe it can’t compete toe-to-toe with expensive single malts, but when you factor in the price, this becomes an amazing whisky.

  6. Tim

    August 2, 2011 at 5:50 am

    I’ll throw out that black label is good, but I always encourage people to hit the green label and check the difference. I find that once your into green+ you’re talking about a different pour altogether. Lastly, I do think there are 12 that beat Johnnie Walker hands down, yet I still keep some on hand for the distinctive flavor (that runs through their entire line in my opinion). There’s some nights the black label is just perfect.

  7. Tim

    August 2, 2011 at 5:52 am

    Sorry about the typos etc Martin… The iPad is correcting me incorrectly… Or the third shot is… 🙂

  8. KL

    December 9, 2011 at 9:20 pm

    I’ve tried many whiskies although a long way off trying all that is available.
    Single malts, from Arbelour,Talisker,Glenlifiddich Glenmorangie, Mcallum ,Laphroigh……all good quality whiskies but it is a blended whisky that has so far ended up being my favourite……and that is Johnnie Walker Black Label, it so smooth, and in taste it beats other blends like Famous Grouse,Chivas Regal,Bell’s & J&B & Irish Whiskies like Jamesons and Bush mills.
    It’s also very easy to drink and for me never gives me any “hang over” effects that I can get with some of the single malts that I mention.
    I know I like Johnnie Black Label…….because it’s always the quickest Whisky bottle that gets finished off!
    I’ve yet to try Green Label…..but when I will once I track a bottle down…….it was on offer at my Local Tescos for an amazing £20 (£3 cheaper than Black Label).
    But Johnnie Walker Black Label certainly gets my vote!

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