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Best Johnnie Walkers

For over 215 years, Johnnie Walker has been a household name, making some of the finest whiskey on the market. Johnnie Walker whiskey is the best-selling, most distributed, and most famous Scotch whiskey brand in the world, with over 18 million cases of whiskey sold every year. 

In 1820, a farmer’s son and grocer by trade, started making whiskey in the Scottish burgh of Kilmarnock in East Ayrshire.

The farmer’s son, Johnnie Walker, had a natural talent for business and, combined with his genius for making whiskey, was an almost instant success.

What set Johnnie’s whiskey aside from the rest is that he would only sell whiskey of a certain quality, and that was consistent across batches.

When Johnnie Walker passed away in 1857, he left his whiskey empire with his son, Alexander, which by that stage, was a thriving business.

Taking after his father in terms of his business acumen, Alexander saw an opportunity to take advantage of the railway in Kilmarnock to carry goods to the great ships which took their whiskey across the globe and by 1920, Johnnie Walker’s famous whiskey was available in over 120 countries.

Alexander was also responsible for the iconic Johnnie Walker label that slants over the square bottle (also a distinctive addition by Alexander). Although the business was popular under Johnnie Walker’s reign, the establishment of the brand is thanks to Alexander and his son, Alexander II. 

In 1934, John Walker and Sons was granted a Royal Warrant by King George V. During the rest of the 20th century, the pioneering Red Label Johnnie Walker and the Johnnie Walker Black label were joined by Johnnie Walker Blue Label onto its ever-growing brand. Today, it is the biggest name and brand in whiskey and continues to push boundaries.

Throughout the years, Johnnie Walker has consistently only offered a few blends, but in recent years there has been an increase in special and limited bottles of blends available to the market all over the world.

Johnnie Walker has a core range of whiskey blends which are almost instantly recognizable with their different colored labels. 

Choosing which whiskey blend for you can be confusing and frustrating, especially if you are just trying to get into drinking whiskey for the first time.

This guide details the best Johnnie Walker whiskys out there and hopefully can be of help to get you to know which Johnnie Walker is best for you and your needs. 

Johnnie Walker Red Label

Johnnie Walker Red Label Blended Scotch Whisky

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The Johnnie Walker Red Label whiskey is a renamed version of the Special Old Highland Whiskey, one of the two original blends from Johnnie Walker crafted in the 19th Century. The whiskey is recommended to form a part of a mixing whiskey (having it mixed with ginger ale or ginger beer, lemonade or even coke) or as part of a cocktail. There is nothing better than mixing some Johnnie Walker Red Label into a refreshing whiskey or old-fashioned cocktail. 

The Johnnie Walker Red Label is a non-age-stated blend and has been one of the best-selling Scotch whiskey in the world since 1945. It is affordable and wildly available. It has a grain-forward mouthfeel and has a moderate amount of peat smoke on the nose from malting of the Caol Ila and Talisker distilleries. 

The Red Label has a few toffee notes and as you taste it, you will notice hints of dried herbs, grain, and berries. The aftertaste is somewhat bitter and peppery giving a warmness to the drink which is not always pleasant when enjoyed neat—which is why it is better suited for cocktails in general; but if you like bitterness and a peppery aftertaste than the affordable price of this Johnnie Walker blend just makes sense. 

When testing this product, we loved: it in an old-fashioned and with ginger ale. It is affordable for the quality you get. 

Johnnie Walker Black Label

Johnnie Walker Black Label Blended Scotch Whisky

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First sold as their Extra Special Old Highland Whiskey in the 1860s, this blend was rebranded to Johnnie Walker Black Label in 1908 during a huge branding and marketing overhaul. Since then, Johnnie Walker Black Label has carried a 12-year age statement, which means that the whiskey is aged in barrels for 12 years. It is only one of the three Johnnie Walker blends that carry and age-related statement. 

The Johnnie Walker Black Label is a blend of more than three dozen distilleries’ malts. These malts are chiefly made up of peat distilleries such as Talisker, Lagavulin and Cardu distilleries. The Black Label was the distilleries

The nose of Johnnie Walker Black has notes of vanilla cream, citrus, and nectarine. This is swiftly followed by roasted malt, caramel, and hints of raisins. The peat smoke is evident but by no means overwhelming on the senses. Overall, this whiskey is sweet, spicy, and smoky and this is achieved by the clever combination of Speyside, Island, Islay, Lowland and grain whiskey together. 

When testing this product, we loved: that it is a classic combination of bright and rich flavors and that it can be enjoyed with a simple splash of water.

Johnnie Walker Double Black

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Johnnie Walker Double Black was originally made for travel retail and, after the success there, was made available to the public in 2011. The whiskey was created using Johnnie Walker Black Label as a blueprint with the addition of more peaty malt whiskey to it whilst being matured in heavily charred old oak casks for that heavenly smoky taste. 

The Johnnie Walker Double Black doesn’t carry an age statement and is primarily from the west coast of Scotland. The flavor of the whiskey bears a complexity like no other and the signature peak smokiness is obvious along with the taste of rich raisins. Other notes on the palate after taking a sip of this wonderful drink, is that of apples, pears and orange zest which adds a brightness to the smoky and rich Double Black. Additionally, on the tongue, you will be greeted with vanilla and spices which adds a layer of softness to the whiskey. 

When testing this product, we loved: that a glass of this is perfect for a summer’s night over some ice or paired with a cigar (if that is your thing).

Johnnie Walker Green Label

Johnnie Walker Green Label Blended Malt Scotch Whisky

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The Johnnie Walker Green Label was first introduced in 1997 as Johnnie Walker Pure Malt 15-Year-Old Whiskey and was renamed to Johnnie Walker Green Label in 2004. When Johnnie Walker was acquired by Diageo in 2012, they discontinued the Johnnie Walker Green Label. However, the Johnnie Walker Green Label was relaunched in 2016 and the popularity of the return of this blend was obvious. 

The Johnnie Walker Green Label is a blended malt whiskey, which means that single malts are mixed together without the addition of grain whiskey. It is also another one of the three Johnnie Walker blends to carry an age statement. The Johnnie Walker Green Label combines the malts of Caol Ila, Talisker, Cragganmore and Linkwood distilleries which provide its unique flavor profile. 

The absence of grain gives the whiskey a more rounded mouthfeel and there is a definite ginger and lemon presence in the taste which is accompanied by peat smoke and green herbs as well ass black tea. This is balanced out by sweet notes of honey, dates, and almond flavors.

When testing this product, we loved: it has the taste of a high-end Scotch whiskey without the exorbitant price. 

Johnnie Walker Gold Label Reserve

Johnnie Walker Gold Label Reserve Blended Scotch Whisky

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This blend of more than 15 malts is derived from Alexander Walker II’s blend called “The Centenary Blend” that was originally made to commemorate the centenary of Johnnie Walker. The blend joined the core range in the 1990s and originally carried an age statement, but this was later removed. 

The Johnnie Walker Gold Label Reserve is a combination of several Speyside and Highlands distilleries belonging to the brand. It has won multiple awards over the years, including four Double Golds at the San Francisco World Spirits Contest. 

The whiskey itself has a nose of fresh mixed herbs and oak, which gives it an earthy undertone. As you sip on the drink you will notice the honey, fudge, and toffee notes come through which is mixed in with orange, apple, and pineapple.

There is also a definite presence of warming spices like nutmeg, clove, and cinnamon. It has a smooth and caramel-like mouthfeel and is not overly expensive for the quality and delicious whiskey that you get. 

When testing this product, we loved: the lack of smokiness and the smooth finish on the mouth. It is a pleasant and easy drink to sip on. 

Johnnie Walker 18 Year Old

Johnnie Walker Aged 18 Years Blended Scotch Whisky

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The last Johnnie Walker blend that carries an age statement is the 18 year old blend, which is also the oldest of the three. The Johnnie Walker 18 Year Old was originally launched and known as Johnnie Walker Platinum Label, but this name was discontinued in 2017 and replaced with Johnnie Walker 18 Year Old. 

Oddly enough, whether by coincidence or not, the blend of the Johnnie Walker 18 Year Old is made up of 18 different whiskey variants. The flavor profile of this blend is very similar to the Gold Label Reserve, but with its honey and apple notes dialed up a notch. Included in the palate are notes of citrus and almond that are balanced out with notes of creamy vanilla and tropical tangerine. The finish brings hints of dark chocolate, citrus and a light whiff of smoke

When testing this product, we loved: the elegance and how easy it was to drink this whiskey on any occasion. The delicate flavor profile is like a choreographed dance on your tongue. 

Johnnie Walker Blue Label

Johnnie Walker Aged 18 Years Blended Scotch Whisky

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As the most prestigious of all the Johnnie Walker blends, the Johnnie Walker Blue Label is a special one, but it does come with quite a hefty price tag in comparison to the other blends available. It was first made available to the public back in 1994 and has been subject to many special or limited edition runs over the years. 

It is an exceptional blend of some of the rarest whiskies found in Scotland and offers a rich and smoky flavor profile. Only one in ten thousand casks has the quality and character expected to meet the criteria of being labelled under the Johnnie Walker Blue Label. The whiskies blended in the Johnnie Walker Blue Label range from ones as young as seven years old to those over fifty years old. 

When sipping on this blended whiskey, you can expect an onslaught of flavor notes including honey, hazelnut, rose petals, sherry, and citrus. This is rounded off with flavors of aromatic smoke, tobacco notes, dark chocolate and sandalwood. The older peated whiskey in this blend brings notes of tropical fruit like mango and pineapple and some Highland whiskies used in this blend offer vanilla, fudge, and ice cream notes. 

When testing this product, we loved: the prestige that comes with the Johnnie Walker Blue Label. The bottle comes wrapped in silk and is placed inside an elegant box to be kept in which just adds to the experience of feeling regal. 

Special Mentions

Johnnie Walker High Rye Blended Scotch Whiskey

Johnnie Walker High Rye Blended Scotch Whisky

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This full-bodied whiskey uses 60% rye and gives the whiskey a fruity sweetness with a hint of smoke. The rye whiskies were aged in American oak barrels, adding in extra layers of flavor including vanilla, toffee apples and a spicy finish. 

Johnnie Walker Swing

Johnnie Walker Swing

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Johnnie Walker Swing is supplied in a special bottle that allows it to rock back and forth, and was originally intended to be used aboard ships. It is naturally a collector’s item.

Jane Walker by Johnnie Walker Blended Malt Scotch Whisky

 Jane Walker by Johnnie Walker Blended Malt Scotch Whisky

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This rounded and smooth blend that is aged for 10 years has notes of apples and white peaches reminiscent of apple pie and sweet cream with a dark chocolate finish. 

Other whiskies worth noting are all the special and limited editions out there. Currently, you can get some Game of Thrones inspired bottles, the Chinese Zodiac Bottle and celebratory blends. 

Buyer’s Guide

Now that you know all about what the range of Johnnie Walker whiskies have to offer. You can hopefully make a more sound decision on which Johnnie Walker whiskey blend you will want to buy.

However, there are additional factors to consider when buying a whiskey from the Johnnie Walker range. 

One of the first things you should consider is your budget. If you have a higher budget then you can afford one of their more premium bottles such as the Blue Label and the special or limited editions.

The cost is associated with the scarcity of the blends, which is apparent in the Blue Label range. If money is no object, then this is the whiskey for you. 

However, the rest of their mid-range price whiskies (everything apart from the Johnnie Walker Red Label) are affordable and have varying flavor profiles but are all of extremely high quality. 

Which brings in the next factor to consider—what flavor profile are you after? If you want something that is soft, herbaceous, and malty, then the Green Label is for you.

Alternatively, if you want something sweet and lacking in smoky flavor, then it would be best to stick with the Gold Label Reserve. However, if you want the smoky flavor that a lot of competitor whiskey brands boast, then the Black Label and Double Black is for you. 

On the other hand, if you just want a mixer for a cocktail, stick with the affordable option of Johnnie Walker Red Label. 

For centuries, Johnnie Walker has been producing some of the finest whiskey and distributing it all over the globe. Their quality is unmatched, and it is a no-brainer why the whiskey blends coming out of the house of Johnny Walker are a favorite amongst seasoned whiskey drinkers. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is The Best Way To Drink Whiskey?

This depends on the whiskey but in truth, there is no right or wrong way to enjoy Johnnie Walker’s fine whiskies.

The best thing to do is start with them neat, if the flavor is too powerful or overwhelming, add ice or a splash of still or sparkling water to release some of the floral notes which go unnoticed when the whiskies are sampled neat.  

What Is Johnnie Walker Whiskey Made From?

The whiskies are a blend of grain and malt whiskies from several different distilleries. They could be a combination of grain and malt whiskies, single malt blends or just grain blends, each coming from an array of chosen distilleries. 

What Is The Best Johnnie Walker Whiskey?

This depends on personal preference and budget. If money is not an object, the Blue Label wins hands down but, if you are more budget conscious, the Green Label or 18 Year Old is a great option for you.