Johnnie Walker Range Review

let’s begin

Johnnie Walker is the best selling blend worldwide. With six main expressions as well as limited editions, they have quite a catalogue of drams.

This is a brand with a long history, having first been sold in John Walker’s grocery store in the 1820s. Since then it has conquered the world, claiming the title of biggest selling blend.

The Red Label

The range begins with the most popular expression, the Red Label. This blend combines smoke and fruity spices.

The first taste of Johnnie Walker Red introduces bursts of ripe apple and pear, explosions of fruitiness that are just dripping with juice.

From here it takes on a spiciness. The apples and pears are perfectly complemented with rich cinnamon and nutmeg. The spices in the Red Label serve to enhance the tangy sweetness that bounces off the fruit.

The finish is where the signature Johnnie Walker smoke is found.

In a long lasting kick, the Red Label ends with a healthy dose of smoked oak, perfectly balanced with the mouth-watering spiced sweetness.

The Black Label

This smoky kick is again present in Johnnie Walker Black Label. Except this blend is hefty with caramelised sweetness.

Matured in oak sherry casks there is also a little fruitiness in the beginning. Fruits such as lemons and oranges come through, adding a little extra tang to the toffee sweetness that follows.

The Black Label again ends with a blast of smoke. It is perfectly intertwined with the mellow saccharine delights of the palette.

Double Black

Now keeping that in mind, we move on to the Double Black.

Imagine if someone took Johnnie Walker Black and used it to light a bonfire. The resulting smoke would be Double Black.

Packed with an Islay peatedness, this is the Talisker lovers go to Johnnie Walker. It even has some of the medicinal qualities Islays are so well known for.

The palette offers up a creamier sensation with a buttery flavour coming through the smoke.

Again there are hints of fruit, but these are given a mellower undertone with splashes of vanilla appearing. These flavours work in tandem with each other to highlight the rich creaminess.

The finish is of course smoky but with a presence of the charred oak barrels this blend is matured in.

Double Black may be brimming with an indulgent smokiness, but the next expression takes this down a level.

The Gold Label

While still present, the smoke in the Gold Label is for more understated and subtle. A honeyed sweetness takes the main stage in the Gold, with a dash of floral heather.

Together these carry through the nose and become more prominent in the palette. A spicy and creamy vanilla then rises up to meet them and they intertwine like a picnic in your mouth.

There is a hint of smoke throughout, but only a hint. It has a wooded flavour that serves to further highlight the brilliance of the floral notes.

The Platinum and Blue Labels

The next two expressions, Platinum and Blue, are the big players in the Johnnie Walker range.

The Platinum Label has an age statement of 18 and is creamy with delicate, sweet flavours that combine with a  lightly bitter chocolate finish.

The beginning brims with almonds and the sweetness of marzipan, bringing in that smooth creaminess. A depth is added with a hint of vanilla and spice, cinnamon and slight appearances of nutmeg.

The finish intertwines this sweetness with a subtle, smoky dark chocolate layer, emphasising the richness of the Platinum Label. This is truly an excellent expression that never misses a beat where flavour is concerned.

The Blue Label is the last in the range, and perhaps the most exquisite.

Matured in hand-selected casks, the Blue Label is the rarest of the range and also the best.

Again, the signature Johnnie Walker smokiness is there in the beginning but gives way to a nutty sweetness.

This sweetness is full of citrus fruits and honey, rich and creamy. The palette takes the flavour further by throwing in some sumptuous sandalwood hints and develops the smoke into a tobacco and dark chocolate combination.

Finally, the Blue Label ends with more smoke, this time it becomes somewhat peppery and is long lasting. This is a complex blend that perfectly brings together some of Johnnie Walkers biggest flavour statements.

You can read about the launch of the Blue Label City Edition here.

Johnnie Walker is a brand that has an incredible history that is both long and successful. With several other limited edition expressions, there is always something new, new flavours and new adventures in taste.

It really is no wonder that Johnnie Walker is the world’s most popular blend.

Don’t believe me? Get out there and try it for yourself and you will soon see why.

Photo credits from top left, clockwise: Brent BisallionSteven de Sousa, Ramon Oliveira, I A Walsh, Phil Ovens and Brands Gym.

Tags: black labelblue labeldouble blackDrinkWiregold labelJohnnie Walkerplatinum labelrangered labelReview


My name is Greg, and I’m a brand strategy consultant, writer, speaker, host and judge specialising in premium spirits. My mission is to experience, share and inspire with everything great about whisky, whiskey, gin, beer and fine dining through my writing, my brand building and my whisky tastings.

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