Johnnie Walker Red Label

Johnnie Walker Red Label
Picture: The Whisky Exchange

Titanic beverage group Diageo sells 130 million bottles of Johnnie Walker on a yearly basis. The Red Label blend accounts for the vast majority of these figures. It is one of the cheapest blends and has been produced since 1909. It is probably the most widely available tipple in the world. Red Label contains 35 different malt and grain whiskies.

Identity Card Johnnie Walker Red Label

  • Official bottling from Diageo
  • NAS blended Scotch whisky
  • Alcohol: 40% ABV

Coke addicted junk from the seventies suffering from megalomania

Tasting notes

Colour: Red Label has a classic amber colour with a soft golden glow. This does not tell you much about the whisky. It has suffered from the notorious E in whisky (caramel colour has been added) for a consistent colour. Because customers expect so, right?

Nose: Juniper berries and overripe pears are the main aroma's I'm picking up at the nose. After a few sniffs, there's some sort of synthetic component that makes an appearance. I can only identify it (for now) as plastic wrap that spent too much time in the oven.
At room temperature, there's a touch of imitation leather, sweet grains and dry baker's yeast.

Taste: On the palate, there's an explosion of soft peat smoke, toasted oak and a mixture of spices. Juniper berries, ginger and pink pepper. And a hint of soft soapiness. But don't worry. It does not get very unpleasant.

Finish: The finish is quite short. An extinguished fire with flakes of oak and pine resin.

Conclusion: Johnny Walker Red label is marketed as a mixed drink by Diageo and I suggest you follow that advise. Use it as an appetiser with ice and soda or mix it with Coke (or Pepsi, I'm not in for a "Who's better" debate). Drinking this one neat is far from a life-changing experience. In that case, you'd better pick a Black of Double Black label off the shelf.

You cannot call this a bad whisky. Certainly not if you take the price into account. Paying more than € 17 would be considered a bamboozle. But there are plenty more bang for the buck whiskies than this. I put it in the same category as the typical pub white wines. Serve and drink without pretensions.