Know How Johnnie Walker Black Label Is Different from Johnnie Walker Double Black
Johnnie Walker is a premium blended Scotch whisky brand from the Speyside, and has been in the business of whisky blending since 1865. Over a century and a half of experience and tradition has ensured Johnnie Walker’s great quality and taste to be appreciated far and wide.
Johnnie Walker was established by John Walker, in the town of Kilmarnock in Scotland. Starting out with a grocery store in 1820, John Walker ventured into whisky blending. The whisky blending activities of the Johnnie Walker brand were taken to newer heights by John’s son and grandson, Alexander ‘Alec’ Walker and Alexander Walker II.
The Johnnie Walker brand has a number of aged and no-age-statement blended Scotch whiskies in their inventory. The company follows a practice of naming their expressions based on different colours, such as The Red Label, The Blue Label of which the Johnnie Walker Black Label and Johnnie Walker Double Black are two of the most popular and widely sold expressions.
What constitutes the differences between two of the most iconic and revered expressions from the house of Johnnie Walker? Let’s find out just how different these two are, and when it comes to Black Label Vs Double Black, who prevails?
The chief characteristics that define the distinctive personalities of a particular expression of Scotch whisky are its age, type of barrel, and the resulting tasting notes.
While the Johnnie Walker Black Label has an age-statement of 12 years, the Johnnie Walker Double Black has no-age-statement. Interestingly, the creation of the Johnnie Walker Double Black was based off the existing, and favourite, Johnnie Walker. In a way, the Black Label paved the way for the Double Black by serving as the base blueprint.
While the Black Label is matured the way all standard Scotch whiskies are, in ex-Bourbon Oak barrels for a minimum duration of 12 years, the Johnnie Walker Double Black is finished in heavily charred Oak barrels, and contains a mix of significantly peatier whiskies.
While the Johnnie Walker Black Label has existed for over a century, the Johnnie Walker Double Black is a relatively newer expression and was made available to the masses in 2011.
The Johnnie Walker Black Label Vs Johnnie Walker Double Black discussion also gets interesting when you find that the Black Label is a blend of source whiskies from the four corners of Scotland, combining the malty whiskies of the West Coast with the smoky flavours of the whiskies from the East Coast.
The Double Black too retains the characteristics of the Black Label but carries intensely overwhelming qualities of the West Coast and Islay whiskies to make up a truly complex drink.
The tasting notes on the Johnnie Walker Black Label carry the following characteristics;
Smoky, slightly peaty with aromas of spice, raisins and malt.
A rich palate with intense infusions of vanilla, orange zest and sweetness.
A smooth and lingering finish with a touch of peat.
The tasting notes of the Johnnie Walker Double Black carry the following characteristics;
The contribution of West Coast and Islay whiskies is apparent with aromas of peaty smoke, followed by hints of rich raisins.
Charred wood, honey, rich fruits followed by traces of sweet vanilla and spices.
A warm finish that brings about an oaky finish with smokiness and tannins.
Both expressions, the Johnnie Walker Black Label and the Johnnie Walker Double Black have an alcohol strength of 40% ABV (80 US Proof).
There isn’t much to say about the superior choice between the two as preferences are highly subjective, but in our opinion, for people who prefer aged whiskies that aren’t too intense but carry a well-rounded flavour profile and smoothness, the Johnnie Walker Black Label is an ideal choice.
Whereas if you prefer to go for complex, different and rich blended whiskies, and disregard age-statements, the Double Black will surprise you with its pleasant flavours and smoky profile.