Johnnie Walker Red Label Old Scotch Whisky (Blended)
40% ABV, 80 Proof
$20-25, Available Everywhere
What The Distillery (Blender) Says:
Johnnie Walker Red Label is a rich, full-bodied blend of up to 35 of the finest aged single malt and grain whiskies. Bursting with character and flavor, it’s the favorite of millions of people all over the world.
Its vibrancy makes it perfect for mixing – something few other spirits can do without losing their true character.
Red Label was first unveiled in 1906 by Alexander Walker as a powerful combination of spicy, smoky malts and lingering, lighter grains. He called it “Special Old Highland Whisky.” In 1909, Alexander renamed it “Johnnie Walker Red Label” in deference to his consumers who were already using “Red Label” as shorthand when ordering the brand.
What Richard Says:
Nose: Apples and caramel. Kind of like the candied apples you get at the county fair but not quite. With water the nose opens up a slightly woodier character.
Palate: Wow, this stuff is really boring. It’s nearly flavorless. There are hints of tobacco and wood but they are the faintest hints and then they’re gone. JW Red doesn’t really taste bad, it just doesn’t have much of a taste at all.
Finish: Relatively smooth (I would hope so with a palate that dull). There is a little burn on the sides of the tongue and it leaves the mouth tasting medicinal.
Comments: Scotch for the young’uns who just want to get drunk. A mixer to add alcohol content to something else. Not really worth your time.
Rating: Probably Pass
What Matt Says:
Nose: Smoke, leather, nail polish remover, caramel and vanilla. Turns sour with water (smells like hangover vomit).
Palate: Less burn than Dewar’s White Label, but there is not much here. Smokey (charred oak as opposed to the tobacco in Dewar’s) and a little sour. With water, the texture firms up and some burnt toffee notes open up.
Finish: Nothing on the center of the tongue, but the burn lingers around the edges along with the sourness. Water brings out the toffee notes in the finish as well.
Comments: I enjoy much of Johnnie Walker’s line, but something about the Red Label turns my stomach. Dewar’s White Label is nothing special, but there is nothing stomach churning about it either. If it’s a choice between this and Dewar’s, go with the Dewar’s every time. If this is the only whisky in the house, drink beer or volunteer to be the designated driver.
Rating: Probably Pass
Overall Rating: Probably Pass