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Jack Daniel’s vs Johnnie Walker Whiskey Compared (2022)

Last Updated on November 11, 2022 by Lydia Martin

The battle for worldwide supremacy in distilled spirits industry comes from two prominent brands – Jack Daniel’s and Johnnie Walker.

They’re both best-selling whiskey brands globally, but how do they differ?

Let’s break down these brands and explore the differences in their histories, production processes, tasting notes, prices, and availability to see which is a great value for money. 

If you’re stuck between Jack Daniel’s vs Johnnie Walker, this is for you. Read on.     

Johnnie Walker & Jack Daniel’s In-Depth Comparison 

Johnnie Walker Black Label is a very versatile whisky. The Black Label is an excellent sipper, which only needs a drop of water to boost its full potential. 

One of the Black Label’s biggest strengths is its 12-year-old age statement at a very affordable price.

Plus, it comes from a very prominent distillery based in Europe. 

In comparison, Jack Daniel’s whiskey is an excellent base for making cocktails, which also comes from a well-known distillery in the US.

Given its flavor profile and character, it is cheaper than its most counterparts. 

It’s considered a standard American whiskey comparable to Crown Royal Canadian whisky and Jim Beam White Label.  

Main Differences 

History & Origin

copper stills

Johnnie Walker traces back to John Walker and his son Alexander Walker.

After John Walker died in 1857, his son, Alexander, continued blending the new Scotch whisky style. 

Over time, it expanded by acquiring some distilleries until it made Johnnie Walker spirits sensational worldwide. 

On the other hand, Jack Daniel’s history starts with Jack Daniel, who built the distillery in 1875.

He learned the process of distilling from Nearest Green, a formerly enslaved Black person.  

They worked together until 1956 when Brown-Forman Company acquired the distillery.

They made the Jack Daniel’s brand popular today using the Lincoln County Process.  

Production & Distillation 

Bourbon and Tennessee spirits have similar requirements when it comes to the amount of grain bill to be used in the mash. 

So, Jack Daniel’s, as a Tennessee whiskey, contains a mash bill of 80% corn, 12% barley, and 8% rye, bottled at 80-proof. It’s also a sour mash whiskey due to its 80% corn content. 

Meanwhile, Johnnie Walker is a Scotch blended whisky that uses 100% barley (malted), and grain whiskies typically made with wheat or corn.

Since it’s a blended Scotch, it features some malted barley for its enzymatic conversion and is bottled at 80-proof. 

Maturation & Age Statement

close up shot of johnnie walker bottle label

For Johnnie Walker Black Label, the barrels used for maturation are oak, matured for 12 years.

Since no specific type of oak is required, most of the barrels used during the maturation process are used for American whiskey. 

Other barrels used include port barrels, French Limousin oak, and sherry butts. The Johnnie Walker Black Label carries a 12-year age statement. 

Jack Daniel’s has the same maturation process [1] as bourbon. It is aged in new American oak barrels, but a Tennessee whiskey goes through the Lincoln County Process. 

This involves using sugar maple charcoal to filter the whiskey before it’s placed into the wooden barrels, then aged for at least three years. 

Whisky vs Whiskey

Scotch whiskies, like Johnnie Walker Black Label, are only produced in Scotland.

Since Scotch spirits are single malt whiskies, it is only made with malted barley and water. It is then aged in oak casks for a minimum of three years.

A Tennessee whiskey, like Jack Daniel’s, is only produced in the US, aged using new charred oak barrels.

Its ingredient differs from Scotch, as whiskey uses malted grain ingredients like rye, wheat, barley, and corn. 

Tasting Notes 

hand holding whisky glass

Johnnie Walker Black Label Scotch Whisky

  • Palate: Charcoal and peat notes with malty and sweet wheat, vanilla, honey, cherries, tobacco, leather, and almonds
  • Color/Hue: Deep gold 
  • Nose: Aromas of peat, tobacco, leather, floral rose, and toasted oak notes 
  • Finish: Long-lasting peat tones with hints of tobacco, cherries, cinnamon, vanilla, and leather 

Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey

  • Palate: Spicy black pepper taste with clove tones
  • Color/Hue: Golden-amber
  • Nose: Smells sugar maple charcoal and oak with buttery caramel and pine notes
  • Finish: Spicy finish with a long-lasting cherry, black pepper, and pecan spice  

Originating Region 

Jack Daniel’s spirits are crafted at Jack Daniel’s Distillery situated in Lynchburg, Tennessee.

Their facility uses six columns – four 54 inches columns and two 72 inches column stills. 

The grain whisky of Johnnie Walker Black Label is produced mainly at the Cameron Bridge Distillery – the largest in Europe. 

Then, their malted whiskies are crafted at 28 single malts distilleries within Diageo PLC’s portfolio, including Caol Ila, Lagavulin, Glen Spey, Glen Elgin, and so on.    

Product Line-Up & Availability

Jack Daniel’s vs Johnnie Walker products are on par since most of their variants are easily available worldwide. You can find them in any grocery shop, liquor store, or online store. 

The Johnnie Walker Red Label, Johnnie Walker Black Label, Johnnie Walker Blue Label, Johnnie Walker Green Label, and Jack Daniel’s Rye are among the very popular spirits today. 

Johnnie Walker Black Label is regarded as a premium brand of Scottish whiskey.

It levels with the Japanese whisky Hibiki, Chivas Regal, Dimple Pinch, Woodford Reserve, and Knob Creek.

Fun Fact: Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7 (Black Label Recipe) Tennessee whiskey is the top spirit expression sold globally. 

Meanwhile, the Johnnie Walker’s Scotch whisky line takes the worldwide combined sales title for the overall No. 1 whisky brand. 

“Too much of anything is bad, but too much good whiskey is barely enough.”

– Mark Twain

Ownership & Distillery

Jack Daniel's Bottle

Jack Daniel’s is crafted by Brown-Forman, a Kentucky-based drinks manufacturer.

Johnnie Walker is crafted by Diageo PLC, the largest distilled spirits maker worldwide. 

Price & Value

The suggested retail price for a 750ml bottle of Johnnie Walker Black Label blended Scotch is around $39.99, while Jack Daniel’s Tennessee whiskey is around $23.99.

FAQs

Is Johnnie Walker a better sipper than Jack Daniel’s?

Yes, Johnnie Walker is a better sipper than Jack Daniel’s, particularly the Black Label. Its flavor profile and character are great to sip alone. 

Jack Daniel’s is a great cocktail mixer, perfect with ginger ale, lemonade, and other tasty cocktails.  

Does Jack Daniel’s give more hangovers than Johnnie Walker?

Jack Daniel’s can give more hangover than Johnnie Walker if you drink too much.

Both these spirits have the same alcohol-proof [2] range, so they can give almost the same amount of hangover.  

Final Thoughts 

Jack Daniel’s is a Tennessee whiskey, while Johnnie Walker is a Scotch whisky.

They undergo distinct production processes using different mash bills but share the same 40% ABV and have their own colorful history. 

Although Jack Daniel’s is a decent option, Johnnie Walker has the edge in this battle. It’s versatile and aged well. 

Besides the flavor profile, its age statement is really to eye for – at an affordable price.  

References:

  1. https://www.britannica.com/topic/distilled-spirit/Maturation-blending-and-packaging 
  2. https://www.britannica.com/story/why-is-alcohol-measured-by-proof 

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