Johnnie Walker is well known for its premium blended whiskey, and the brand released different expressions categorized as Red Label, Blue Label, and Black Label.
We’ve been receiving requests to compare the two most popular black labels from Johnnie Walker, so here’s our take on Johnnie Walker Black vs Double Black.
Johnnie Walker Black & Double Black Comparison
Johnnie Walker is a scotch whisky brand from Scotland, and it has been in the booze venture since 1865. With over 157 years of experience and tradition, Johnnie Walker has established a great reputation in the liquor world for producing high-quality blended whisky.
Johnnie Walker Black Label and Johnnie Walker Double Black are two of the most prominent black labels in the world. The two spirits have a fair share of differences, and we will give you comprehensive details on the two starting from history, production process, flavor profiles to the price point.
Johnnie Walker Black Label carries a 12-year age statement, and it was launched in 1909. And while Johnnie Walker’s Double Black Label does not carry an age statement, its renaissance began in the 2000s and was launched internationally in 2011.
For over a century and a half, Johnnie Walker had many iterations, from its first produced blended scotch whisky bottle- Walker’s Old Highland, to various expressions of blended whiskies we all enjoy until today.
Bearing its age statement, Black is matured in ex-bourbon barrels for a minimum of 12 years. On the other hand, Johnie Walker Double Black is matured in heavily charred oak barrels for an undisclosed time. Also, upon maturation, it uses a higher proportion of Island whisky and Scottish West Coast to elevate its intensity.
Black Label is aged the way all standard Scotch whiskies- matured for not less than three years in oak casks . However, Johnnie Walker Double Black contains a mix of peated whiskey. The compounds give a smoky flavor released by peat fires that dry malted barley.
Johnnie Walker Black Label and Johnnie Walker Double Black Label are made from the same whiskeys, so they have similarities in mash bills. However, based on Master Blender Jim Dr. Jim Beveridge, they have different proportions.
Black Label uses 40 whiskies from Highland Malts, Smoky Islands, Scotland, West and East Coast, and Speyside. The latter uses the same whiskies but with a higher proportion of Scottish West Coast whiskies.
Johnnie Walker Double Black Label is created using Black Label, but it has a signature taste from the added younger Islay whiskies that produce a bold-blended Scotch whisky.
In Johnnie Walker Black Label vs Double Black Label, a notable difference is the notes of each spirit. Johnnie Walker Black has floral notes, honey, toasted oak, vanilla, red berries, tobacco, subtle peat smoke, spice aromas, raisins, malt, and leather.
On the contrary, Double Black has notes of medicinal creosote peat, leather, malt, barrel char, rich peaty smoke, raisins, iodine, and earthy notes.
All in all, in Johnnie Walker Black Label vs Double Black, Double Black is more smoky, courtesy of extra peat and smoked malt. But what does whiskey smell like?
The two spirits have the same alcohol strength. Black Label has a long finish of sweetness, honey, smoke, and a touch of menthol and vanilla. If you inhale it deeply after sipping, there’s a reminiscent of clove cigarette and has a smooth and lingering peat finish.
On the other hand, Double Black has an oaky and warm finish with tannins, rich peat, and smokiness because of its aging process in heavily charred barrels. The finish builds up slowly, and it has end notes of pepper spice, citrus, and malt.
Another noticeable difference between the two spirits is the tasting notes of the whiskies because Black Label is an easy-drinking whisky, and it has subtle peat. Black Label has more fruity tasting notes and is slightly spicier, while Double Black is bolder, more luxurious, and vibrant.
Black Label is sweet and smooth like creamy toffee with cereal, vanilla, and spice; however, Double Black starts with spice and then overflowing smoke. While it is smoky, it has subtle hints of honey sweetness that are pleasing to taste.
Double Black is housed in the translucent black bottle, while Black Label comes in a clear bottle, so to check its color difference, we used a clear glass. The two aged whiskies have a golden caramel color, but Johnnie Walker Black Label whisky has a lighter shade and polished amber. Double Black has hints of copper and red when pouring it in clear glass. Check out all Johnnie Walker colors here.
Pairs Well With
Black Label whisky is best paired with roasted pork or cheese platter, while Double Black pairs well with smoked leg of lamb, rump steak, or Blue Cheese. Hearty meats like roasted pork can stand the intensity and subtle sweetness of Johnnie Walker Black Label.
How You Drink It
Black label whisky is best for easy drinking, so most people consume it neat or with a splash of water. Some drinkers prefer it for cocktails, which is evident because there are tons of cocktail recipes for Johnnie Walker Black Label.
However, Double Black is ideal for drinking neat or with drops of water because water helps open the whisky flavor. You will experience the intense flavor, nutty, sweet taste, and rich smoky blend of the whisky if you consume it neat.
Double Black Label whisky is more expensive than Black because of its ingredients, production process, and luxurious taste. A 750 mL of Black costs around $29.99 to $32.99, while Double runs from $41.99 to $46.99 per 750 mL.
Can you mix Johnnie Walker Black with Coke?
Yes, you can mix Johnnie Walker Black with Coke. It is a famous soda cocktail because it is easy to make.
How do you serve Johnnie Walker Double Black?
Pouring an ounce of whisky straight into a glass from the bottle is the best way to serve the Johnnie Walker Double Black. The intense flavor of the whisky is pleasant to the nose and palate and is best consumed neat.
Which is smoother, Johnnie Walker Black or Double Black?
Johnnie Walker Black is smoother than Double Black. Black Label is an easy-drinking whisky known for its smoothness, while Double Black is known for its strong and bold taste.
Johnnie Walker Black and Double Black by John Walker are two best-selling whiskies from the brand because it is easy to drink – rich, slightly sweet, and warm. The two scotch whiskeys from Scotland have their own identity, noticeable in appearance, smell, and taste.
We hope our take on Johnnie Walker Black vs Double Black steers clear your confusion on both distilled spirits.
Lydia Martin hails from Redmond, Washington, where you’ll find some of the best cocktail bars and distilleries that offer a great mix of local drinks. She used to work as a bar manager in Paris and is a self-taught mixologist whose passion for crafting unique cocktails led her to create Liquor Laboratory. Lydia can whip up a mean Margarita in seconds!