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Johnnie Walker Black vs Double Black Whisky (2023 Updated)

Johnnie Walker Black vs Double Black Whiskey

Last Updated on March 27, 2024 by Lydia Martin

Johnnie Walker is well known for its premium blended whisky, 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 Black & Double Black

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. 

Key Differences 

Key Differences 

History

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. 

Maturation Process

charred oak barrels

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 [1].

However, Johnnie Walker Double Black contains a mix of peated whisky. The compounds give a smoky flavor released by peat fires that dry malted barley.

Mash Bills

Johnnie Walker Black Label and Johnnie Walker Double Black Label are made from the same whiskies, 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. 

Flavor Notes

Nose

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 whisky smell like?

Finish

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. 

Read: Johnnie Walker Whisky vs Jack Daniel’s

Palate

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 more 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. 

Read: Johnnie Walker Black & Red Labels Compared

Color

Johnnie Walker Double Black

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

roasted pork

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. 

Read: Should You Chill Whisky?

Price Point

US Dollar

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.  

Read: Johnnie Walker Black & Blue Compared

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

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. 

Is Johnnie Walker Double Black better than Black Label?

The preference between Johnnie Walker Double Black and Black Label is subjective and depends on individual taste. Johnnie Walker Double Black is known for its smokier and more intense flavor profile compared to the classic Black Label. If you enjoy a richer and peatier Scotch, Double Black may be preferable.

Which is more expensive, Double Black or Black Label?

Pricing can vary by location and market conditions, but generally, Johnnie Walker Double Black is often priced slightly higher than Black Label. The increased cost may be attributed to the additional aging and unique character found in Double Black.

What is the meaning of Double Black Johnnie Walker?

Johnnie Walker Double Black is a blended Scotch whisky that takes inspiration from the iconic Johnnie Walker Black Label. The “Double Black” name suggests a bolder and smokier expression, achieved through a higher proportion of whiskies aged in heavily charred oak barrels, imparting a deep and intense flavor.

Which is better, Double Black or Gold Label?

The choice between Double Black and Gold Label depends on personal preferences. Johnnie Walker Double Black is known for its smokier and more robust character, while Gold Label is recognized for its balanced and luxurious profile. If you prefer a peatier Scotch, Double Black may be preferred, while Gold Label is often appreciated for its smoothness and complexity.

How do you drink Black Label or Double Black?

Both Johnnie Walker Black Label and Double Black can be enjoyed neat, on the rocks, or in various cocktails. Neat or on the rocks allows you to savor the complex flavors, while cocktails like the classic Scotch and soda or a Whisky Sour can highlight the whiskies’ unique characteristics. Experimenting with different serving styles helps discover the preferred way to enjoy these premium Scotch whiskies.

What is best to drink Black Label?

Johnnie Walker Black Label is versatile and can be enjoyed neat, on the rocks, or in various cocktails. Popular choices include the classic Scotch and soda, Whisky Sour, or a simple Black Label and ginger ale. The best way to drink it ultimately depends on individual preferences and desired flavors.

Which is better, Chivas Regal or Black Label?

The preference between Chivas Regal and Johnnie Walker Black Label is subjective and varies based on individual taste. Chivas Regal is known for its smooth and mellow profile, while Black Label offers a more robust and complex flavor, including smoky notes. Both are reputable Scotch whiskies, and the choice depends on personal preferences.

Which is the cheapest Johnnie Walker?

Johnnie Walker Red Label is typically the most affordable among the Johnnie Walker expressions. It is a blended Scotch whisky with a lighter profile compared to the brand’s more aged and premium offerings.

Which is better, Red Label or Double Black?

The choice between Red Label and Double Black depends on individual taste preferences. Johnnie Walker Red Label is a lighter and more accessible blended Scotch, while Double Black offers a smokier and more intense flavor profile. Double Black is considered a more premium expression and is priced accordingly.

How many years aged is Johnnie Walker Double Black?

Johnnie Walker Double Black does not carry an age statement, indicating that it is a blended Scotch whisky crafted with a combination of whiskies of varying ages. The focus is on creating a bold and smoky flavor through the selection of specific casks and a higher proportion of heavily charred barrels.

Final Thoughts: Johnnie Walker Black Vs Double Black

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 whiskies 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. 

Reference: 

  1. The Scotch Whiskey Regulations 2009
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