Johnnie Walker Red Label

Johnnie Walker Red Label 1

Here’s my penance for ripping off /u/tintin777 in a whisky review series. Dammit.

Alright, I’m not going to lie: There are some Johnnie Walker products I have enjoyed, and others I’ve been pretty meh about. And even the ones I loved, I didn’t go too nuts for them.

As a marketer (yes I’m Satan) I full love what Johnnie Walker has done. Hot damn have they played the game and played it as hard as a calcified shit in winter. Not arguments there.

However I usually shy away from Johnnie Walker Red Label. I treat it like a stop light for whisky. Or a sign that I’m becoming an alcoholic if I ‘need’ a drink.

That said, people will defend this whisky as a good mixing whisky and as Churchill’s favourite whisky. I can’t really blame people for mixing it. Different strokes for different folks.

However after trying a dusty from Dewar’s, I’d wager 1940s Johnnie Walker Red Label tasted better than current day. And I’d also wager that basing tasting notes on a man who used to drink a liter of Martinis before noon and was known as a good speaker, not a whisky reviewer, is a horrible idea. What next? Listening to actors about medical concerns or listening to athletes about animal care?

Let’s see how this tastes. Maybe it’s alright.

Johnnie Walker Red Label 2

Price: $29.95 (CAD) at the LCBO

Region: Blend

Abv: 40%

Colour: Bronze

Nose: Moldy peaches, alcohol, wheat, grass

That initial blast of mold reminds me of living in our first house in university. That’s a bad memory. Eventually it just smells like what happened when I forgot we bought peaches and didn’t open the fruit crisper for awhile.

It smells bad is what I’m saying.

Taste: Corn, burning plastic, malt, lemon

Okay, there’s parts here that aren’t bad. The malt, corn, and lemon remind me of a cheap bourbon.

Too bad the burning plastic is acrid and bad. Eventually it becomes milder and eventually the whole thing tastes like water.

Finish: Smoke, burnt dust, toast, cheap marmalade

I want the finish to end soon so I can drink something else.

Conclusion: The finish never really ended. It actually made me stop drinking for the night. I had another review, the last in the Blender Series, and I actually didn’t want to drink anymore.

This should be handed out by MADD to stop people from drinking. That said, it’s not as horrid as other whiskies I’ve had, oddly enough. Sure, there’s a lot of bad notes. Yet somehow there’s also some good notes as well, or neutral ones. So while I can spin a good yarn and say this sucks donkey’s balls, I can’t drop the score lower than, say, Orangerie, or Crown Royal Deluxe.


Scotch reviews #270, Blend reviews #31, Whisky Network review #403

1001 Whiskies to taste before you die review #196


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