Price Point: $20 – $30 for 750 ML
It’s amazing what marketing can do. Bad marketing can turn superior products into inferior products. Good marketing can do just the opposite. Of course, the ideas of “superior” and “inferior” are entirely subjective, so of course everything written below is entirely my opinion.
That said, Johnnie Walker is one of those products with great marketing, but not such a great product. It’s a blended Scotch whisky, lacking the body and complexity of a single malt.
At the end of my final semester of college, a group of students in one of my classes were discussing a gift for our professor. A bottle of Johnnie Walker quickly became one of the front-runners and, being the novice at the time, I fully endorsed this idea. So basically a bunch of twenty-something year old college students assumed that a bottle of Johnnie Walker would be a suitable gift for a professor who enjoyed Scotch. In hindsight, I’m pretty glad we never followed through on the idea.
Red Label’s nose is just plain bad. It smells thin, with little to no interesting aromas present.
The taste is watery; like it’s been pre-diluted more than just the distillers bringing the proof down. There’s a pretty dull blend of unremarkable Scotch qualities in Johnnie Walker Red. A little peat, a little fruit, etc. Other than that, no real recognizable flavors are present, at least none worth mentioning here!
The finish is just about as exciting as the nose and taste.
Rating & Recommendations
I’m not at all impressed with Johnnie Walker Red Label. I rate it a 62 out of 100.
One of the beautiful things about whiskey is that even the bad brands serve a purpose. You can enjoy Johnnie Walker Red as a refreshment on ice, or even as a guinea pig for cocktail experimentation.
If commercials and uninformed word-of-mouth have influenced you to view Johnnie Walker as a premium whisky, you clearly haven’t had enough experience!