Johnnie Walker Red Label Scotch – Review

Johnnie Walker Red Label Blended ScotchJohnnie Walker Red Label Blended Scotch Whisky

80 Proof

Price Point: $20 – $30 for 750 ML

Distiller: John Walker & Sons Limited



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!




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  1. I’m not sure if my bottle ever got as empty as the one in your picture. I tried several nights to give it a chance – really – and even tried mixing it, but it ended up down the drain 😛

    If you haven’t had Black Label, that really is a big step up. Though, I might not go as far as to say I recommend it.

    1. It’s definitely mediocre at best. I wouldn’t pour it down the drain, but I wouldn’t offer it to a good friend, haha!

      I have had Black Label and I like it, but it still doesn’t quite do it for me. Even Double Black is a step below most single malts in my opinion.


    • TW Lewis on October 16, 2012 at 5:44 pm
    • Reply

    The black is some what better than the red, but its still a “wanna be” scotch for people who dont really drink scotch and try to impress others. Even on a budget this is pretty bad stuff, treat yourself to a quality drink.

    • John on March 16, 2013 at 9:37 pm
    • Reply

    Lets think about this, johnnie walker sells all labels, 16.2 million cases a year, 8 million in red alone, about 4 million in black, the remainder other colors, I think Ryan you are on loosing end of your review, the closest to johnnie walker is ballantines , in the u.s total bourbon production sold is 13. Something cases, and scotch malts are only numbered in hundred of thousands, so taste sells quite well.

    1. Hi John.

      I never said that Johnnie Walker doesn’t sell. I even went as far as to say that they have great marketing. But sales volume doesn’t equal quality or taste.

      Thanks for the comment.


    • John on December 9, 2016 at 2:16 pm
    • Reply

    This shit is nasty and I would know because I’ve had a lot of gross shit in my mouth lol. Seriously, it tastes like a doctor’s office.

    • Crazy Dave on September 23, 2020 at 8:06 pm
    • Reply

    But it’s the single most popular scotch in the world! (Paraphrasing Monty Python!)

  1. […] really not into blends.  Take my review of Johnnie Walker Red, for example.  I truly believe that often, you’re paying for the label not the whiskey. […]

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