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Johnnie Walker Showdown: Black Label vs Gold Label

April 14, 2023
2 mins read

Key Takeaways:

  • Johnnie Walker Black Label offers a good balance of smoke and sweetness, serving as an introduction to peated whisky.
  • Gold Label is a smoother, easier-to-drink blend, making it more suitable for new whisky drinkers.
  • Black Label is a more affordable option, while Gold Label’s higher price may deter some consumers.


The debate between Johnnie Walker Black Label and Gold Label has been a long-standing topic among whisky enthusiasts. Both blends have their unique characteristics and appeal to different types of drinkers. In this article, we will dive into the nuances of each blend and help you decide which one is the better choice for your palate.

Johnnie Walker Black Label: A Reliable and Balanced Blend

Flavor Profile

Johnnie Walker Black Label presents a well-balanced flavor profile with a pleasant mix of smoke and sweetness. On the nose, you’ll detect notes of vanilla, citrus zest, and nectarine. The palate is dominated by peat smoke, roasted malt, caramel, and vanilla, while the finish is long, fruity, peppery, and smoky.

Quality and Value

As a blend of 40 whiskies aged for at least 12 years, Black Label offers a quality, age-statement blend at an affordable price. Its wide range of flavor profiles, including peaty whiskies from Islay, sweet and salty whiskies from Speyside, and malts from the Scottish Highlands, make it an excellent choice for those new to peated whisky.

Johnnie Walker Gold Label: Smooth and Refined

Flavor Profile

The Gold Label blend is characterized by its smooth and sweet flavor profile. The nose reveals hints of alcohol, honey, caramel, and nutmeg, which fade after allowing the whisky to breathe. The palate showcases honey, vanilla, and light smoke, while the finish is rich in oak and honey with a touch of warmth and a slightly bitter hint.

Quality and Value

Introduced in 2013 as a replacement for the discontinued Johnnie Walker 18, Gold Label is a blend of various grain and single malt whiskies from across Scotland. Despite lacking an age statement, Gold Label is known for its smoothness and refined taste. However, it comes at a higher price compared to Black Label, which may be a deterrent for some consumers, especially considering that there are better single malt whiskies available at similar price points.

Black Label vs Gold Label: The Verdict

When comparing Johnnie Walker Black Label and Gold Label, personal preferences play a significant role in determining which blend is better suited for you. If you’re new to whisky and prefer a smoother, easier-to-drink blend, Gold Label may be the right choice. However, keep in mind that its higher price may not necessarily translate to a superior experience.

On the other hand, if you’re looking for an affordable, age-statement blend that introduces you to peated whisky, Black Label is an excellent choice. By adding a few drops of water, you can enjoy the complexity of its flavor profile while gradually building your taste for peated whisky.

In conclusion, both Johnnie Walker Black Label and Gold Label offer unique experiences for whisky enthusiasts. The choice ultimately depends on your preferences, budget, and willingness to explore the world of whisky.

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