Johnnie Walker is a Scotch whisky that was developed near the beginning of the 19th century. Today it is the best-selling brand of Scotch, a spirit with a relatively high number of producers due to its age and established popularity.
All Scotch whiskies are, as suggested by the name, produced in Scotland. They have to adhere to a complex web of guidelines in order to earn the name of “scotch”, and are divided into one of five categories depending on the ingredients used to make them, but for the most part, you can usually characterize them as being of malt or grain.
While Johnnie Walker produces a wide range of whiskies, they are a blend of both grain and malt. The grain is mostly barley, but the rules do allow for other types of grains to be fermented to make the spirit, such as rye or wheat. Malt, a mysterious word heard often in the Scotch world, just means barley that is dried using a process known as “malting.”
While Johnnie Walker has always been popular, it’s been losing some ground lately to other brands. To combat this, the brand has started to make some significant pushes in marketing. In 2018, they released special-edition Jane Walker bottle and they intend to release another later in the year on the heels of the last season of Game of Thrones.
Johnnie Walker Whisky Prices
The definition of Scotch is strictly controlled by laws in the country, which means that it must meet certain requirements that drive up the price.
One of the most important requisites for carrying the Scotch name is that whisky must be aged in an oak cask for three or more years. This means that you won’t get a budget option as you would with vodka. The cheapest of scotch whiskies cost over $20.00 for a 750 mL bottle.
As far as the price goes, the longer something has been sitting in the cask, the better it will taste, which means that these companies can charge a hefty premium for aged whisky. Johnnie Walker has a diverse range of prices, with older whiskies going for more.
Here is the list of average prices for the company’s spirits:
Johnnie Walker Red Label Blended Scotch Whisky
$22.99 - $24.99
Johnnie Walker Black Label Blended Scotch Whisky
$29.99 - $32.99
Johnnie Walker Double Black Blended Scotch Whisky
$41.99 - $44.99
Johnnie Walker Green Label
$59.99 - $69.99
Johnnie Walker Gold Label Reserve Blended Scotch Whisky
$79.99 - $89.99
Johnnie Walker Aged 18 Years
$189.99 - $209.99
Johnnie Walker Blue Label Blended Scotch Whisky
$150.00 - $180.99
Let’s walk through some of the offerings at different prices ranges:
Johnnie Walker Red
The “Red Label,” as it is usually called (most of the brand’s different drinks are named after colors, which are the same as those of the bottle label), is considered the basic version of the Scotch.
The drink itself is a honey-colored blend of grain and malt whiskies from different distilleries. It’s mainly recommended to be used as a mixer because the taste isn’t as good as that of the other labels.
That being said, at around $23.00 for 750 ml, it’s the cheapest option on this list. This is about the same price as a reputable Irish whiskey, such as Jameson, but it’s more expensive than basic models for other Scotch brands, such as the bare Ballantine's Finest, which you can find for around $20.00 in some places.
Johnnie Walker Green Label
The Green Label is the next major step up in terms of price, quality, and taste. This one will typically cost you around $60.00 for the 750 mL bottle, which makes it double the cost of the red version.
This variant is a blend that is guaranteed to be composed of 15-year-old whiskies. The Red Label, by comparison, usually uses casks of the drink aged between 3 and 10.
With the assumption that whisky aged longer is of a better taste, we can compare this brand with other 15-year-olds. Dalwhinnie 15 Year Old Whisky is one competitor, which is cheaper by about $15.00 on average for the same quantity. Glenfiddich 15 is a more direct alternative, as the price is about the same or slightly higher on average than Johnnie Walker’s Green.
Johnnie Walker Blue Label
The Blue Label is the most expensive product sold under the Johnnie Walker name.
As with all of the whiskies under this brand, this is a blend of several different whiskies with different ages and from different distilleries. The packaging makes no mention of the ages combined here, being that it can cost more than $200.00, the claim sometimes made that the spirits have been sitting in the casks for up to 40 years in some cases is credible.
Common Recipes: What to Mix with Johnnie Walker
Frequent drinkers of Scotch will often claim that the best way to enjoy the drink is simple to sip it with nothing more than a few ice cubes inside of a glass. Nevertheless, many cocktails have been invented for Johnnie Walker, especially recommended for drinking with the relatively cheaper Red Label.
The Rusty Nail
This drink is for lovers of the taste of Scotch, as it includes both the Scottish whisky itself and drambuie, which is a powerful liqueur made of Scotch that still manages to keep 40% alcohol by volume. Mix the following into an old-fashioned glass with a lot of ice -
The Blood and Sand
This cocktail combines the taste of Scotch with that of fruit, as it is made with orange juice. Experts recommend squeezing the juice out of the oranges yourself, rather than using the store-bought stuff and using a smooth whisky which is not smokey, but it’s all a matter of personal taste. Combine the following in a cocktail glass:
Much like the rusty nail, The Godfather is a simple combination of Scotch, liqueur, and ice in a glass. This is an attestation to the general love people have for the taste of Scotch without the need to add too much to it. Combine the following ingredients in an old-fashioned glass with a generous amount of ice:
Blended vs. Single Scotch
Scotch Whisky can be blended or single. “Blended” means that it is combined from whiskies from different distilleries, whereas “single” means that it comes from a single distillery.
Single malts are considered to be superior to blends, but in reality there’s little difference. A blend is said to have a “smoother” taste because different liquids are combined to make it, whereas a single can have a stronger, sometimes described as “sharper”, taste.
Because of this, single scotches are usually more expensive. While Johnnie Walker is a blended whiskey, though, it has certain options that could be even more expensive than singles - namely the blue label.