Johnnie Walker Red Label Scotch Whiskey Review


By Richard Thomas

Rating: D+

I’ll make it through the day
With some help from Johnnie Walker Red
–Elliott Smith

Johnnie Walker Red is the entry-level label of the famous brand, making it the cheapest and most generally available Johnnie Walker whiskey, albeit not the most iconic. Despite its standing at the bottom of the Johnnie Walker ladder, Red Label has been a favorite of many famous, hard-drinking people over the years. Former vice president Dick Cheney is known to be a Red Label lover, and according to author William Manchester, so was Winston Churchill.

This is despite (or perhaps because of) the fact that, according to Johnnie Walker anyway, Red Label is intended for use in mixed drinks. The company says Red Label scotch is fine on its own, but it was made with cocktails or scotch and soda in mind, a fact that ought to be kept in mind when you put it on your liquor shelf.

The Scotch
Johnnie Walker Red dates back to the brand’s Special Old Highland scotch, an early 20th Century product of Johnnie Walker. It is made from a blend of at least 35 different grain and malt whiskeys, and bottled at 80 proof (40% alcohol).

The Red Label’s nose is heavy on the alcohol and has a strong evergreen forest scent, like juniper or pine. Red Label is maltier than Johnnie Walker’s other products, and the flavor has a hot, peppery quality to it, with peat smoke coming on in the finish.

Overall, I must agree that these are qualities that do well when mixed with other flavors, the sort of thing that is the cornerstone of golf clubhouse drinks. I can’t imagine what Winston Churchill saw in mixing it with soda, however.

The Price
Johnnie Walker is usually cheap at the bar, but on the store shelf it often costs between $22 and $25. Sometimes prices run as high as $30, and that is far too high.

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  1. Its like you read my mind! You seem to know so much about this, like you wrote the book in it or something. I think that you can do with a few pics to drive the message home a bit, but other than that, this is great blog. A fantastic read. I’ll definitely be back.

  2. D+…seems a bit harsh to me. I can get Red Label in Dallas for $19 a bottle and it makes for a very nice scotch for regular drinking, I enjoy it very much. I don’t need to have a slug of $35-100 scotch any old time I see fit to drink. Those higher tier drinks are best for special occasions. Red is like a good “table wine” you don’t need to drink something expensive everytime you have a meal.

  3. I have a Red Label Old Scotch Whisky L026715000 2734070 .I had stored in wood cupboard more that 5 years .

    Please advice , whether is it harmful to our health , if drink , it’ll Poison. It caused death,. Is should be throw. After many years power/taste is reduced . stored in Glass bottle, or Plastic Bottle is good or bad.
    for other i.e. Vodka ,Wine, Rum, white mischief etc.

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