Johnnie Walker: The Whiskey Colors Explained

by Libation Staff | Last Updated: August 29, 2021

Walk into any liquor store and you’re going to see a lot of Johnnie Walker on the shelves. This Scottish whiskey is the top-selling whiskey on the market–which isn’t surprising as it’s been around for over 200 years.

A brand doesn’t stay relevant if it doesn’t have a great marketing team and more importantly, it is a great product. Johnnie Walker has both of these in their favor. 

If you’re unfamiliar with Scotch in general, or Johnnie Walker in particular, you may not know that this iconic liquor comes in a multitude of fancy names, regionalities, and ages. Or, maybe you do know and you start to stare at the bottles with a glazed look, unsure where to start. 

The best way to get to know Johnnie Walker is to pay attention to one thing: its label color. 

Yep, easy as that!

Each label of Johnnie Walker will tell you all you need to know about the bottle in question. If you’re a new Scotch drinker, or you just want to learn more about the most popular whiskey in the world,  keep reading where we’ll explain the colors of Johnnie Walker. 

The Johnnie Walker Lineup: Colors Explained

Before we get into the intricacies of each Johnnie Walker variety, let me first give you a lineup of the current varieties that are out there. This list is of each variety, from the lowest price (or quality) to the highest:

  1. Johnnie Walker Red
  2. Johnnie Walker Black
  3. Johnnie Walker Double Black
  4. Johnnie Walker Green
  5. Johnnie Walker Gold Label Reserve
  6. Johnnie Walker Aged 18 Years
  7. Johnnie Walker Blue

Again, these are the colors of the labels and not the colors of the actual drink. Nobody would be reaching for some green Scotch, I’m sure!

Now, let’s break down each color of Johnnie Walker so you can decide which is right for you. 

Johnnie Walker Red

Johnnie Walker Red is Johnnie Walker’s first blend and was the world’s introduction to the brand. Johnnie Walker Red is a blend of approximately 35 different grains and malts including dark malts from the West Coast of Scotland and some light whiskies from the East. It has an initial spice that mellows into a bed of vanilla and ends with the signature Johnnie Walker smokiness.

The cheapest variety, Johnnie Walker Red retails for $29.95 a bottle.

Johnnie Walker Black

Johnnie Walker Black is the benchmark blend for all deluxe blended Scotch. This version is created using only whiskies from all over Scotland that are aged a minimum of 12 years–making it a 12-year old Scotch Whiskey.

JW Black is smooth and deep, with a caramel and vanilla flavor that allows you to taste a bit of spice and smoke. You can drink this version in a mixed drink, but it is just as good alone. 

Johnnie Walker Black retails for $50.95 a bottle. 

Johnnie Walker Double Black

Johnnie Walker Double Black is a newer variety in the Johnnie Walker universe. Very similar to the Black label, the Double Black has a full-body, is peatier, and has more charred cask aged whiskey added into the blend in addition to a spicy and smoky flavor. 

While prices can change and vary by region, this guy will set you back at about $69.90 per bottle. 

Johnnie Walker Green

Johnnie Walker Green is a blend of premium single malt whiskies from the four regions of Scotland. These include: 

Johnnie Walker Green, and all the whiskies used in the blend, have been aged a minimum of 15 years. When this rarer version of Scotch hits your palate, you’ll notice the flavors of freshly cut grass, wood smoke, vanilla, fresh fruit, and sandalwood.

If you can find Johnnie Walker Green in your market, it will cost $79.95

Johnnie Walker Gold Label Reserve

Johnnie Walker claims that their Johnnie Walker Gold Label Reserve has only been in production since the late 1990s. There are 15 different whiskies in this luxurious blend. It will hit your palate smoothly and give you sweet notes of dark fruits, caramel, and vanilla, with just a hint of smoke, honey, and blossom. 

Johnnie Walker Gold Label Reserve will hit the wallet for $109.45 and is well worth every single penny. 

Johnnie Walker Aged 18 Years

The brains behind Johnnie Walker made a delicious blend when they started blending Johnnie Walker Aged 18 years. Both classic and contemporary, a glass of this blend of whiskies that have been aged at least 18 years, is a wonderful combination of almonds, citrus, warm vanilla, and tangerine. This is a hard-to-find whiskey you would save for special occasions because of its hefty price tag of around $133.00.

Johnnie Walker Blue

Only the rarest and most exquisite whiskies are used to make Johnnie Walker Blue. The distiller, who must be a Master, will pick and choose only the best whiskies to make this variety taste like the finest heritage whiskey from around the turn of the 19th century.

The Blue Label was introduced in 1992 and has some older and younger whiskies present and will give you flavors of sandalwood and linseed oil while providing a smooth, complex taste. 

Johnnie Walker Blue is the priciest bottle of Johnnie Walker, retailing at $289.95. 

Final Thoughts on the Colors of Johnnie Walker

Scotch is a delicious liquor for those that are looking for a distinguished drink. These 7 varieties of Johnnie Walker are the backbone of the Johnnie Walker brand, however, since 2011, they’ve been working on new labels–thus new flavors. 

It doesn’t matter what color of Johnnie Walker you choose, you’re going to enjoy it. So, look at your budget and decide which Johnnie Walker will fit your situation best, and get yourself a bottle. 

Now, go enjoy!