I’ve previously reviewed Johnnie Walker Red, Black, and Double Black, so now it’s time to move on the a review of Johnnie Walker Green Label. My goal is to review the whole series and have a blind tasting to figure out which is best. However, that takes quite a little money, so we’ll get to that eventually.
In the meantime, we’re going to cover all there is to know about Johnnie Walker Green Label, the 15 year old blended scotch that retails for ~$60. We’ll touch on some of the basics of Johnnie Walker, do a full review of tasting notes of the Green Label, and compare it to the Johnnie Walker whiskies we’ve already reviewed.
Johnnie Walker Scotch Whisky Overview
Before we get into the specifics of Green Label, let’s talk about Johnnie Walker as a whole. If you know much of anything about whisky, you’ve likely heard of Johnnie Walker. According to Vine Pair, it is the most popular scotch in the world with over 2x more case sales than the next most sold scotch.
John Walker was a grocer in the small town of Kilmarnock, Scotland in the early 1800’s. He began selling spirits after the Excise Act of 1823 loosened laws regarding the production and sale of liquor. Walker was custom blending whisky for his customers, but at the time, spirits only made up a very small portion of his sales.
It was actually illegal to blend malt whisky with grain whisky at this time, too, so Walker was blending malt whiskies with other malt whisky and grain whisky with grain whisky.
Fast forward to 1957 and Alexander Walker had taken over his fathers company following John Walker’s death. More laws and regulations were loosened and by the 1860’s, the Walker’s grocery store was making a vast majority of their money from scotch sales. This was also the time when blending malt and grain whisky was legalized.
Present day, Johnnie Walker is owned by Diageo.
Blended Scotch Whisky
Johnnie Walker became famous for blending scotch whisky. Originally, it was malt with malt and grain with grain. However, following the Spirits Act of 1860, blending malt and grain spirits is what actually popularized Johnnie Walker Scotch Whisky. It is what they are known for to this day. Below is a breakdown of the types of scotch.
Single, in terms of scotch whisky, refers to a single distillery, not a single barrel.
- Single Malt – 100% malted barley, produced at a single distillery.
- Blended Malt – 2 or more single malts from different distilleries blended together.
- Single Grain – Uses malted barley and other cereal grains, produced at a single distillery.
- Blended Grain – 2 or more single grain whiskies from different distilleries blended together.
- Blended – A blend of any number of malt and grain scotch whiskies.
Johnnie Walker Green Label Overview
- Spirit: Blended Malt Scotch Whisky
- Owned By: Diageo
- Distilled By: Talisker Distillery, Linkwood Distillery, Cragganmore Distillery, Caol Ila Distillery, and perhaps others.
- Aged: 15 years
- ABV: 43%, 86 Proof
- Mashbill: 100% malted barley
- Price: $60-70
While Johnnie Walker is known for blending grain and malt whisky, Johnny Walker Green Label is a blend of single malts, the only one like it in their entire lineup.
Johnnie Walker Green Label blends whisky from 4 different regions of Scotland – Speyside, Highlands, Lowlands, and Islay. However, Johnnie Walker only reveals 4 distilleries that are used in their Green Label. Talisker comes from the Isle of Skye in the Highlands, Cragganmore and Linkwood are both from the Speyside region, and Caol Ila is an Islay distillery.
Regions of Scotch & Their Flavor Profile
The array of flavors in scotch are too broad to really categorize based simply off their region, but we can discuss some general notes that are often in certain whiskies of a region.
Speyside is known for more fruity whisky. Light fruits such as apples and pears. These whiskies are often aged in sherry casks that bring in some vanilla, dried fruits, and light nuttiness.
Highlands scotch is also known for being light and fruity. You can also expect some more oak, spice, smoke, and some floral notes as well.
Lowlands whisky is known for being soft and light with more earthen notes and light spice.
Islay is known for producing very peated and smoky whisky. Peat, salt, tobacco, seaweed.
JW Green Label contains whisky from all four of these regions, so we’ll see if we get a little bit of everything in this blend.
Johnnie Walker Green Label Tasting Notes
Okay, let’s jump into the important information. Is Johnnie Walker Green Label good? What does it taste like? Time to pour myself a dram and find out.
Nose: Honey, green apples, peat, pine, salty air. The Islay scotch and peat is definitely most forward on the nose. Some straw as well.
Palate: Honey and apples start things off, brine, peat, and earthy pine make a light appearance in the mid palate. Slight nuttiness, walnut and cocoa. Oak and cinnamon make their way in towards the end of the palate. The aplpe and cinnamon reminds me of applesauce. Very good mouthfeel
Finish: spice and smoke, medium to long. Dry finish with some dried fruits and oak sitting around for awhile.
Taste Summary – Is Johnnie Walker Green Label Good?
Yes, Johnnie Walker Green Label is very good.
I’m not a huge fan of heavily peated scotch, and the nose of JW Green Label was definitely peat/brine forward. Honey and apples are there on the nose and some pear and dried fruits make their way in after sitting for a minute. A pleasant nose, but I thought it would be too much Islay scotch for my liking.
On the palate, the honey, green apples, and cinnamon took the front seat. You still clearly get peat and Islay scotch on the palate, but it’s more of an undertone than it is the prime flavor. Walnut takes a back seat, but there is a slight nutty profile on the palate, and cinnamon spice and oak comes in at the back end.
The finish is dry, but very nice. It’s oak and dried fruits, not a dry and grainy finish. The spice carries over from the palate but dissipates as the fruit takes over.
Johnnie Walker Green Label has enough peat to be easily noticed and appreciated, but not so much where it is dominant. As someone who doesn’t love Islay scotch, Green Label is the perfect balance. So far, it’s my favorite in the Johnnie Walker lineup.
Is Johnnie Walker Green Label Worth Buying?
Of course this is a subjective question. It relies upon your own individual taste and budget. Green Label goes for roughly $65, give or take depending upon state and individual store.
For me, I think JW Green Label is an extremely fair value. It holds a 15 year age statement, it’s very good and well balanced. I don’t imagine many people disliking Green Label unless you REALLY hate peated scotch.
Johnnie Walker Whiskies – Core Lineup
I mentioned earlier that it’s my goal to review all of the whiskey in the Johnnie Walker lineup and blind rank them. However, I’m not going to review all of them. I’m going to forgo the King George due to price, and Jonnie Blonde and High Rye. Below are the whiskeys in the core lineup that I’m planning on blind ranking.
- Johnnie Walker Red Label
- Johnnie Walker Black Label
- Johnnie Walker Double Black
- Johnnie Walker Green Label
- Johnnie Walker Gold Label
- Johnnie Walker 18 Year
- Johnnie Walker Blue Label
Johnnie Walker Green Label Summary
Johnnie Walker makes a variety of blended scotch whisky ranging from cheaper bottom shelf options to $X00 bottles. It’s our goal to review and rank these.
Johnnie Walker Green Label sits right in the middle of these options at the $65 price point. While this is only the 4th whisky in the lineup I’ve reviewed, it is my favorite so far. The balance between the single malts is ideal for what I like. Peat, smoke, and brine is very present, but fruits from Speyside and earthen spice from the Lowlands put Green Label right in my wheelhouse.
If you like JW Black Label, I think you’ll appreciate the Green Label, too. It’s not quite as nutty and there’s some more peat, but the fruit shines through quite nicely. Overall, I’m very happy with Johnnie Walker Green Label.