Overall rating
Whiskybase ID
John Walker & Sons (JW&S)
Bottling serie
Blended Scotch Whisky
40.0 % Vol.
700 ml
No Neck Label
Added on
17 Aug 2014 10:30 am by zinaf

Average value

€ 15.97

2 × in wishlist

169 × member ratings

417 × in collection

Whisky Reviews for Johnnie Walker Red Label

33 users have left a review for this whisky and scored it an average of 62.08 points

  1. lincolnimp scored this whisky 82 points Connoisseur

    H2H JW Red Label old version V new, 50 years apart

    This is actually a 2020 bottle tried against an old bottling from around 1970 at 70 proof being Red label old Scotch whisky on the label, 70 proof WB ID 110392.

    Firstly compared side by side in small glencairn glass while the colours are similar the 1970 bottle is a shade darker.

    Noses compared

    2020 40%
    very sweet, on honey and lighter coloured fruit gums with a big biscuit note, plenty of cereals which is obviously from grain component plus a hint of menthol.

    1970 70 proof
    Basically there is more of everything, more complex profile, but there are definitely similarities but this smells a little more substantial.
    Honey, biscuit, a little sherry, faint orange and against hint of peat plus some OBE that has welded the flavours together more, multiple layered.


    2020 43%
    very creamy and really sweet with some peat adding a little focus and a decent spice note, perhaps a little finger but the spice is softer than ginger.
    There is some really nice fruit , apple, pear, mango and maybe a little succulent peach as the liquid is almost syruppy the type of syrup you get in tinned peaches.
    It is a simple profile but it works and has good balance.

    1970 70 proof
    This heavier on the palate, a fatter whisky, than the 2020.
    This is still on the sweet side but not as syrupy sweet as the new bottling.
    There is some peat mixing with a nice spice note, mango and pick lady apples and a little marshmallow and with the grain there is a cream note and the faintest hint of coconut and a touch of vanilla.
    There is also a little honey and caramel.


    2020 43%
    reasonable length, remaining sweet with the honey and a little peat staying until the end, not harsh or anything just simply pleasant.

    1970 70 proof
    Remaining composed, sweet with a nice spice angle to the finish that makes your tongue tingle

    I like this new one, it is just a little too sweet to be a session whisky, I could not drink too much of it in one go.
    The 1970 even though it is 50 years older shared many of it's characteristics of it's new sibling but is more rounded with more complexity, basically a heavier whisky with more going on as the sweetness is not the overriding feature like the 2020.

    I think JW Red is unfairly derided as a bad whisky which is unfair, it is easy to knock it, which is undeserved.
    This bottle page is for a 2013 bottle , maybe jw improved it 7 years later?

    I scored the 1970 85/86/826 for 86 points average
    • Nose
      82 82
    • Taste
      83 83
    • Finish
      82 82

  2. Dris scored this whisky 69 points Connoisseur

    Nothing to see here... However it's not terrible compared to similarly priced blends.
    • Nose
      70 70
    • Taste
      72 72
    • Finish
      67 67

  3. TastyDram did not rate this whisky Expert Junior

    Johnnie Walker Red label is marketed as a mix drink by Diageo and I suggest you follow that advise. Use it as an appetiser with ice and soda or mix it with Coke (or Pepsi, I'm not in for a "Who's better" debate). Drinking this one neat is far from a life-changing experience.
    • Nose
       Juniper berries and overripe pears are the main aroma's I'm picking up at the nose. After a few sniffs there's some sort of synthetic component that makes an appearance. I can only identify it (for now) as plastic wrap that spent too much time in the oven.
      At room temperature there's a touch of imitation leather, sweet grains and dry baker's yeast.
    • Taste
      On the palate there's an explosion of soft peat smoke, toasted oak and a mixture of spices. Juniper berries, ginger and pink pepper. And a hint of soft soapiness. But don't worry. It does not get very unpleasant.
    • Finish
      The finish is quite short. An extinguished fire with flakes of oak and pine resin.

  4. ctu scored this whisky 62 points Connoisseur

  5. thebonewolf scored this whisky 60 points Expert Senior

    While it’s entirely uninspiring as a neat pour, it’s actually not quite as terrible as people like to talk about it. There wasn’t nothing truly aversive or unpleasant, just a bit beneath neutral. Probably bad memories of drinking it before developing a taste for whisky clouds the perception of it. Still, it’s best left for mixing as intended.
    • Nose
      60 60
      Tropical fruit, butter cookie. It’s clouded by cardboard. Reminds a bit of Waterford’s youth, actually.
    • Taste
      56 56
      Thin. Cookie/dough.
    • Finish
      64 64
      Caramel. Short.

  6. Doktor_Gonzo scored this whisky 73 points Expert Junior

    • Nose
      75 75
    • Taste
      73 73
    • Finish
      71 71

  7. claymore84 scored this whisky 60 points Expert Senior

    Tasted on March 27th, 2021 during a blind tasting with the friendly Mr. Z. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p1Ru6Rd7Sng&ab_channel=FriendlyMr.Z)

  8. lincolnimp scored this whisky 82 points Connoisseur

    I called this H2H `The Dirty Dozen`, not in a derogatory way but because all 12 of these blends (latest versions) are all under £20 the actual price points here are £13-£20 UK sterling
    All these bottles are available either in supermarkets or on line and all, apart from the Highland Black have no age statement.

    I wanted the 11 NAS bottles to be tested against the Aldi whiskey, as I have heard decent comments about the Aldi whiskey and at £12.99 it was the cheapest here, the most expensive was the Bushmills Original. I was only originally going to do Scotch blends but thought in the interests of fair play to have a couple of Irish in the mix.

    RESULT , all bottles are 2021 releases

    1st - Highland Black Distiller’s Reserve 8 year 40% Aldi
    2nd - Grant’s Family Reserve 40%
    3rd-The Famous Grouse 40% (mini)
    4th- High Commissioner 40%
    5th-Bell’s Original 40%
    6th- Scottish Leader 40%
    7th - JW Red Label 40%
    8th- Teacher’s Highland Cream 40%
    9th -Jameson triple distilled 40%
    10th- Black Bottle 40% (mini)
    11th- Bushmills Original White label 40% OB
    12th- Dewar’s White Label 40%

    There were common threads through most of these whiskies, they were quite light, many had green apple notes, some had vanilla and many of them were much sweeter than a single malt which was to be expected.

    My palate is suited to blends, probably because they are generally sweeter but also because I am very sensitive to woody bitterness and sulphur, which you do not get with young blends.

    My scoring may surprise some but, on this site many punters seem to like to knock blends and give them low scores for the sake of it. In my view this is because it is seen as the right thing to do to show you are a single malt person, to show you are a knowledgeable drinker, which is bollocks of course.
    I see comments like bland, no taste, no finish and score likes 28, 32, 40 etc, which in my view are unfair and show that people are just following the well-trodden curve to bash cheap blends.

    I see many times in supermarkets, men of a certain age just walk up to the whiskey Isle and just go straight to the Bell’s, Teacher’s or Whyte Mackay, they know what they like and stick to it., they cannot all be wrong, they are looking for value in their budget, they have been drinking for many years, and know a good buy when they see it.

    In this tasting there was only one complete duffer with and that was the Dewar’s White Label, and the Bushmills original was better but I would not purchase either of these again. Sure none of them were big on depth of profile or multi layered, that is the whole point of a blend, an easy sipper.

    For what it is worth I would be happy to buy the top 9 bottles in this tasting again as a repeat purchase.

    This was a fun tasting, before I started I was expecting the Famous Grouse, Teacher’s and Bell’s to do ok and was also expecting the Aldi Highland Black to score high because it is meant to be good at its price point.

    I have been honest in my assessment, The Highland Black as £13 is great value, tastes nice and is a good daily sipper and deserved to be on top.
    The Famous Grouse and Grants were all good and substantiated why they are so well regarded. The High Commissioner pleasantly surprised me and is worth an honourable mention.
    If you do not like really sweet whiskey blends like this will not be for you especially the JW Red Label, which is syrupy sweet, similarly if you like your tongue ripped out by massive peat or swamped by old woody sherry, this sort of whiskey will not interest you.

    Finally, there is definitely a place for Scotch whiskey blends or Irish Whiskey and as prices for daily drinkers increase, whiskey like this may come into focus with some people more and more

  9. NXI scored this whisky 70 points Member Senior

    Nowadays, the red label is a benchmark for mediocrity and a substance that I would use only as a last resort, but it used to be more than a decent whisky and comparable in quality to today's lower-grade malts. That's the only reason I'm a little more lenient with it, putting the score in the 70s.

  10. Svjatogor scored this whisky 46 points Expert Senior

    balanced, not bad


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