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Dewar’s 12 vs Johnnie Walker Black Label: Which Wins?

Discover the differences between Dewar’s 12 vs Johnnie Walker Black Label in this in-depth comparison and decide which Scotch is better for You!

Dewar’s 12

NoseLime, orange, apricot, pear
PalateLime, orange, caramel, vanilla
FinishMedium, oak spice, pepper
Alcohol content80 proof (40% ABV)
How to drinkAdd water
Similar toAberfeldy 12, Dewar’s 15


The nose is quite citric as it hits with notes of lime and orange at first, followed by apricot and a bit of pear. There is a whiff of smoke but very light that might not even find.

Flavor brings more of the lime and orange note from the nose. Notes of caramel and vanilla come next, along a bit of cinnamon and pepper.

The finish is short-lived, with just a bit of warmth on the way down but nothing extreme, with a bit of oak spice, pepper and a very light smoky note.

Is it good?

This updated version of the Dewar’s 12 The Ancestor that was discontinued represents an improvement as it feels better balanced and more enjoyable.

It doesn’t shock or wow but drinks nicely neat (considering the price) while it gets better when adding a dash of water releasing a tad of caramel.

It’s also a step-up from the classic Dewar’s whose primary use is a Scotch to make Highballs.

Dewar’s 12 facts:

  • This is a blend of 40 single malt and grain whiskies.
  • Double barreled in first-fill American oak ex-bourbon barrels.
  • This new version is packaged with an updated label and a clear glass bottle.
  • Dewar’s is owned by Bermuda-based Bacardi.

Johnnie Walker Black Label

NoseVanilla, orange zest, nectarine
PalateSmoke, roasted malt, caramel, vanilla
FinishLong, fruity, peppery, smoke
Alcohol content80 proof (40% ABV)
How to drinkRocks
Similar toRed Label, Jameson


On the nose, there is vanilla off the gate, followed by orange zest, nectarine and a whiff of alcohol.

On the palate, body feels somewhat thin lacking in texture. Johnnie Walker Black Label has a mildly sweet taste, with a flavor rich in peat. There are also hints of caramel and vanilla coming coming late to the party.

The finish has some peat, black pepper, salt, caramel and a bit of warmth but is not harsh.

Is it good?

Overall, the Black Label is a reliable whisky, striking a good balance of smoke and sweetness, with peat smoke and charred oak barrel smoke.

Quite smooth but with a warm finish that does not overwhelm. Nevertheless, on a lot of ice as it is commonly served it totally hits the spot.

The Black Label serves as an introductory bottle to smoky whisky, those with a hint coming from the peats used to dry the malted barley.

If you are curious about Scotch peaty whisky this is a good starting point due to its affordable price before trying the peaty monster from Islay.

Overall, Black Label is one of the best age statement blends in the market in its current price range and a good choice for an “everyday Scotch”.

Black Label facts:

  • The Black Label is a blend of 40 whiskies made from grain and malts aged for at least 12 years from all over Scotland.
  • The blend includes peaty whiskies from Islay, sweet and salty whiskies from Speyside along some malts coming from the Scottish Highlands.
  • Johnnie Walker is the best-selling whisky brand in the world doubling the sales of the closest competitor. The brand was started by a Scottish grocer, John Walker, in the early 19th century.
  • Now it belongs to Diageo, the British drinks giant who also owns Don Julio Tequila, Casamigos among several other brands.

What do Dewar’s 12 and Johnnie Black have in common?

These offerings are blends crafted by blending 40 grain and malt whiskies coming from diverse distilleries across Scotland.

This contrasts with a Single Malt Scotch that is crafted exclusively from malted barley at a single distillery.

A Single Malt is not necessarily better than a blend and as an example we have the Johnnie Walker Blue Label which is a better blend than many single malts

Dewar’s 12 vs Black Label: Price comparison

Prices are approximate and stated in USD:

Dewar’s 12$24
Black Label$26

Dewar’s 12 vs Black Label: Which is better?

The Black Label is a more robust Scotch

WhiskeyDewar’s 12Black Label
  • Between these two I find the Black Label to be a more robust release and what I consider to be the baseline for most people who take whisky tasting seriously.
  • The Black Label serves as the introductory bottle to smoky whisky which might well be the more interesting and rewarding type of whisky.