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Glenlivet Founder’s Reserve vs Johnnie Walker Black Label: Head to Head!

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

Glenlivet Founder’s Reserve

glenlivet-founders-reserve
  • Nose: Banana, apple, anise
  • Palate: Vanilla, caramel, oak
  • Finish: Short-lived, soft, fruity
  • Alcohol content: 80 proof (40% ABV)
  • How to drink: Neat
  • Similar to: Glenlivet 12

Taste:

The nose is subtle, with a note of banana and apple, along a hint of anise.

On the palate, the Founder’s Reserve has a decent body with a moderately creamy body.

Flavor brings notes of vanilla, caramel and just a tad of oak.

The finish is short with a citrus note along oak spice.

Is it good?

Not the most memorable or interesting whisky but there is not one harsh or off-putting note making it quite easy to drink; perhaps too easy.

The Founder’s Reserve is a great entry-level bottle to the world of single malt whisky as it’s flavor profile and attractive price makes it perfect for newbies.

If you want to start drinking as a grown-up, that is neat, this is a good whisky to start. Chill it a bit by adding large ice cubes avoiding dilution as you don’t want to water-down your precious whisky.

If you are in the market for a mixer I suggest you use a cheaper option such as the Dewar’s or Jameson which mixes better in most cocktails and you save your hard earned money.

Founder’s Reserve receives its name to honor George Smith who in 1824 founded The Glenlivet Distillery becoming the first legally established distillery in the region.

The company now belongs to Pernod Ricard, a French conglomerate that owns a zillion brands including Chivas.

Founder’s Reserve facts:

  • The Founder’s Reserve does not have an age statement.

Johnnie Walker Black Label

johnnie-walker-black-label
  • Nose: Vanilla, orange zest, nectarine
  • Palate: Smoke, roasted malt, caramel, vanilla
  • Finish: Long, fruity, peppery, smoke
  • Alcohol content: 80 proof (40% ABV)
  • How to drink: Rocks
  • Similar to: Ballantine’s 12

Taste:

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

Body feels somewhat thin lacking in texture. The 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 Johnnie Black 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 Scotch, 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.
  • This brand was started by a John Walker who was a teetotaler (didn’t drink alcohol)!
  • The brand is owned by London-based Diageo along several whisky brands such as Talisker, Lagavulin, Caol Ila, Glenkinchie…

Founder’s Reserve vs Black Label: Price comparison

Prices are approximate and stated in USD:

WhiskyPrice
Glenlivet Founder’s Reserve$43
Johnnie Walker Black Label$33

Founder’s Reserve vs Johnnie Walker Black Label: Which is better?

The Founder’s is one of the easiest whiskies

WhiskeyFounder’s Reserve Black Label
Nose
Body
Palate
Finish
Value
  • Glenlivet Founder’s Reserve is a better whisky for consumers new to Scotch or liquors in general due to its smoothness.
  • This is a mellow inoffensive dram with no harshness, smoke or troubling tasting notes; it goes down easy with no burn.
  • The Black Label is the whisky at which serious whisky drinking kicks-off.
  • Mostly sweet with the notes of peat coming from the fire used to dry the malted barley providing the entry-level whisky to some of the best whiskies such as Lagavulin or Ardbeg.

Personally, I prefer the Black Label but I’m an avid mezcal drinker who enjoys strong smoky notes and some deeper flavors.

Differences between Founder’s Reserve and Black Label

Founder’s is a single malt and Black Label a blend

There are few important differences between these whiskies that you should know:

  • Glenlivet Founder’s Reserve is a single malt Scotch. This is a whisky made exclusively from malted barley and at a single distillery. Founder’s does not have an age statement.
  • 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.

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