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Johnnie Walker Black Label vs Double Black: Discover the Differences!

Discover the differences between Johnnie Walker Black Label vs Double Black in this in-depth comparison and decide which Whisky is better for You!

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: Famous Grouse, JW High Rye


On the nose, there is vanilla scent at first, followed by citrus zest, nectarine and a whiff of alcohol.

On the palate, body feels thin lacking in texture. The Black Label has mildly sweet taste, with a flavor rich in peat. There are also hints of caramel and vanilla coming behind.

The finish is peaty, with hints of black pepper, salt and a bit of warmth but nothing terrible or off-putting.

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 peated Scotch, those with a hint coming from the peats used to dry the malted barley.

Johnnie Walker Black Label is the baseline for most people who take whisky tasting seriously.

There are a few facts worth knowing about the Black Label:

  • 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.

Johnnie Walker Double Black

  • Nose: Smoke, vanilla, tar, barbecue sauce, citrus, malt
  • Palate: Charred oak, peat, caramel, vanilla, salted butter
  • Finish: Charred, oak, peat, vanilla, citrus
  • Alcohol content: 80 proof (40% ABV)
  • How to drink: Rocks, Highball
  • Similar to: Jameson Black Barrel, Gold Label


Nose delivers smoke up-front, as you let it breathe vanilla, orange and malty aromas pop-up. There is also something that smells like tat and BBQ sauce.

On the palate, the Double Black has a good creamy body. This whisky delivers a blast of charred oak and peat up-front.

Once you get through the first layer of charred oak and peat there is a reward of caramel sweetness, along vanilla and salted butter.

The finish is long and somewhat warm, but not harsh. With more peat and charred oak to it and a tad of vanilla and orange zest.

Is it good?

This is a whisky that demands a certain degree of expertise to fully appreciate as the heavy smoky notes might overwhelm an inexperienced drinker.

In fact, this is the smokiest Johnnie Walker and the more demanding.

Add a few drops of water to the whisky and let rich floral notes emerge whilst tuning down the peat; this will make the Double Black easier to drink.

I find it to be quite good as I’m very fond of smoky spirits, but I’m aware that the Double Black can be intimidating for some.

You can also go rocks but be aware that ice just chills the dram but does not tune down the smoke.

It makes a good whisky to drink in highball or Scotch & Soda as the smoke and char make this cocktail more tasty.

Double Black facts:

  • Bottled at 80 proof.
  • Aged in deeply charred oak casks to intensify the smoky character of the Black Label.

What’s the differences between Johnnie Walker Black Label and Double Black?

  • The Double Black is crafted using the same blend of the Black Label but aged in highly charred barrels.
  • The result is a whisky with many similar notes although much richer in charred oak; which might be overwhelming for some consumers not acquainted with this particular note.

Johnnie Walker Black Label vs Double Black: Price comparison

Prices are approximate and stated in USD:

Black Label$30
Double Black$35

Johnnie Walker Black Label vs Double Black: which is better?

The Black Label is a safer bet than the Double Black

  • Johnnie Walker Black Label is better than the Double Black for the newbie curious about peaty whiskies. Double Black is better suited for the experienced Scotch whisky aficionado that can handle better the heavy smoky notes Double Black offers.
  • If you are fond of smoky spirits the Double Black makes a great option. The heavily charred casks add a nice note an already tasty dram.
  • Start by sipping Black Label and once you become acquainted to this type of whisky move to the Double Black and shoot me an email with a “thank you” note.
  • The price edge in favor of Black Label also makes it a better starting point.

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