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Gold Label vs Black Label: Discover the Better!

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

Johnnie Walker Gold Label

  • Nose: Alcohol, honey, caramel, nutmeg
  • Palate: Honey, vanilla, smoke
  • Finish: Long, caramel, smoke
  • Alcohol content: 80 proof (40% ABV)
  • How to drink: Rocks
  • Similar to: Green Label, Blue Label


The nose is a bit off-putting as it has a touch of ethanol but fades away if you let it breathe.

Flavor is sweet, with plenty of honey, malt and light smoke yet spices are present.

It has a smoky aftertaste, rich in oak and honey, with a bit of warmth and a bitter hint.

It has many of the flavors of Johnnie Walker Black Label with a more pronounced smoothness.

Is it good?

Overall, the JW Gold Label is not the most complex of whiskies but also hard to dislike. This is an easy drinker, pleasantly warm and soothing.

Gold Label is a whisky of recent creation characterized for for being smooth and sweet but a little too pricey for a blend when you can find several better single malt whiskies at this price range.

Look into my roundup containing the best Single Malts under $100 where you will find better deals.

Gold Label facts:

  • Gold Label is a blend. The whisky is crafted by blending various grain and single malts whiskies coming from all across Scotland.
  • Gold Label does not show an age statement. Johnnie Walker does not disclose the minimum aging period of the whiskies in the blend.
  • The Gold Label is relatively new as it was introduced to the United States in 2013. This whisky came as a substitute to the good old Johnnie Walker 18 that had an age statement.
  • Johnnie Walker does not share information on the exact sources and percentages that comprise the Gold Label. What we know is that a prominent amount of the blend comes from the Clynelish distillery, renowned for producing smooth and fine single malts.

Johnnie Walker Black Label

There is not one day in which I don’t sell one of this; never a complaint!
  • 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: Crown Royal, Jack Daniel’s


On the nose, there is vanilla at first, followed by citrus 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 peated 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 more serious stuff like the Ardbeg or the Talisker.

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.

Gold Label vs Black Label: Price comparison

Prices are approximate and stated in USD:

Gold Label$60
Black Label$33

Johnnie Walker Gold Label vs Black Label: Which is better?

The Gold Label is the easier of the two, although not necessarily the better

  • The Gold Label is the smoother version of the Black Label as the peaty notes have been tuned-down quite a bit.
  • Johnnie Walker Gold Label is easier to sip for new consumers although somewhat pricey for a blend with no age statement when there are several single malts at better prices.
  • Personally, for the money I would buy the Black Label, tune it down with a few drops of water and build my taste for peaty whisky one step at the time.

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