Difference Between Johnnie Walker Black Label And Double Black

In 1857, John Walker’s son, Alexander Walker, produced the first blended scotch whisky bottled under the family name — Walker’s Old Highland. From the time the brand launched the color-coded, tilted label on square bottle packaging with the recognizable ‘striding man’ logo we’ve all come to recognize. This blend has morphed into today’s Red, blue, green and Black Label expressions.

Two prominent labels in the Johnnie Walker brand are Johnnie Walker Black and Johnnie walker double black. While from the same brand, and with similar names, these two drinks are each unique in their own right. From the colour to the palate intensity, the difference is quite noticeable. The Black Label is slightly lighter in colour compared to the Johnnie Walker Double Black. The strong point of the Black Label is the fact that it is more accessible, easy drinking and smooth with rich peat. It has more fruity notes and is slightly spicier than the Double Black.

The Double Black is bolder, more vibrant and more luxurious. Double Black is a more grown-up version of the Black Label whisky. It is the whisky to show you have arrived. The whisky to drink when you celebrate your achievements.

Black label and Double Black are both blended whiskies, which means they contain a variety of casks containing different types of whisky blended together. Each type of whisky used in the blend is considered a component whisky. These products are a combination of single malt and grain whisky casks. The Johnnie walker band belongs to Diageo, the British drinks giant who also owns Don Julio Tequila, Casamigos, among several other brands.

Given that the two labels originate from the same brand, some may argue that there cannot be too many differences between them. However, Johnnie Walker Black vs Double Black has been a common comparison among the whiskey community, and for good reason. In this article, get to understand the main difference between Johnnie walker black label and double black in more precise details.

Black Label vs Double Black: Key Differences

Basis of comparisonBlack LabelDouble Black
Flavor ProfileIts smooth and well-balanced with notes of fruit, vanilla, and smoky peat.It is a bolder and more intense version of the Black Label, with stronger smoky and peaty flavors.
PeatinessContains a moderate level of peat influence, resulting in a subtle smokiness.Has a higher peat content, contributing to a more pronounced smoky and peaty character.
Aging and MaturationContains a blend of whiskies aged for a minimum of 12 years.Contains a blend of older whiskies than the Black Label, with some aged in heavily charred oak casks.
IntensityOffers a well-rounded and approachable flavor profile suitable for a wide range of whisky drinkers.Provides a more robust and intense taste experience, appealing to those who enjoy more powerful flavors.
ColorHas a deep amber color, characteristic of a well-aged whisky.Typically has a slightly darker hue due to the higher proportion of heavily charred cask influence.
PackagingTraditionally presented in a sleek black bottle with the signature Johnnie Walker label design.Also comes in a black bottle, but the label may have additional elements to differentiate it from the Black Label.
PriceGenerally priced lower than Double Black due to its younger age and milder flavors.Typically commands a slightly higher price due to its older components and intensified character.

Key Takeaways

  • Johnnie Walker Black Label was launched in 1909 whereas Johnnie Walker’s Double Black Label came into prominence in the early 2000s and was launched internationally in 2011.
  • Johnnie Walker Double Black is matured in heavily charred oak barrels for an undisclosed time.
  • Black is matured in ex-bourbon barrels for a minimum of 12 years.
  • Double Black has notes of medicinal creosote peat, leather, malt, barrel char, rich peaty smoke, raisins, iodine, and earthy notes.
  • Johnnie Walker Black has floral notes, honey, toasted oak, vanilla, red berries, tobacco, subtle peat smoke, spice aromas, raisins, malt, and leather.
  • Black Label has a long finish of sweetness, honey, smoke, and a touch of menthol and vanilla.
  • Black Label whisky is best paired with roasted pork or cheese platter, while Double Black pairs well with smoked leg of lamb, rump steak, or Blue Cheese.
  • Double Black has an oaky and warm finish with tannins, rich peat, and smokiness because of its aging process in heavily charred barrels.
  • Black Label is an easy-drinking whisky, and it has subtle peat and is slightly spicier whereas Double Black is bolder, more luxurious, and vibrant.
  • Double Black is housed in the translucent black bottle, while Black Label comes in a clear bottle.
  • Johnnie Walker Black Label whisky has a lighter shade and polished amber while Double Black has hints of copper and red when seen from a clear glass.
  • Double Black is not as suitable for cocktails and should rather be enjoyed neat or with a few drops of water. Black Label can also be used as a base for cocktails.
  • An alternative to Double Black is the Ardbeg 10 years. It is an Islay whisky with similar flavors to Double Black. It has smoky, salty, buttery, and fruity notes with a warm finish.
  • A good alternative to Johnnie Walker Black is Highland Park 12. Both whiskies have similar taste profiles, however, Highland Park 12 is a single malt.