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Johnnie Walker Red Label 1970s




Whisky Review: Johnnie Walker Red Label 1970s

Tasting Notes:

This Johnnie Walker Red Label was bottled in the 1970s, following blended whisky boom. Blended whiskies were extremely popular during this time, and the 1970s was a properous decade for Johnnie Walker. The Red Label blend is instantly recognizable in its square bottle, which made shipping large quantities easier when demand was high. Let’s see how it hold up after 50+ years in the bottle.
Golden orange
Soft and sweet, not what I expected at all. Vanilla and buttercream, sweet green apple, manadrin, lillet blanc, caramel sauce, brandy, raisin, milk chocolate.
Unusual. Starts off very sweet and then it just falls away, leads very strongly with aperol, campari, little peat smoke, ashy, orange oil, brown sugar, red vermouth, almost Negroni like bitterness across the board.
Light and gently smoky. Some soft fruit elements of orange and sharp raspberry.
I think the bitterness is coming from the grain, it all ends with that slightly burnt plastic note that grain always has. However, one of the most interesting bottles of Johnnie Walker I’ve ever tried.

Johnnie Walker is, perhaps, the most recognizable blended whisky brand in the world, having had a long and successful history. The brand’s Black, Blue, Green, and Red Label whiskies are instantly recognizable, and a firm global favorite. 

Alexander Walker, son of John Walker, created the scotch brand Old Highland Whisky in 1867. This blend was later rechristened as Red Label in 1909. The unusual square bottle and slanting label, introduced by Alexander in the 1860s, quickly became familiar to consumers.

The Red Label has been the best-selling scotch whisky globally since 1945. Despite being no-age-statement, it’s estimated that Red Label is aged for around ten years. The blend stands as a testament to the Walker family’s pioneering approach to blending whiskies, contributing to its enduring popularity and recognition worldwide.

This particular Johnnie Walker Red Label was released just after the blended whisky boom of the 1970s and was regarded as a well-priced and palatable blended whisky. 

Today, many prefer Johnnie Walker Black or Blue, but there is no doubt that the Red Label helped to establish the Johnnie Walker brand on a global scale.

To find out more about Johnnie Walker, watch our YouTube series taking a deep dive into the brand here.

Phil Dwyer

Having worked in whisky retail for a decade, and running Whisky Wednesday on YouTube for nearly as long, Phil has always wanted to learn, talk and tell everyone as much about whisky as he can.

Whisky can be overly complicated at times. Phil wants to end that. Brands have pushed far too much jargon into the drinking atmosphere; it's difficult to breathe when whisky is mentioned at times.

Phil also manages The Whisky Shop Manchester stocking some of the best drams on the market.

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