Scotch - Blended

Johnnie Walker 12yr Black Label Blended Scotch Whisky

From: Scotland Liquor Review Category: Blended Scotch

Bottle/Rating Data

Rating Description

Tier 1
This is a Tier 1 score in the Whiskey category. It means the spirit has won the highest recommendation at least once and probably many times.
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Awards

San Francisco World Spirits Competition

  • 2005
  • 2006
  • 2007
  • 2008
  • 2009
  • 2010
  • 2013
  • 2014
  • 2015
  • 2016

Beverage Testing Institute

  • 2008
  • 2010
  • 2014

Wine Enthusiast

  • 2004
  • 2011
  • 2014

Proof66 Notes

Today, Johnnie Walker offers several different "labels" of scotch whisky, designated by color. Johnnie Walker Black Label is the second tier scotch from the famous and well-known label and said to be the personal favorite of Winston Churchill. One of its principal components is from the Cardhu Distillery, which is not widely available outside of Spain.

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Rabble Reviews

This bottle has 46 ratings and 45 reviews.
Cranecreek Cranecreek (161)
Rating: 4.3 (2016-11-02)[Updated Review]
No resemblance to Red Label ! A great nose of old wood, light leather,rum soaked pipe tobacco and smoldering ash. I get the same in the taste plus some malty chocolate, with a little mustiness. Our family raises bees and the smells of stripping the honey from old wood frames, and the smoke (used for calming bees) is uncanny in the similarity to this whisky. I could wish for a higher proof but then that would take it out of the reach of affordability for many of us. A great sipper neat. Skip the Red label and go right to this blend for a more flavorful experience.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • - Muncher up voted your review on 2016-12-03.

  • - KaiserSoze up voted your review on 2016-10-26.

  • - BDanner up voted your review on 2016-10-18.

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Review Comments
BDanner (2016-10-18):
Spot on! My brother-in-law/boss keeps about 8 hives at work and the smell of the smoker always puts me in a scotch mood. For me it's usually Monkey Shoulder or Black Grouse. The smell of the room where he keeps all his equipment has that same wonderful smoky smell and I imagine it might be similar to a rickhouse.

SirDeath SirDeath (32)
Rating: 2.2 (2016-10-30)
Expensive, disappointing and not very good. A completely different animal from Red label, this has no hint of peat and runs a bit on the sweet side. The nose and palate have a moderately strong flavour of amyl acetate and ethyl acetate (think banana smell/flavour). This kind of ruins it for me as it makes the body of the scotch awkward. The body runs a little on the sweet side with heat being present but subdued. Finish is average, much like the dram itself. It's overpriced by at least half, and personally I think Red at least has more personality. I think it's a a general disappointment and wouldn't recommend it.
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KaiserSoze KaiserSoze (232)
Rating: 4.8 (2016-10-12)
My favorite blended scotch and possibly the most balanced spirit I've had the pleasure to experience. I always have a bottle of this around because it goes well before or after a meal. I drink this with no water and no ice, EVER. Adding water/ice really throws the flavor profile off base. Nice smokey flavor layered in with a pleasant sweetness and black pepper spice that I can't get enough of!
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • - Tango up voted your review on 2016-10-27.

  • - Cranecreek up voted your review on 2016-10-16.

  • - Muncher up voted your review on 2015-10-24.

  • - BDanner up voted your review on 2015-10-22.

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StevenSauce StevenSauce (69)
Rating: 4.0 (2016-07-28)
4.1 stars this is actually very nice scotch, it might not have the depth of a really good single malt but there is certainly not anything wrong with it. its a bit peaty but not overwhelming, a little bit of sweetness and it doesnt have any bitterness from the unmalted grain like most blends. its kind of a poor mans highland park 12 and a very good choice if you dont want to spend the extra buck for a single malt.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • - Cranecreek up voted your review on 2016-10-16.

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quantumboy7 quantumboy7 (47)
Rating: 3.0 (2016-06-06)
In a bar with limited choices, choose this one. It's good, reliable, nothing off-putting or wrong about it. You can't go wrong. It's just not very complex. Double Black is twice as good.
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Shmotch Shmotch (68)
Rating: 4.0 (2016-02-27)
This has been my go to blended whisky in the $35 range...I would recommend sipping neat, always nicely balanced, notably better "smoother" than the red label, the double black, by comparison offers a similar taste but with the peat and smoky oak cask flavor more enhanced
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Erzengel Erzengel (50)
Rating: 4.0 (2016-02-14)
Smokey full aroma. Hints of vanilla and wood in the aftertaste. Round and deep with a long vanilla aftertaste. Great and deep.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • - Cranecreek up voted your review on 2016-10-17.

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US Spirit US Spirit (74)
Rating: 4.0 (2015-12-23)
I'm not much of a scotch drinker, and I'm especially not much for blended scotch, and I specifically do not care for Johnny Walker Red, so I was very surprised to discover I like Johnny Walker Black, but I do. This to date, this is the only blended scotch I have ordered on purpose more than once. At home I could see sipping this neat, but when I'm out and socializing I tend to stretch my spirits by ordering with ice (its cheaper and they take me longer to drink, keeping me safe to drive home). Anyway, I don't feel ice changes the character of Johnny Black much. Either way its sweet, mild, slightly rich (for a blended scotch at least), with just a little smoke and peat, and also some of the more agreeable flavor you get from a good Irish whiskey (honey, heather/grass), but richer. The peat and smoke is just enough to add a bit of interest for me without being disagreeable (so I suspect a real scotch drinker might consider this stuff at least a little weak). I'll continue to order this every now and again when I'm out, and may even buy a bottle of my own one day (I think the price is pretty fair, but I'm a bourbon drinker first and you can get soo many good bourbons for the $30-$40 this costs where I am). Anyway, if you're looking for a good first blended scotch to try, this would be my choice. I'm not an expert on blended scotch by any means, but I found it approachable when I tend not to like blends, and it seems reasonably well regarded by seasoned scotch lovers as well, so its probably a safe bet for others as well.
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jeanphilt jeanphilt (30)
Rating: 3.0 (2015-08-31)
Taste figs and peat and sherry. Not bad but nothing special here so basically overpriced/overrated. For almost half the price, I will stick to the Red Label for mixing and I will stick to single malts or other blended for neat.
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jaketaz jaketaz (211)
Rating: 2.0 (2015-06-30)
In a blind tasting, my friends preferred Benchmark Bourbon. Obviously bourbon is totally different, but the point is that it won despite being younger, $12, and totally unknown. JW has coasted on their brand forever despite always having better competition such as those noted by other comments here. it's not awful it's just unnecessary.
1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • - Muncher down voted your review on 2015-09-25.

  • - Filthee up voted your review on 2015-07-29.

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Filthee Filthee (62)
Rating: 2.0 (2015-06-18)
A solid blend, good for a mixer, a lot of peat, especially for a blend. Over priced in my opinion, for the price I will usually go Chivas or Black Grouse (a better balanced peated blend) or just spend a few extra dollars for a single malt
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bigstang bigstang (4)
Rating: 4.0 (2015-06-04)
Good, smokey, smooth.
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Jayaaron121 Jayaaron121 (5)
Rating: 4.0 (2015-05-26)
Its good but overrated, Ive had less expensive scotch whisky with more flavor and less bite. That being said, its enjoyable.
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Review Comments
Muncher (2015-05-26):
Curious what you've had that's both superior and cheaper. I'm always looking for a good value.

Filthee (2015-06-05):
Muncher, if you like Black Label try The Black Grouse, its both cheaper (about $27 here) and superior (in my opinion at least, which is just that, an opinion). Also try Famous Grouse ($20) for a great lighter blended scotch. Also Monkey Shoulder is miles ahead of Black in almost every way (again in my opinion) and is about 20-25% less expensive (although harder to find)

mct (2015-08-17):
auchentoshan 10 is worse than JW black and even more expensive

EricDrinksLiquor EricDrinksLiquor (44)
Rating: 3.0 (2015-03-24)
The most overrated whiskey. Such a high price and not much to show for it.
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PiggDogg PiggDogg (13)
Rating: 5.0 (2015-01-14)
JW Black 12 is always of most excellent quality and taste when experienced neat. In short, JW Black is always a good experience. Also, it is available in nearly every bar and restaurant, at least in New Orleans & probably worldwide. At least when I have been at a bar (I infrequently do this) or at a restaurant (I do this with fair frequency), JW Black is at a most respectable, moderate, and relatively low price, especially when compared to call brand Scotch Malt (such as Glenlivet 12, Glenfiddich 12) & American whiskies. Considering the availability, considering quality when compared to alternatives, considering the quality when compared to price, & considering innate quality and always good experience, JW Black is a clear choice when you are out on the town. Also, it is a fine choice when you are at home among friends who can appreciate a fine whisky. There are certainly better whiskys out there. However, there are few better whiskys than JW Black for the price. You won’t be disappointed.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • - Cranecreek up voted your review on 2016-10-16.

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rolugomi rolugomi (34)
Rating: 3.0 (2015-01-09)
Smoky. Bit of citrus. Maybe some fruit but overwhelmed by the smoke on the straight test. Finish has more fruit, and is relatively short. Water brings down smoke, enhancing grain and malt
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voiceofsticks voiceofsticks (14)
Rating: 4.0 (2014-09-23)
Yeah, this stuff is ubiquitous. That's partly hype, but it truly is a darn good mass market blended Scotch. Smooth and sippable with just a hint of smoke. I like it a lot!
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • - PiggDogg up voted your review on 2015-01-14.

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Muncher Muncher (585)
Rating: 4.0 (2014-06-29)
Not quite as refined as the gold and blue labels, but the 3 are close enough in quality that the black is by far the best value. Pretty standard blend flavors: light smokiness, sweetness, spice, and a hint of oak. Very well done.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • - KaiserSoze up voted your review on 2015-11-16.

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Hotspur17 Hotspur17 (33)
Rating: 4.0 (2014-04-23)
If you like blended scotch and do not want to pay through the nose this is a good bottle. Most bars carry it and you don't have to pay top shelf price. Much better scotch out there, but if you plan on putting a few back without killing your wallet JW Black is the way to go.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • - PiggDogg up voted your review on 2015-01-14.

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Edith MaGoo Edith MaGoo (66)
Rating: 2.0 (2014-03-09)
In fairness, i'm not much of a scotch drinker. f I were, I'd probably give this higher reviews. Its smooth, for sure. And it's the best scotch I've had. But it has that same pungent leather taste that other scotches have. No way would I ever pay $50 for this. Most middle shelf bourbons are much better.
1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • - jaketaz up voted your review on 2015-06-30.

  • - PiggDogg down voted your review on 2015-01-14.

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derkerderr derkerderr (73)
Rating: 3.0 (2014-03-05)
I've come to realize that scotch isn't my thing. I'm a bourbon man. With that said, JWB is smooth and more enjoyable than the other blended scotches that I've tried. Reference a seasoned scotch drinker for a more useful review.
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Hottgunn Hottgunn (12)
Rating: 5.0 (2014-01-21)
Excellent Scotch, blended or not. Don't add a thing - just sip it. A bit high in price. If it were the price of Johnnie Walker Red, it would be a world beater. Churchill was spot on about this one.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • - PiggDogg up voted your review on 2015-01-14.

  • - awpeters up voted your review on 2014-11-18.

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andrey andrey (2)
Rating: 5.0 (2013-12-11)
Sweet and smoky. Difficult and easy. Very nice blend.
1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • - jaketaz down voted your review on 2015-06-30.

  • - PiggDogg up voted your review on 2015-01-14.

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antiquecollector antiquecollector (32)
Rating: 4.0 (2013-10-27)
I like it, good amount of smoke but not overpowering. Better than Chivas 12.
2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • - jaketaz down voted your review on 2015-06-30.

  • - PiggDogg up voted your review on 2015-01-14.

  • - awpeters up voted your review on 2014-11-18.

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gmish gmish (16)
Rating: 5.0 (2013-10-20)
This is simply amazing. Buy it. Now.
1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • - jaketaz down voted your review on 2015-06-30.

  • - PiggDogg up voted your review on 2015-01-14.

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NeatPour NeatPour (341)
Rating: 3.0 (2013-09-26)
3.5 stars, perhaps my favorite so far of the common blends in the category. Not overly complicated, but then I wasn't expecting it to be. It has a nice smokey flavor. It's a solid baseline whiskey. For me it's preferable over chivas 12 and dewars but about even with glenlivet 12 and below the other quality single malt names in the 10 to 12 year category like macallan, glenmorangie, and glenfiddich. It's a decent scotch for beginners to see if they even like scotch!
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • - peathead up voted your review on 2016-10-17.

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Dakota Dakota (132)
Rating: 4.0 (2013-08-06)
Ok
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batmanfan45 batmanfan45 (3)
Rating: 5.0 (2013-06-13)
Im not a serious drinker but I love this stuff with coke and some water
1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • - jaketaz down voted your review on 2015-06-30.

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andreas andreas (5)
Rating: 3.0 (2013-05-22)
I was disappointed by the black. It's kind of raw to the taste, much like the red label, although I think I prefer the red. I was hoping for more.
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Thor_Foote Thor_Foote (15)
Rating: 4.0 (2013-05-21)
Medium body, light to medium peatyness, very smooth, not overly complex and certainly not challenging -- JW is the best selling scotch in the world for a reason. The black label is a step up from the red in quality and in price. Perhaps a bit overpriced -- for the money you can do better but you could also do much, much worse.
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joelbarrett joelbarrett (56)
Rating: 4.0 (2013-03-22)
A decent blend.
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Allan Allan (207)
Rating: 4.0 (2013-03-04)
A good solid scotch. Mild smoke with some sweetness. My only problem with this whiskey is that single malts in the same price range such as Glenlivet 12yr are more complex and have a better flavor.
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Burks Burks (14)
Rating: 5.0 (2012-12-21)
Top tier blended scotch. A must for any scotch lover Extremely smooth. Great flavor with a hint of peat Nose is very pleasant, I detect some woodiness which I like. A+ stuff here.
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Irishman Irishman (323)
Rating: 4.0 (2012-09-25)
If you're stocking your bar, make sure you have a bottle of Johnnie Black. It's a must have, tastes delicious, and won't bust your bank account.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • - KaiserSoze up voted your review on 2015-11-16.

  • - mct up voted your review on 2015-08-17.

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bourbob bourbob (33)
Rating: 3.0 (2012-05-01)
Extremely overrated. Not terrible but nothing to write home about at all. You can do much better.
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scalihan scalihan (44)
Rating: 2.0 (2012-04-11)
Was disappointed. Not sure what all the hype is about. There is an overpowering flavor that ruins it. Not sure what to call it. Perhaps I got ahold of a bad bottling. Donno. I prefer single malts, but this wasnt even a satisfying blend. Too bad. Wanted to like it.
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magezi magezi (67)
Rating: 5.0 (2012-03-08)
Absolutely best of blended scotch in this price category! There's smokiness and robust power of the coastside, and also there's gentle fruity appelpie taste from mainland. It's like they have poured one drop here from every distillery in scotland!
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • - Irishman up voted your review on 2012-11-29.

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dfwitt dfwitt (21)
Rating: 4.0 (2012-02-20)
Nice blended scotch--great mixer with soda--okay as a sipper.
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danurdan danurdan (21)
Rating: 5.0 (2012-02-18)
One of the smoothest scotches going. For the price my new favorite and Im a single malt snob
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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Review Comments
mct (2015-08-17):
better than auchentoshan 10

Spindali Spindali (5)
Rating: 3.0 (2011-09-18)
I havent had much scotch yet, but if this is one of the best as people say then I should stop drinking it now. It's not bad but it leaves you wanting more. The product appearance is great, but the liquor itself isnt that great of an experience.
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ehotonic ehotonic (20)
Rating: 3.0 (2011-09-07)
I think we need to put Johnnie Walker Black in its place. It's a blended scotch whiskey that is extremely overrated as a kind of "elite" whiskey. It's a very nice blended scotch, but I wouldn't say it is even the best of the economical blended scotch whiskeys -- J&B at around 80% the cost of JW is still pretty competitive. Seems artificially smokey to me - if it were $20/bottle, then I'd understand the appeal, but otherwise it's overpriced for what it is. Still, I agree that it's a fine entry level bottle if you're thinking about dabbling with scotch.
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TheSippingLife TheSippingLife (135)
Rating: 5.0 (2011-03-15)
I agree with the other reviewers: JW Black is about as good a standard Scotch as there could ever be, blended or otherwise. I bought a bottle of this 5 months ago for under $20, and amongst my other bottles its going fast. Unbeatable for the price, whether we e talking other whiskies, or other spirits. It has lots of flavor, dimension, and staying power, and can really prepare a budding enthusiasts palate for riskier Scotch endeavors. An excellent starter whisky.
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manikmathur manikmathur (19)
Rating: 5.0 (2010-12-09)
If there ever will be a benchmark in scotchs, undoubtedly it will be the black label, a scotch which has stood the test of time and has been one of my favorites. An extremely popular scotch with the Indian community , the fact that its a perfect match for a spicy Tandoori chicken could be one of the reasons that i can think off. An excellent scotch with the perfect color and everlasting smoothness.
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Roy Batty Roy Batty (1)
Rating: 5.0 (2008-10-06)
This is my favorite scotch. Innexpensive yet still an excellent bottle. THis is a great place to start if you want to try Scotch Whiskey.
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Phizbin Phizbin (362)
Rating: 4.0 (2008-10-01)
This one of my favorite and standard scotches. Uusually, when I want a scotch, I reach for this one. Inexpensive and smooth.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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  • 088076163171
  • 622153629046
  • 088076171374
  • 088110011307
  • 088110011406
  • 088110011130
  • 089000001118
  • 088110011192
  • 088110011109
  • 5000267098470
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