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Johnnie Walk Double Black

Average score from 12 reviews and 42 ratings 78

Johnnie Walk Double Black

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Johnnie Walk Double Black

Hi there again, folks, long time no see.

I wrote this review a long time ago, September 2016, and it was high time I posted it here. Oh, btw: first neat, then iceball. Fad back then (check the pic.)

So let's see: an oily-streaked topaz yellow pour with a rather high-intensity nose: mostly scents from an overpeated cask (yeah, I know that's the idea behind the "double black" thing), the likes of cigar box, pipe tobacco, vanilla, pink peppercorn, resin, spruce...

Mouth is surprisingly soft and delicate, even restrained. After those, let me say, "manly" aromas I was expecting a kick to the jaw, but -nope!! Soothing finish with renewed tinges of tobacco.

'Tis nice indeed, but the nose makes promises the mouth can't keep.


The standard Black Label was always my whisky of choice after a few beers, usually swamped with ice and knocked back pretty quickly. Oh how I've changed ;)
I still think the 12 BL is a solid blend but one to catch in the sales as it's gone a bit pricey. In that vein, I saw this on sale for £25 recently and took the plunge, just for a change, you understand?

On the nose it's lovely, actually. A peat note that reminds me of Caol Ila, surprisingly, with lots of charred smoky notes. A little sweetness and fruitiness is there as well. No grain is overtly present but probably adding to the sweet notes.

Taste wise though is where it starts to falter. My first sip was so uninspiring I thought I'd missed my mouth. OK, there's some slight sweet and sour tang that develops into a bitterness. The peat notes seem to have flown away on the sea breeze. What is there isn't unpleasant to be fair, there's just not a lot going on.

Finish is fairly short, bitter tannins and perhaps a slight tang of peat residue clinging on for dear life. A little salty note?

Overall, it's not bad - it's not! - it's just not that inspiring and you feel let down after the promise of the nose. Would I have paid the asking of £40? Hmm! What I will say is that I'm glad i got this on offer and £25 seems about right for this. I rarely mix whisky, maybe the odd Old-Fashioned or a more budget blend on ice but something tells me this would go well in coffee if that's your thing? Perhaps when the cold sets in I'll make a flask to take out on the golf course and top it up with some of this. I'll be getting the 12 in future.

Thanks for the comments, Gents! Liquid smoke, that sums it up nicely.

I picked one up at LAX duty free about 4 or 5 years ago. What I actually wanted was a litre of Ardbeg Ten. There was one on the shelf without the box marked at $51. It was the last one and they could not sell it to me unless they could find the box, which they couldn't. Boarding time was getting closer so I grabbed the Double Black for $40. First off I had to dig out the one way ball from the neck so I could pour it without making a mess. I tasted it a few times over the next couple of months, got the same Liquid Smoke impression as @Victor, and ended up giving the rest away. I should have been a bit more insistent that they sell me the Ardbeg. LAX has possibly the most useless duty free on the planet.


Sweet smoky raw aggressive arrival develops a herbal/fruit balanced middle then a fast short smoke filled finish.

@mct I would says that it is more of a matter of the malting's that were used. Port Ellen would be my guess or perhaps some resources from Caol Ila distillery. More of a case of natural peeted malt. Thanks for your input.

Although the JW Black is a decent blend, I find this Double Black noticeably more peaty and complex. However, for less money I can pick up Ardmore TC, which is even better to me. One thing, once you get about half empty with the DB, you'd better have friends over and finish it off. The smoke and flavor tend to disappear.


Nose: seaside notes of salt and seaweed, medicinal and iodine notes as well. The peat and smoke is quite large but isn't very powerful. Large underlying notes of malted barley and cereal.

Palate: Has a very oily texture, first notes to hit my tastebuds is a massive wave of malt and honeycomb sweetness quickly followed by a oily tasting smoke, also big notes of salt.

Finish: The peat fades, finishes on malty sweetness and sea salt.

Quite a decent blend from JW and much better then there standard black. Still a little bland in flavour and lacking any punch but it should make newcomers to whisky or someone wanting an easy drink quite happy.


A while ago, my buddy Luc H (H for Harley Davidson) handed me a sample to try. Let me know what you think, he said. Later, after I had done so, he let me know what dram it was that I had tasted. Tasting blind: it is always a challenge.

The nose is rather closed and needs some time. After a few moments I get some white fruit and a hint of wet cardboard (not unpleasant, by the way). Even with a bit of handwarmth it remains a silent nose, so to speak. Some citrus and a touch of butterscotch, with a lot of effort. Something that reminds me of lighter filling, like for a Zippo. And something milky. Yoghurt or butter milk. Weird. Finally fish oil.

It is quite oily on the palate and mildly spicy. Some ginger and white pepper. Again white fruit and citrus, but also some caramel. Midpalate I get some brine which points me in the direction of Springbank or Caol Ila, but truth be told I have no idea.

In the rather short finish, it is the brine that dominates.

It is a very soft whisky, in fact, so probably around 43% or 46%, but no cask strength. Having said that, I was not swept away by it. Luc then let me know, after reading this note, that it was in fact the Johnnie Walker Black. I am not particularly surprised.

I picked this one up at a duty free about 6 months ago and have regretted it ever since. There was plenty of choice at the duty free but I decided to give this one a go. It is a bit better now than it was initially, but the Green , the Gold and the standard Black are all much better IMO. It is as if they just dumped some essence of peat and some instant smoke into it. It is going to take me a long time to finish off this 1 litre bottle. I think you might have been more forgiving with this one than I was Mark. Perhaps I'll give it another chance. Cheers.

The liquid smoke/instant smoke is the worst. I think thats what the industry uses to flavor beef jerky...


I picked up this bottle at the airport about a year ago for about 30 euros for a liter bottle. It was introduced as a more smoky counterpart to Johnnie Walker's core black label.

In general, I think that this is a good, but not great, whisky. It is very sippable (and good value for money), but lacks character in any dimension. Hence the title: while it does not lack significantly in any aspect, it never gets really interesting. Anyway, on to the review.

Color: light amber.

Legs: slow, short tears.

Nose: the first impression is raw alcohol; not very comfortable. After a couple of sniffs some nice smoke appears; mouthwatering. Maybe some fruit, but difficult to identify. Melon?

Palate: the whisky starts light and balanced, with some sweetness. Some spice kicks in after about ten seconds, and the mouthful gets oily and nicely chewable. Some oak creeps in too.

Finish: some peat, lots of oak. There is some spice in the mix too. Some wetness while the smoke disappears quickly and the oak goes on to make an enjoyable, lingering finish.


Nose: a fairly pungent alcoholic sting, this is a weird whisky: it creates a lot of impressions but no real flavours. It is smokey, there's peat, oil and brine but these are really fairly broad characteristics and its hard to be more specific

Palate: Heavy alcohol and aggressive smoke. This was a challenge but I got hold some honey and maybe fruit notes. At a push, there's a little hint of pear and tiny vanilla-esque notes

Body: Harsh

Finish: violent tobacco smoke. The finish comes out of nowhere and rounds off an unsatisfying that's entirely lacking in structure

I agree. I would rate it even lower - there's a a bland note to the harshness and little else. My impression was that someone had added Liquid Smoke to Red Label. I almost didn't finish the bottle. Norman

yeah, i've had whiskies I love, and whiskies I hate...I think this commits perhaps an even worse sin of being boring and entirely forgettable! Stephen


Johnnie Walker is heavily promoting its new creation, the Double Black, at least in places where people get in the air. I had the opportunity to sample some drops at Miami International Airport. In fact, JW was present in all duty free shops and even offered the free liquid in special stalls. According to the label, I was facing “a rich, intense smoky blend containing whisky matured in deep-charred old oak casks.” The reasonably knowledgeable and pretty young ladies who poured me the shot confirmed that there is no age statement and that I could purchase two liter bottles for the promotional price of US$80.00. So what is in the Double Black besides the aggressive propaganda campaign? Nose: sweet and smoky, very smooth. Sweetness and smoke smother any other elements and reduce the complexity of the whisky. Palate: confirms the nose, almost sugary sweetness, the smoke tastes almost artificial. Finish: down the throat and the taste disappears. Of course, the smoke lingers a little bit, but not much. I am not sure what JW is aiming at. Smoky single malts have become very competitive on the American market. Does JW want to introduce its smoky line to compete on the market? The result is so-so. Yes, it is highly drinkable, but it is light years away from any deeper complexity. It seems the smoke flavor has been added afterwards – not so different from the artificial bacon and smoke flavor in food (at least in the U.S.). Not very impressive. For a few bucks more you can buy a “real” peated whisky.

A little like Liquid Smoke in a bottle. It seemed to me to taste of 80% peat and smoke and 20% barley-malt. It makes me smile because JW Double Black is sooooo simple. I rather like it, in a guilty pleasure kind of a way. Double Black is "High Art" only in that it fills an unusual sort of niche. I drink it and think "Who would put together a drink like this?" But still, I do get a kick out of it.


Johnnie Black is a standard fair and though its easy to be pretentious and stick with just top shelf single malts - this is a simple whiskey to be enjoyed with friends. The double black however has replaced my standard black on the shelf. It is delightfully smokey and very easy to drink.

I would be interested to try this, I must pick up a bottle!


Nose: Brine,pepper,barbecue smoke ,sherry. i was expecting a more Smoky, and peaty experience, from the “double” black, but the nose is extremely enjoyable with the BBQ notes, brine and the sweeter bits.

Palate: The grain notes stand out at the front, then comes the sweet, sugary stuff, and only later enters the smoke, and BBQed meat. Again, not as smoky as i had expected, but nicely balanced, well combined.

Finish : Sweet, smoky. ending on BBQ again.

Bottom line:

This NAS expression is nicer than the ‘plain’ old Black. It’s wee more smoky,though not peaty, and the extra BBQ notes are quite enjoyable. A solid blended whisky, which does not lack complexity, but is also very drinkable. Too bad it’s currently only available at Travel Retail shops. I can’t belive i am writing this, but – Well done, Diageo.


I consider Johnny Walker Black Label to be a very basic "anyone can drink" type of blended whisky. The double black is really a step up with a rather sweeter and dramatically smokier taste. It still makes you remember the regular black label, but in some ways this is a little more "fun", if that makes sense.

Prefer to drink this one neat.


A member of the family picked up a bottle of this for my birthday. I've been anxious to try it as it's not available in the states (or widely released either). I believe Diageo will be releasing it globally next year. Anywho, I figured I would write a review on this stuff before it hits the main market.

Nose: Pleasant and sweet with hints of peat and honey. Nothing spectacular, but as warm and inviting as many Highland or Speyside bottlings.

Body: Beautifully golden, smooth, and mellow.

Palate: Honeyed barley, but surprisingly dry scotch.

Finish: Rather short. Mostly vegetal; not usually a problem, but none of the other flavors are present which is kind of sad.

Closing Thoughts:

Johnnie Walker describes this as "A rich, intense, smoky blend containing whisky matured in deep charred old oak casks." In my opinion, this is a very polite whisky that seems to play a little too much on the safe side. It's not very rich, nor intense. I think Diageo wants to gain some ground in the peated whisky market, but this will NOT work (Highland Park 12 has more peat than this). Certainly not awful by any means, but I don't think it's going to garner any more sales than the already popular Black Label. I would not be willing to pay over $35 for this.

The packaging is very, very nice. Probably the best looking bottle I've seen since Ardbeg, and the box is even nicer. Good job Mr. Walker. However, about this plastic cap unit with the glass ball: This damn thing pisses me off, pisses me right off. Don't you dare widely release this bottle with this kind of cap. Don't you dare! Go back to the standard cork cap.

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