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Johnnie Walker Black Label 12 Year Old

The good ol' days

5 487

WReview by @Wierdo

4th Aug 2021


Johnnie Walker Black Label 12 Year Old
  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

Thanks to @RianC for this sample of a 1980s Johnnie Walker Black Label.


An interesting nose on this. Breakfast cereal, hint of smoke, white pepper and some wood sourness. It may be my imagination but I can actually pick out the Talisker component of JWB on the nose.


Thin mouthfeel. The smoke is evident immediately on the palate. Some pepper, a malty bread note, sour citrus fruits. With the development it becomes quite creamy and there are buttered crumpets. Strangely I can also pick out one of the component malts on the palate, this time Cragganmore.


Quite a long finish. Becomes wood sour.

With water

(Just a few drops of water added as this is 40% abv)

With the addition of a little water a saltyness emerges on the arrival and the development becomes a bit more drawn out with a new red apple note.


Johnnie Walker Black Label was the Scotch that first piqued my interest nearly 20 years ago. I used to always have a bottle in the cabinet. I most recently had a bottle 2 or 3 years ago and was disappointed. I decided not to go back to it.

The difference in quality between this JWB and the modern one is clear. This is much better. Both more frutier and more smoky. If this was available in shops for £30 I'd always have a bottle open and another in the stash!

Related Johnnie Walker reviews


BlueNote commented

That sounds so much better than the current edition. The best JW I’ve had lately is the 51% Celebretory Blend. Very much old school to my taste.

2 years ago 3Who liked this?

RianC commented

@BlueNote - yeah I'm digging the new centenary blend too.

@Wierdo - glad you enjoyed this but it doesn't seem to have wowed you like me. I was worried all the sloshing around from travel might affect this one as it seemed quite delicate but it could also just be a taste thing, or a bit of both?

2 years ago 1Who liked this?

Wierdo commented

@RianC I enjoyed it and the quality compared to the modern Black Label was clear.

But the older whisky you gave me a sample of that most surprised me was that old Red Label. I couldn't believe that was the same brand that they sell now.

2 years ago 2Who liked this?

Nozinan commented

@Wierdo My late brother in law and I did a taste test 7-8 years ago between an old Red and a new Red - they were 2 completely different beasts...

2 years ago 2Who liked this?

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