Johnnie Walker is world-renowned for its repertoire of color-coded whiskies. Today, we’ll look at one of their most elusive and confusing offers, Johnnie Walker Green Label.
Like with all their labels, Green Label is a specially blended mix of grains and malts from all across the Scottish Isles. It’s a celebration of Scottish Whisky and an homage to their long history of making some of the best fire-water out there.
If you’re curious about Johnnie Walker Green or considering buying yourself a bottle, take a chance to read through our guide where we’ve broken the spirit down in detail.
We looked at its flavor profile, nose, and finish, as well as how it stacks up against drinks of a similar cost.
Johnnie Walker Green Label Review
Johnnie Walker Green Label markets itself as being a premium quality whisky available at a fraction of the cost.
It can be difficult to get your hands on a bottle. The range was quietly discontinued in 2012 only to be reintroduced to the market around 2016. Fluctuating scarcity resulted in confusion around the brand’s quality, which made the price of a bottle different from store to store.
Green Label is a blended whiskey, made from malts from the four whisky regions of Scotland. Single malts from Talisker, Linkwood, and Caol Lla distilleries are tasted and blended in secret ratios to produce a bottle of Green Label.
The spirits that make up Johnnie Walker Green are all at least 15 years old before they are blended. It is bottled at 86 proof (43% alcohol by volume) and available in standard 25oz bottles or taste samples.
- Rarity makes this a collector’s item.
- A well-rounded whisky suitable for most palates.
- Good value for money.
- Lacks depth of flavor.
- Difficult to find.
Now that we’ve covered the basics we can get down to brass tacks, what is it like to drink, and should you buy it? We tested Green Label ourselves to help you out.
In this guide, we’ll look at how the whisky shapes up. We tested the flavor, aroma, appearance, and finish of the drink and compared it against other whiskies in a similar price range.
Johnnie Walker Green Label has a rich caramel color.
Giving it a swirl in a tumbler shows good, streaky legs that cling to the sides for a decent while. There’s not much oil, so they slip away before too long.
It’s crystal clear in a glass. The color is appropriately reminiscent of a babbling stream, considering its rural Scottish origins.
Green Label smells like no other whisky we’ve tested.
It’s much livelier than other whiskies. Notes of damp grass, straw, and vanilla make for a surprisingly fresh and vibrant aroma.
The scent is light and pleasant. Wisps of alcohol will make your nose twitch before subtle oak notes make themselves known at the back of the nose.
If you like your whiskies nice and smoky, you might be a bit disappointed. Green Label has the characteristic smoky scent from being aged in charred oak barrels, but it’s not particularly prominent.
The more noticeable notes are that of vanilla, pepper, and aromatic spices.
Whisky is best tasted in stages. The first taste highlights the sweeter notes of the drink. Summer fruit like crisp apples and pears give it a lovely, jumpy sweetness that keeps the drink feeling alive.
After the initial sweet taste subsides, you can get a feeling for the deeper flavors hidden in the glass. There are rich, nutty flavors like sandalwood, cinnamon, and oak that coat the inside of the mouth and middle palate.
Like with the nose, the smokiness of the drink is quite understated. For people who are new to drinking whisky, this can be a positive. Some palates find the smoky taste of whisky overwhelming and unpleasant.
But more seasoned palates might find it unchallenging. While Green Label is certainly a pleasant drink, it’s lacking in some of the depth and complexities of competing spirits.
Green Label’s finish is light and inoffensive without being particularly remarkable.
Without the smoky, peaty notes to carry some of the deeper flavors, there’s not much of a sensation in the mouth after swallowing.
The flavors that do remain are pleasant. The sides of the tongue feel a light, tangy burn that comes from the pinch of spice in the blend.
Sweet notes from the tasting mature into richer flavors like sultanas and molasses. There’s a hint of straw at the back of the mouth that keeps the drink dry and refreshing. There’s something about the finish that makes you instantly thirsty for another sip.
Because of its low oil content, the finish is quite short. This makes it a great afternoon sundowner that can be sipped slowly over an afternoon without becoming too heavy or overbearing.
A bottle of Johnnie Walker Green Label averages between $50 and $65.
This is competitively priced for what it offers. While it might not be the most challenging or complex whisky, it suits most people’s palates. You’re unlikely to find a whisky drinker who would turn their nose up at Green Label.
But there are other brands you could consider for a similar price if you’re looking for something different. Lagavulin, the favored drink of Ron Swanson, is a single malt whisky in a similar price range. It’s got a much heavier smoky taste if that’s what you’re after.
If you like your whisky subtle and understated, Japanese is also an option. Nikka has a wide range of whiskies for a similar price. Japanese whiskies are known for being less smoky and intense than their western counterparts.
There’s a lot of competition for a good whisky in the $65 range. Green Label certainly performs well among its peers, but there are other options you can consider.
The price progression for Johnnie Walker colors is as follows:
For what you get in a bottle, Johnnie Walker Green Label is excellent value for money.
While it doesn’t pack the punch that a single malt does, for a blended whisky there’s plenty to be impressed with.
A crowd-pleaser in every sense, Green Label is able to bridge the gap between whisky snobs and novice palates.
Whether you drink it neat, with a splash of water, on the rocks, or even drowning in Coke, you’ll never really go wrong with a drink of Johnnie Green.
So grab some glasses, gather your friends, pour one out for your ancestors, and drink up.