Johnnie Walker Red Label is the world’s best selling Scotch Whisky. It’s a versatile spirit that acts as a perfect entry point to the Diageo-owned brand’s range. Whiskies from the four corners of Scotland go into its creation, making it also an excellent beach head for blended Scotch in general. And heck, Elliott Smith was a fan.
Made from a mix of up to 30 malts and grains, Red Label features a combination of light whiskies from Scotland’s East Coast and more peaty whiskies from the West, which come together to create a well-balanced spirit.
On the nose, there’s zest and peat smoke due to the Islay Whiskies used in the blend. The palate features spicy cinnamon and black papers along with dried herbs and red fruits. The finish is long and smoky with some bitterness.
It’s a Whisky that’s meant to be used in a highball, but also works great in more complex cocktails. If you’re looking to mix something up, the company recommends a Bobby Burns:
- • 2 oz Johnnie Walker Red Label
- • 0.75 oz sweet vermouth
- • 0.50 oz Benedictine
- • 2 dashes aromatic bitters
Combine all the ingredients in an ice-filled mixing glass and stir well. Strain and serve neat in a cocktail glass.
Founder John Walker was a grocer and tea blender, and also, ironically, a teetotaler. He began to blend Whisky after The Excise Act of 1823 relaxed strict laws on distillation of whisky and reduced the extremely heavy taxes on the distillation and sale of Whisky. It also appeased his customers. Today, the brand is owned by spirits giant Diageo.
The other Whiskies in Johnnie Walker’s core range are Black Label, Double Black, Green Label, Gold Label Reserve, Aged 18 Years, and Blue Label.