Johnnie Walker Black vs Double Black – Differences and Comparison

Abbey Miller
Last Updated on
by Abbey Miller

Johnnie Walker is a premium blended scotch whiskey famous for its different categories such as Red Label, Blue Label, and Black Label.

The main difference between Johnnie Walker Black and Double Black is the aging of the blends. Johnnie Walker Double Black is the younger liquor to Johnnie Walker Black Label.

The maturation in bourbon barrels and the number of years they’ve been on the market are considerably different. For example, Johnnie Walker Black came onto the market in 1909, while Johnnie Walker Double Black came in 2011.

Johnnie Walker Black vs. Double Black: How Do They Compare?

History of Johnnie Walker

Johnnie Walker’s history began over a hundred and fifty years ago in Scotland. In 1820, the family introduced Johnnie Walker to grocery stores in East Ayrshire, Scotland.

During the early 1800s, it was illegal for John Walker to blend malt and grain whiskey. Fortunately, he found a loophole by blending the malts and grains separately.

Over the years, Johnnie Walker has established a worldwide presence. Also, they’re known for producing the highest quality blend of whiskey.

Johnnie Walker Black Label and Double Black are the world’s top two labels among liquor.

Difference Between Johnnie Walker Black and Double Black

Maturation Process

The maturation process for Johnnie Walker Black Label is to mature it in ex-bourbon barrels for at least 12 years. On the other hand, Johnnie Walker Double Black is matured in charred oak barrels for three years.

Johnnie Walker Double Black achieves a smokier profile using a high proportion of Island Whiskey. Black Label is a standard-aged Scottish whiskey and doesn’t elevate intensity.

On the other hand, both are made in Scotland’s corners. The malt whiskies come from the West Coast, while the smokier whiskey flavors come from the East Coast.

Another difference between Black Label vs. Double Black is that Double Black is a lot stronger. The Island Whiskey intensifies the initial quality, creating a stronger taste.

Flavor Notes: Johnnie Walker Black Label

Johnnie Walker Black Label

Johnnie Walker Black Label’s tasting profile is due to the blending of different whiskeys from Scotland. As a result, you get a balanced and straightforward whiskey flavor with Black Label.

Unlike Double Black, Black Label is spicier and has easier drinking qualities.

On the other hand, Double Black is more complex, and the taste builds over time, which is why the aging process is shorter than Black Label.

If you’re trying to compare Johnnie Walker Black Label vs. Double Black, the best way to compare is by finding out what they taste like. Everyone has a different palette, so you can pour a dram and find the flavor notes.


The nose notes between Johnnie Walker Black Label vs. Double Black are notably different. Both are whiskey, but they’re exceedingly different from one another.

On the nose, Johnnie Walker Black has floral notes. As with any alcohol, you may experience a nose note of alcohol when you take a whiff.

Here are the most common nose notes for Johnnie Walker Black Label:

  • Honey
  • Leather
  • Malt
  • Raisins
  • Spice Aromas
  • Subtle Peat Smoke
  • Toasted Oak
  • Tobacco
  • Vanilla

The aroma standpoint has certain flavors that stand out more than others. For example, Johnnie Walker Black Label is a standard gentleman’s whiskey and achieves muted smokiness not to overtake the fruity aromas.

Johnnie Walker Black Label’s fruity aromas include red berry variations like raspberry and blackberry jam and dried fruit with honey undertones.


Johnnie Walker Black Label has hints of spicy and fruity notes as a standard whiskey. However, it’s a smooth and easy-drinking whiskey because Black Label is thin with a rich peak smoke flavor.

The smoothness is like a sweet toffee; however, you’ll taste other flavors like cereal, vanilla, and spice.

The spice and sweetness are well-balanced, giving you stronger and more subtle tasting notes throughout your drink.


Johnnie Walker Black Label’s finish is primarily consistent with peat smoke. The peat smoke combines with subtle hints of black pepper and salt. If you inhale after tasting, you’ll find the aromas of clove cigarettes.

Black Label has a long finish because the flavors stay in your mouth long after you’re finished.

The long finish of Black Label is sweet. You finish with honey, vanilla, and a hint of menthol and smoke.

Flavor Notes: Johnnie Walker Double Black

Johnnie Walker Double Black

On the other hand, Double Black has very different flavor notes. The flavor profile between Johnnie Walker Black Label vs. Double Black begins with the nose notes. As the flavor progresses through your nose and tongue, you notice the two whiskeys are more different.

Here is the nose, palate, and finish of Double Black:


As previously stated, Double Black is made in charred oak barrels. As a result, those barrels present nose notes of earthy and smokey notes.

Here are the nose notes in Double Black:

  • Barrel Char
  • Iodine
  • Leather
  • Malt
  • Medicinal Creosote Peat
  • Raisins
  • Rich Peaty Smoke

Double Black differs from Black Label because the peat smoke is much stronger. In addition, the barrel char and leather create a subtle campfire ambiance.


The nose notes segue perfectly with the palate because Double Black isn’t overly thick. However, Double Black is bold and vibrant, with spice and a large amount of smoke.

Also, the palate of Double Black includes caramel, vanilla, and salted butter.


Double Black’s finish is long and warm due to the combination of spice and sweetness.

Also, the finish includes a rich amount of peat smoke because of the aging process. As you know, it’s processed in charred barrels to achieve the desired level of smokiness.


Both whiskeys have a golden color, similar to caramel.

However, Johnnie Walker Black Label is lighter and more polished, with a color some think of as amber.

Double Black includes subtle hints of copper and red while pouring into a clear glass.

How You Drink It

Both Black Label and Double Black are ideally drunk neat. It’s the best way to experience all the aromas and flavors without interference.

However, many people add water drops to Double Black to open the whiskey flavor.

On the other hand, adding water to Black Label or Double Black keeps the whiskey flavor intact without mixing it with another liquid.

Comparison Chart

Johnnie Walker Black LabelJohnnie Walker Double Black
Maturation12 years, ex-bourbon barrels3 years, charred oak barrels
PalateSweet, FruityBold, Spicy
FinishLongLong, Smokey, Spicy
How To DrinkNeat/With IceNeat/With Water


Johnnie Walker Black Label and Double Black are two great options for a gentleman’s whiskey. The two are different in taste but both achieve a smokey and sweet taste.

Black Label and Double Black compare in the ways that matter. Whether your palate preference is subtle or bold, Johnnie Walker never fails to be sweet and spicy.

Similar Comparison: Jack Daniels vs Jim Beam

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Abbey Miller
Abbey Miller
Abbey grew up in a family with an appreciation for great beers, fine wines, and nuanced Scotch whiskeys. It's no surprise that she studied Hospitality Management and is now a professional working on the world-famous Las Vegas Strip.
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