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Johnnie Walker Double Black Scotch Whisky Review

johnnie walker double blackJohnnie Walker Double Black is the newest addition to the Johnnie Walker family of Scotch whiskies. It was formerly only available in global duty-free shops, but it’s just been released, for a limited time, to the mass market.

Double Black starts with the Black Label template, and from there, it adds peatier malts and malts aged in heavily charred oak barrels – the result being a smokier dram than the original. And while the Black Label is aged for 12 years, Johnnie Walker Double Black carries no age statement.

On the nose, Double Black offers aromas of peat smoke, oak and dried fruits. Take a sip and notice more of that smoke, plus some pleasant tropical fruit notes, vanilla and spice. It’s quite drinkable, with an easy-going mouthfeel and a dry finish, but it’s a bit heavy-handed on the oak, with lots of char coming through.

Johnnie Walker Double Black is certainly no substitute for peaty Islay whiskies like Laphroaig or Bowmore, but it should appeal to fans of Johnnie Walker who’re looking for a whisky with some moderate peat smoke. It’s different enough from its Black Label cousin to warrant sampling, but not so different to alienate drinkers of the original. That said, its similarities – more in name and look than flavor – could result in some cannibalization for the brand.

Look for Double Black on store shelves this fall.

Stats:
- 40% Alcohol by Volume
- $40

Like that? Drink this:
- Black Grouse Scotch Review
- Springbank 10 Year Old Scotch Review
- Auchentoshan 12 Year Old Scotch Review
- Johnnie Walker Platinum Label

Written by Kevin Gray

36 Comments

  1. TRP · October 14, 2011

    Great, everyday scotch! Certainly like it more than standard 12-yr old. Somewhat taste comparable to Ardbeg and Talisker but certainly lighter than Islay single-malts.

  2. Steve · October 15, 2011

    Just found some (Oct 2011)…really enjoy it. Not quite as peaty and heavy as the JW Green, but it’s got more ‘gumption’ than Black. It has a very comfortable place in my lineup: Right between Black and Ciao Islay.

  3. Steve · October 15, 2011

    ..correction: Caol Ila (bloody autocorrect..)

  4. Sushanth · October 17, 2011

    Very good drink!!!Smokey flavour!!!

  5. Jim · October 17, 2011

    Was in NY and they were advertising Double Black like crazy but none of the stores had it…anyone know where I might find a couple of bottles?

  6. Matt J · October 19, 2011

    Jim, They have Johnnie Walker Double Black here in NY @ MarketviewLiqour.com They got a shipment of 20 cases

  7. Brian · October 24, 2011

    I wish I found the Double Black to be as enjoyable as some of the other respondents. I was quite disappointed when I tried it. It has quite a sharp attack which does not really mellow much as it lingers on the pallet. The scotch seems rather young. I even tried to add a few drops of water to see if it opened up a bit, but it still didn’t make this drink very appealing to me. Green Label wasn’t as peaty or smoky in my opinion. (I really like Green Label and love Gold). I must say at the end of the day, I prefer Black Label over DB. For a smokier, drinkable dram, I’ll stick with Lagavulin and Talisker.

  8. Omar S. · October 30, 2011

    I picked up two for $115 dollars at the arrival Duty Free Store in SDQ Airport as I was waiting for my luggage, right before passing thru immigration – Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
    My new favorite for 2011 – 2012 or until something better replace its smokey + smooth + aromatic scotch flavor.

  9. tumi · November 7, 2011

    i found double black to be one of it’s own. i really enjoyed it. this is something to recommend to friends

  10. Walt · November 15, 2011

    Bought a bottle Duty Free on a trip to Japan two weeks ago. This was the most pleasant surprise I’ve had when trying a new Scotch! A traveling companion and I both tried it and at first taste we both lit up and said WOW – that is a very nice Scotch! There were no bottles available on the flight back, and now I’m trying to find some locally here in California. I’ve bought bottles of Blue on similar flights at a great price, but frankly as much as I like Blue, I like the Double Black even more.

  11. Marius · November 15, 2011

    I just bought a bottle today not expecting to stumble across this one at a local shop. It was only about US$2 more than the Black Label so I figured it was reasonably priced. I was trying to research the AGE of this blend, but no luck. Its like every review site has the same damn facts about this blend (copy and paste much?).

  12. Cocktail Enthusiast · November 15, 2011

    Marius – Given that every review site is privy to the same information, and that JW doesn’t give out the age of this bottle — as noted — it makes sense that most sites have the same facts. So no, copying and pasting was not necessary.

    I’d guess that Double Black is a blend of the 12-year Black Label and a handful of younger whiskies. If anyone has other info on this, we’d love to hear it!

  13. H. L. · November 17, 2011

    DB is in Philly!!!
    Just got some!
    Neat Smokey Scotch!
    Love it “Neat”!

  14. KPM · December 4, 2011

    I bought 2 bottles yesterday. I don’t buy blended scotch at all but I bought this because it is a novelty hard to find and it tasted fine to me. I didn’t buy it to compare it with another scotch, doing that is ridiculous. Comparing a single malt to a blended well, whatever. I try to have an open mind when it comes to scotch. Sometimes it takes more than a few drops of water to open up a scotch. I travel to Scotland a bit, and when you go to a highland pub they will give you a pitcher of water not 3 or four drops and not an extra glass to drink water. You pour as much water into your scotch to get it to the point that you enjoy it so that being said experiment with how much water it needs to make you enjoy it.

  15. The Cocktail Chronicles » A drink at Vito’s in Seattle, and a correction– · December 8, 2011

    [...] oz. blended scotch (Gerardy uses the smoke-laden Johnny Walker Double Black, which you should as well — failing that, the peat-enhanced Black Grouse should [...]

  16. chris · December 15, 2011

    its not as good as “the johny”. now thats is a serious one !~

  17. zzo · January 3, 2012

    Just tried it. Did not like at all. Tasted like a dying old campfire, on the nose and palate. I think they just added some Liquid Smoke to some kind of early scotch. Not even close to their other labels.

  18. Stephen Savko · January 13, 2012

    To each his own, but I’ve never tasted a good single malt. They too often taste like the barrel was burned, not charred. Can’t go wrong when knowledgable and experienced distillars can create the taste of a good blend. Just hearing about JW Double Black and can’t wait to try it.

  19. JC · January 14, 2012

    I really enjoy this. My favorite everyday scotch is black label; and oban or dalwhinnie from time to time. For the price, this seems really well put toghether. I need to find more.

  20. LT · January 19, 2012

    Not bad, but how about a nice nod to its predecessor, the original Black Scotch, Loch Dbu.

  21. panyvino · February 4, 2012

    I’m no scotch expert, but you need not be thoroughly versed in malts or blends to know what you like. JWDB just happens to be one that unexpectedly landed softly on my palate. While heavier and more complex malts like Bruichladdich & Laphroaig usually catch my attention they also hold a heavier price tag. For the money (~$40) nothing offered by a mainstream distiller can compare to the DB. The only thing disappointing is that its availability is limited.

  22. sreejith · February 4, 2012

    We Are going to have DOuble Black today . Hope we will see the sunrise tommarow :D

  23. o · February 28, 2012

    I Travel regularly to trinidad & tobago I come back with six bottles of jonnhy double black from trinidad duty free, by far I’ve gotten it in Trinidad duty free as well as London duty free shops.

  24. Lance · March 7, 2012

    So far the best Scotch I’ve ever had the pleasure to quaff. I have never been a Scotch man, but this drink is very inviting, yet, it is withheld from its fullest potential- with- LIMITED AVAILABILITY. Is this a marketing ploy- or is there an actual supply constraint? In any case- GREAT DRINK! Most enjoyable! More please!

  25. Lars · March 16, 2012

    Living in Thailand, a nice single malt is rare to find, but the double black compares to a nice light smoked single. Yeas i like the taste of it and it also has a moderate price here where i live. The double black and gold label are my choice of “poison”

  26. The Mind of Jack Spirko · March 17, 2012

    [...] had a birthday gift for my wonderful wife and Bryan got me a bottle of Johnnie Walker Double Black for a congratulations gift for landing the Beck interview. I am now having a nip on the rocks, my [...]

  27. Wagtail · March 24, 2012

    To answer Lance, I just heard yesterday at the wholesale store, that the PA state store system will not have anymore when the current supply is exhausted. I know that our club bar is one of the very few in Pittsburgh to have it.

    For the price, this is a superb scotch.

  28. DC_drinker · May 4, 2012

    Been drinking JW Black as my every day scotch, came across the dbl Black recently in my local liquor store, great surprise great $40 value. Really like the smokiness and fruity/buttery finish, open with a few drops of water or a small ice cube, will buy again.

  29. Scotch_Drinker in Albany · June 8, 2012

    This Scotch is superb, the taste is so smooth, I hope that they keep it on the store shelves for a long time to come. And for $40 a bottle you can’t beat it. I’m waiting for them to make the half gal. bottle.

  30. alan · September 5, 2012

    I purchsed two bottles on a cruise ship for $74.00

    Has anyone found out why JW doesn’t want to put out it’s age????

  31. Roger · September 29, 2012

    I got a Double Black as a gift. If I could figure out how to open it, I’d love to try it. I’ guess I’m not too smart, but the weird plastic thing has me beat. H E L P ! !

  32. johnnie peters · October 20, 2012

    I love it. Thank you

  33. LaJ · November 12, 2012

    Just tried Double Black for the first time and I really enjoyed it. Very smooth and quite enjoyable. Had a very hard time finding it but to my suprise my local Costco in Novato CA. has it.

  34. anthony · November 24, 2012

    This is a weak, run of the mill scotch that is just a sales gimmick at best. I rate it at 79/100. The quality scotches are the single malts, Lagavulin, Laphroaig, Compass Box Peat Monster is great.

  35. Mikeg · December 17, 2012

    Just got some for a secret Santa and I have to say while it is definatly a good drink they definatly went to hard on the charcole. I will most certainly be sticking with the original black.

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