Johnnie Walker is the most recognizable name in whiskey. Even non-whiskey drinkers know the brand. The JW brand can be traced back to John Walker’s grocery store in the early 1800s, when he started selling whisky and other spirits. It was illegal to sell blended whisky in Scotland until 1860. A few years later, John’s son Alexander began selling their own blended whisky, “Old Highland Whisky.” The brand’s famous slanted label came about in the 1870s, allowing larger fonts and more text on the label. The signature square bottle was already in place. In 1906, the 12 year old Black Label was introduced and two years later the brand changed names from Old Highland Whisky to Johnnie Walker. Currently, the range of the primary line of the brand includes the Red Label, 12 year old Black Label, the smoky Double Black, Gold Label Reserve, Platinum Label and the top-of-the-line Blue Label. There are also limited and one-time offerings, including the 15 year old Green Label and Johnnie Walker Swing.
The Black Label is a 12-year old blended Scotch whisky consisting of about 40 different malt and grain whiskies, each aged at least 12 years. It is one of the biggest selling blended whiskies in the world, if not the biggest.