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Published on June 19, 2023.

Check out the historical timeline of Johnnie Walker.

In 1820, a young farmer’s son started his own grocer’s shop in the thriving town of Kilmarnock. His father had died the year before and the farm sold. It was a tough start in life, but there was always something special about John. A glint in his eye. A fire in his belly. Within the year, the family farm had been sold and the money used to set him up with his own grocer’s shop in the thriving local town of Kilmarnock. Most grocers stocked a line of single malts, but they were never consistent. John did not like this and started blending them together to create a whisky that tasted consistently good. When John passed away after a full and prosperous life in 1857, he left his son, Alexander, with a very healthy business. 

In 1867, Alexander introduces the iconic slanted label and square bottle. This distinction allowed Johnnie Walker Whiskey to stand out on the shelf. Then in 1908, the iconic image of the striding man was created by Tom Browne to reflect the energetic brand. They also renamed their whiskie after the colour of the label; Johnnie Walker’s Red Label and Black Label were born. 


In 1920, the whiskies became available in 120 countries, becoming a part of global culture and immortalised in pop culture in songs and films. This all led to a Royal Warrant by Kind George V in 1934. 


Today, Johnnie Walker continues to be a growing success with its slogan ‘Keep Walking’ being embraced everywhere. It has become a rallying cry for progress and encouragement for adversity and optimism. Their range continues to grow as they push the boundaries as a company. 

Black Label Blended Scotch Whiskys iconic square bottle makes it one of the world’s most recognisable Scotch whiskies – and it’s also one of whisky critic Jim Murray’s favourite blends: ‘If there is a silkier delivery on the market today, I have not seen it: this is sublime stuff…one of the world’s most masterful whiskies back in all its complex glory’


Red Label Blended Scotch Whisky has distinctive and exuberant flavours, is a classic blended Scotch whisky. It’s an aromatic Scotch with notes of juniper, fruit and a finish of spice and ginger.


Gold Label Reserve Blended Scotch Whisky is an award-winning Scotch, made from vibrant whiskies chosen for their sweet, honeyed qualities.


Blue Label Blended Scotch Whisky is the most prestigious whisky. Probably THE most famous super-premium blend, made up of the finest old-aged malt and grain whiskies. The Crystal of the blended whisky world. Blue Label’s bold, multi-layered palate and silky delivery ensure that it sits unchallenged at the top of the Johnnie Walker pile.


Double Black Blended Scotch Whisky is an interesting twist on Johnnie Walker Black Label, Double Black was rolled out for general release in 2011 after a successful launch in travel retail. Double Black adds to the normal Black Label profile by including more Islay whisky and casks that have been heavily charred, giving a more intense flavour with a greater emphasis on smoke while keeping true to the sophisticated Johnnie Walker style.

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About the author

Chloe Lewis

Chloe looks after all copywriting and proof-reading for Drink Warehouse UK, working with the Marketing team to deliver educational content to all our customers. She has spent many years in the hospitality sector, moving from behind the bar to now helping venues to stock their own. You can find more from Chloe about beer, cider, spirits, wine, non-alcoholic, soft drinks and RTDs all over our blogs, website, social media and Set The Bar magazine. 

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