Johnnie Walker

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Johnnie Walker
Johnnie Walker logo.svg
TypeScotch whisky
ManufacturerDiageo
Country of originKilmarnock, Scotland
Introduced1820: Grocery store
1865: Scotch blending
DiscontinuedWhite Label
Variants

Red Label, Black Label, Double Black Label, Swing Label, Swing Superior Label, Green Label, Green Label 180 Cask, Pure Malt Label, Gold Label, Gold Label Reserve, Platinum Label, XR 21 Years Label, Blue Label,

Blue Label King George V, The John Walker
Related productsBallantine's, Buchanan's, Chivas Regal, Cutty Sark, Dewar's, Vat 69
 
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Johnnie Walker
Johnnie Walker logo.svg
TypeScotch whisky
ManufacturerDiageo
Country of originKilmarnock, Scotland
Introduced1820: Grocery store
1865: Scotch blending
DiscontinuedWhite Label
Variants

Red Label, Black Label, Double Black Label, Swing Label, Swing Superior Label, Green Label, Green Label 180 Cask, Pure Malt Label, Gold Label, Gold Label Reserve, Platinum Label, XR 21 Years Label, Blue Label,

Blue Label King George V, The John Walker
Related productsBallantine's, Buchanan's, Chivas Regal, Cutty Sark, Dewar's, Vat 69

Johnnie Walker is a brand of Scotch Whisky owned by Diageo and originated in Kilmarnock, Ayrshire, Scotland.

It is the most widely distributed brand of blended Scotch whisky in the world. It is sold in almost every country, with yearly sales of over 130 million bottles.[1]

In 2011, the brand sold over 1 million cases in the USA, Brazil and Thailand. It sold more than 500,000 cases in Mexico and Australia.

History[edit]

Underground to Wood Lane to anywhere: International Advertising Exhibition at White City, 29 November to 4 December 1920. Advertising poster by Frederick Charles Herrick for London Underground transportation to an exhibition at White City, showing an assemblage of characters representing various advertising trademarks and emblems, including Bibendum, the Michelin Man; Johnnie Walker; and the Kodak Girl, in an Underground station displaying advertising posters.

Originally known as Walker's Kilmarnock Whisky, the Johnnie Walker brand is a legacy left by John "Johnnie" Walker after he started to sell whisky in his grocer's shop in Ayrshire, Scotland. The brand became popular, but after Walker's death in 1857 it was his son Alexander Walker and grandson Alexander Walker II who were largely responsible for establishing the whisky as a popular brand. Under John Walker, whisky sales represented eight percent of the firm's income; by the time Alexander was ready to pass on the company to his own sons, that figure had increased to between 90 and 95 percent.[2]

Prior to 1860 it was illegal to sell blended whisky.[3] During that time John Walker sold a number of whiskies—notably his own Walker's Kilmarnock. In 1865 John's son Alexander produced their first blend, Walker's Old Highland.

Alexander Walker introduced the iconic square bottle in 1870. This meant fewer broken bottles and more bottles fitting the same space. The other identifying characteristic of the bottle is the label, which is applied at an angle of 24 degrees. The angled label means the text on the label could be made larger and more visible.[4]

From 1906 to 1909 John's grandsons George and Alexander II expanded the line and introduced the colour names. In 1908, when James Stevenson was the Managing Director, there was a re-branding of sorts. The whisky was renamed from Walker's Kilmarnock Whiskies to Johnnie Walker Whisky. In addition, the slogan, "Born 1820—Still going Strong!" was created, along with the Striding Man logo, a figure used in their advertisements to this day,created by illustrator Tom Browne, in honour of the founder, and given the same name.

Johnnie Walker White was dropped during World War I. In 1932, Alexander II added Johnnie Walker Swing to the line, the name originating from the unusual shape of the bottle, which allowed it to rock back and forth.

The company joined Distillers Company in 1925. Distillers was acquired by Guinness in 1986, and Guinness merged with Grand Metropolitan to form Diageo in 1997.

Johnnie Walker is no longer blended in Kilmarnock, and has not been for many years. The bonded warehouses and company offices (now local authority) can still be seen in Strand Street and John Finnie Street.

On 1 July 2009, Bryan Donaghey, Diageo Managing Director for Global Supply Scotland, announced that Diageo intended to cease production at the plant in Kilmarnock. Under a restructuring programme across Scotland, production would be moved from the brand's original home to Diageo plants in Leven, Fife, and Shieldhall, Glasgow.

News of the planned closure had widespread media attention and condemnation. Following the decision, a public campaign was waged to try to persuade Diageo to reverse this decision. However on 9 September 2009 Diageo stated that they intended to press ahead with the move away from Kilmarnock and that the matter was "closed".[5]

The Johnnie Walker plant, the largest employer in the town of Kilmarnock, closed its doors in March 2012.[6]

Blends[edit]

For most of its history Johnnie Walker only offered a few blends. In recent years there have been several special and limited bottlings.

Standard blends[edit]

Johnnie Walker Blue label bottle in a gift box.
Johnnie Walker blends, by years of production, and from least expensive to most expensive.
Age1865–19051906–19081909–19111912–19311932–19911992–19961997–20122013—
young
(blended)
Old HighlandJohnnie Walker
White Label
Johnnie Walker
Premix / One
none given
(blended)
Special
Old Highland
Johnnie Walker
Red Label
12
(blended)
Walker’s
Old Highland
Extra Special
Old Highland
Johnnie Walker
Black Label
none given[11]
(blended)
Johnnie Walker
Double Black Label
none given[7]
(blended)
Johnnie Walker
Swing
15
(blended malt)
Johnnie Walker
Green Label
15/18/none
(blended)
Johnnie Walker
Gold Label
Johnnie Walker
Gold Label Reserve
18
(blended)
Johnnie Walker
Platinum Label
none given
(blended)
Johnnie Walker
Blue Label

Special/limited bottlings[edit]

Marketing[edit]

Every type of Johnnie Walker scotch has a label colour as previously noted, except for the aforementioned Swing label. The purpose is to denote the different types of scotch and to position them to be used for different occasions. For example, Johnnie Walker Blue Label is rare and expensive, and so it is intended to be used for special occasions.[citation needed]

A key feature of every bottle of Johnnie Walker scotch is the Striding Man logo. It was created in 1908 by illustrator Tom Browne to be a likeness of John Walker in traditional attire. In the logo, the man is walking forward, which Diageo says symbolises forward thinking and the pursuit of excellence. Diageo has created "The Striding Man Society",[23] which is a members club for Johnnie Walker drinkers.

Another key aspect of its marketing is the slanted label, which is angled at exactly 24 degrees. This was an advertising tool developed by Alexander Walker, who thought it would help his bottles stand out on the shelf.[24]

In 2009, the advertising agency Bartle Bogle Hegarty created a new short film, starring Robert Carlyle and called The Man Who Walked Around the World, which outlined the history of the Johnnie Walker brand.[4]

In 2013, ahead of the sixth season of Mad Men, an ad campaign, featuring Christina Hendricks, was launched.[citation needed]

Accolades[edit]

Johnnie Walker spirits have generally received strong scores at international Spirit ratings competitions and from liquor review bodies. The Green Label, for example, received an extraordinary string of three double gold medals from the San Francisco World Spirits Competition between 2005 and 2007.[25] The Gold Label received double gold medals from the San Francisco competition in 2008 and 2009 and won a gold in 2010.[26] Spirits ratings aggregator proof66.com, which averages scores from the San Francisco Spirits Competition, Wine Enthusiast, and others, puts the Black, Blue, Gold and Green Labels in its highest performance category ("Tier 1" Spirits).[27] Johnnie Walker spirits have several times taken part in the Monde Selection’s World Quality Selections and have consistently received a Gold and Grand Gold Quality Award.[28]

In popular culture[edit]

Celebrities[edit]

Film[edit]

Music[edit]

Television[edit]

Sponsorships[edit]

Johnnie Walker sponsors

Gallery[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Not Available". Johnniewalker.com. Retrieved 2012-11-03. 
  2. ^ Cigaraficionado.com[dead link]
  3. ^ MacLean, Charles. Scotch Whisky: A Liquid History. ©2003 Charles MacLean & Cassell Illustrated. London, England. (ISBN 1-84403-078-4)
  4. ^ a b "2009 promotional film: ''The Man Who Walked Around the World''". Youtube.com. 2010-07-18. Retrieved 2012-11-03. 
  5. ^ "Johnnie Walker jobs plan rejected". BBC News. September 9, 2009. Retrieved May 7, 2010. 
  6. ^ "Johnnie Walker whisky plant closes in Kilmarnock". BBC News. BBC. 23 March 2012. Retrieved August 7, 2012. 
  7. ^ a b One Sweet Swing | Travel + Leisure Golf
  8. ^ Mixing use per http://us.johnniewalker.com
  9. ^ Manchester, William (October 1988) [1988]. "The Lion Caged". The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill, Alone 1932–1940 (Revised ed.). p 10: Little, Brown and Co. p. 756. ISBN 0-316-54512-0.  Unknown parameter |origmonth= ignored (help)
  10. ^ "Weeklystandard.com". Weeklystandard.com. 2008-09-22. Retrieved 2012-11-03. 
  11. ^ a b Miller, Jared T. (2013-05-10). "Johnnie Walker adds Double Black to whisky line". Daily News. Retrieved 2013-05-27. 
  12. ^ "Johnnie Walker Green Discontinued". www.scotch-tasting-bums.com. 2012-01-16. Retrieved 2012-11-29. 
  13. ^ The Whisky Exchange http://www.thewhiskyexchange.com/P-557.aspx |url= missing title (help). 
  14. ^ Dominic, Roskrow. The Whisky Tasting Club - UK http://thewhiskytastingclub.co.uk/Blogs/domblog/2011/12/20/green-label/ |url= missing title (help). 
  15. ^ "Jason's Scotch Whisky Reviews". Retrieved 2 August 2013. 
  16. ^ "Product Information". Lcbo.ca. Retrieved 2012-11-03. 
  17. ^ "Johnnie Walker - Blue Label - Blended Scotch Whisky - 1 Ltr - 43% ABV: Amazon.co.uk: Grocery". Amazon.co.uk. 2012-04-16. Retrieved 2012-11-03. 
  18. ^ "Johnnie Walker Blue Scotland Scotch 750ml". Wineanthology.com. Retrieved 2012-11-03. 
  19. ^ "Explorers' Club Collection". http://www.johnniewalker.com/. Retrieved 2012-12-29. 
  20. ^ "Tasmanian Whisky Appreciation Society". http://www.twas.com.au/. Retrieved 2012-12-29. 
  21. ^ Strenio, Andrew (2011-10-14). "That's the Spirit: Johnnie Walker Double Black". Serious Eats. Retrieved 2013-05-27. 
  22. ^ a b Johnniewalker.com
  23. ^ "Johniewalker.com". Johnniewalker.com. Retrieved 2012-11-03. 
  24. ^ "Johnniewalker". Us.johnniewalker.com. Retrieved 2012-11-03. 
  25. ^ "Proof66.com Summary of Green Label Awards". Retrieved 2012-10-16. 
  26. ^ "Proof66.com Summary of Gold Label Awards". Retrieved 2012-10-16. 
  27. ^ "Proof66.com Website". Retrieved 2012-10-16. 
  28. ^ Marc Guison (2012-02-08). "Awards". Slideshare.net. Retrieved 2012-11-03. 
  29. ^ Brown, Craig (2012-03-21). "Christopher Hitchens's Diary". Vanity Fair. Retrieved 2012-11-03. 
  30. ^ Small, Melvin (2011). A Companion to Richard M. Nixon. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell. ISBN 978-1-4443-3017-5. 
  31. ^ "Blade Runner Whiskey Bottle". 
  32. ^ "Krzysztof Klenczon - Port (on YouTube)". 
  33. ^ "ABC Revenge Season 2 Episode 8 recap". 
  34. ^ http://www.supernaturalwiki.com/index.php?title=3.15_Time_Is_on_My_Side#Trivia_.26_References
  35. ^ "John Spencer on Scotch". 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 55°36′52″N 4°30′04″W / 55.61444°N 4.50111°W / 55.61444; -4.50111