Walker’s story began in Kilmarnock, Scotland, a humble beginning for what would later become a global dynasty. As a young man, Walker left the family farm to follow his entrepreneurial spirit. He became a grocer, trading a wide variety of goods; tea was his specialty. It was his skill at blending tea leaves that gave Walker the idea for blending grain and malt whiskies to create a smoother drink and more consistent quality.
Walker’s son Alexander continued to build the family Scotch Dynasty, when he joined the family business in 1856. Advertising had not yet caught on as a marketing vehicle, so Walker turned to other means to make the product memorable to consumers. In 1867, Alexander registered his signature black and gold slanting label, a design that is strikingly similar to the present Black Label®. When copyrights became available in 1876, Walker added that measure of protection. By that time, Walker's whisky was already in its characteristic and revolutionary square bottle.
Upon his death in 1889, Alexander Walker passed on the business to his three sons: John, George Paterson and Alexander II. It was Alexander II who continued the family expertise in blending, while George bears responsibility for the marketing innovation that endures today.
The earliest ads for the Walker family whisky appeared in the late 1800s. However, it wasn’t until after the turn of the century that the familiar Walker & Sons logo was born. In 1909, George Walker hired popular cartoonist Tom Browne to create a logo. For his subject, Browne turned to a likeness of John Walker. Initially attired in a top hat, waistcoat and high boots, the famous figure has changed his clothes several times and even adopted a few positions, but he has continued to communicate progress and forward movement – two attributes that are still championed by the brand today.
To accompany the Striding Man, the tagline “Keep Walking” was later incorporated and is undeniably one of the most memorable world-wide advertising campaigns today. It captures the journey of progress and showcases Johnnie Walker’s commitment to evolution and success. The original line “Born 1820, still going strong” used in 1908 may no longer be in print, but it too still holds true today.
The Walker family used their encyclopaedic knowledge of Scotland’s malts to create a blend with universal appeal. The result? RED LABEL became the world’s favourite whisky, a position it still holds today. Developed for an export market with a taste for long, refreshing drinks, it’s the label that built the Walker empire, and the brand that defined the whisky business.
|Region Produced in||Kilmarnoch|
|Cask||American white oak casks|
|Tasting Notes||The character of the whisky is defined by intense, spicy, zingy, edgy flavours. RED LABEL bursts onto the palate with the freshness of spray from a crashing wave, followed by the zing of aromatic spices and finally a long, lingering, smoky finish. The sensation in the mouth is complex sweet chilli is a good description of this taste and the tingling sensation on the tongue.|
Whisky expert Dave Broom says of RED LABEL, This is outdoors, this is setting off on your bike along the coast with the wind blowing in your face, the surf is up, the wind is whipping the grass, there is salt in the air, spring is turning to summer. RED LABEL combines distinctiveness, passion and character with style and personality.
|Storage Instructions||Cool and dry conditions|
|Manufacturer/Producer||John Walker & Sons|
|Country Produced in||Scotland|