Johnny Walker is a brand owned by Diageo which originated in Kilmarnock, Ayrshire.
It is the most widely distributed blended scotch in the world and is sold in almost every single country with annual sales of 226 million bottles in 2015.
Originally a single-malt known as “Walker’s Kilmarnock Whisky”, it began when John “Johnnie” Walker started to sell it in his grocery store in Ayrshire – but it was later it was made successful by his son Alexander Walker and his grandson Alexander Walker II.
Prior to 1860 it was illegal to sell blended whisky in the UK, before that time JW sold a number of single malts – until 1867 when he created a blend called “Old Highland Whisky” and convinced ship captains to take his whisky wherever their boats were going and sell it, it wasn’t long before the whisky had reached the most of the world.
The reason behind the square bottle and 24 degree label is that it meant fewer bottle would break on the boats and the label at this angle allows for larger text meaning more visibility.
Diageo received a lot of negative publicity when they acquired Johnny Walker and moved production to Leven, Fife and Glasgow as the distillery in Kilmarnock was the largest employer in the town.
Other Products: (notes on these will follow)
Red Label: A blend of 35 grain and malt whiskies. Intended for mixing.
Black Label: A blend of 40 12yo whiskies. Uses Coal Ila and Talisker dominantly.
Green Label: A 15yo blended malt. Uses Talisker, Linkwood, Cragganmore & Coal Ila.
Gold RSV: A blend using over 15 single malts, particularly Clynelish.
Blue Label: AKA Max Walker.19th century style. One of the most expensive blends.