Drink Review: John Walker & Sons King George V

October 6, 2020
3 mins read

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A special extension of the Johnnie Walker range, King George V celebrates the first Royal Warrant granted to John Walker and Sons Ltd to supply Scotch whisky to the British Royal Household in 1934, and is apparently designed to recreate how JW might have tasted back in the day. Some Port Ellen has been used, alongside Cardhu, Lochnagar and some very old grain whisky.

Johnnie Walker King George:


The Johnnie Walker King George V is presented in a bottle signed by the Queen and with a red wax seal containing the royal crest. The presentation box is simple brown cardboard with a gold (metallic) printed design.

Colour and clarity:

The colour is a light lightish gold.


Cinnamon, honey, cooked apples, earl grey tea, vanilla, plum and raisins.


Sweet, honeyed apples, vanilla and citrus with some spicy tannic sharpness.


The finish is gentle and a little drying with citrus and faint spice swirling around in the aftertaste.

Balance, harmony and complexity:

Brilliantly balanced and rounded.

This is a seriously tasty dram. You don’t need to be the Queen to enjoy this whisky; just relax and savour.


Johnnie Walker King George Review 1:

The Johnnie Walker King George V takes the style of whisky that you expect from Johnnie Walker and gives it a little edge. It’s elderflower and citrus, it’s honey and cinnamon. It’s pleasantly spicy, fruity and a little floral. It’s sweet, but with a decent spiciness and a lovely mouthfeel. In short it’s different to other Johnnie Walker expressions, but it’s by no means bad. The Johnnie Walker King George V shares qualities with older Johnnie Walker’s but is also quite fresh.


Johnnie Walker King George Review 2:

Back in the 1920’s and 30’s John Walker & Sons Ltd was the Royal Family’s favourite whisky supplier. They held the Royal Warrant to supply whisky to the British Royal Household for almost two decades, from 1897-1925. For the last 70 odd years they’ve been trying to gain that Royal Warrant back, to no avail.

The Johnnie Walker King George V Scotch Whisky was released in 2005, so is Johnnie Walker’s response to the Royal Warrant? If so, it’s working, as we got this bottle from a friend who works for Buckingham Palace and apparently the Queen likes it. The Queen’s certainly welcome to it, as it’s a cracking dram and one I want to enjoy for any occasion.


Johnnie Walker King George Review 3:

When you look at some whiskies there’s a certain je ne sais quoi about them, a great visual that tells you all you need to know about what the whisky is like. The Johnnie Walker King George V is similar to that, it’s a stunning looking bottle. But it doesn’t say anything about the whisky on the front of it. Thankfully when you see what’s inside you’ll see why every bottle is individually numbered.

The Johnnie Walker King George V is individually bottled. One hundred and sixty three bottles came from a single hogshead, No.1,416 from the Walker-Gordon Co Ltd Distillery. Only one of two hogsheads of the specific Port Ellen used in this bottling. The Port Ellen whisky comes from the very top of Port Ellen and is the only whisky of that vintage used in this bottling.

The whiskies used come from a variety of distilleries including a 15-year-old Lochnagar single malt, a 8-years-old Cardhu, a 22-year-old Port Ellen single grain and a 26-year-old Lochnagar, while the fillers are 21-year-old’s from Cardhu and 21-year-old’s from Glenkinchie and Speyside.

The Johnnie Walker King George V is an international blend, with a predominantly Speyside-Glenlivet character. The whiskies used in this blend were all distilled under close observation with a keen eye for quality.

The minimum 38 years that the component whiskies were aged for means this blend is most definitely a special release, which is reflected in its price point.


Johnnie Walker King George Review 4:

When you see the Johnnie Walker King George V in the bottle, the predominant visual is the golden colour, it’s beautiful. On the nose it really kicks off with some sweet honeyed apples, honey and vanilla, some citrus and a little spicy tannic sharpness and a faint spice. After a minute or so you get some lovely ripe fig notes in there too.

It’s a sweet nose with a lovely fullness to it and some pleasant burnt brown sugar and vanilla. It’s a lighter, fresher fruitiness here than in some of the big neighbourhood JW’s.

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