The John Barr blend was created for the UK market in the 1970s to imitate the recently withdrawn Johnnie Walker Red Label [see below]. So desperate was its owner, DCL, to recover the lost sales from one of its best-selling brands that the original John Barr bottle even mimicked the square-shape made so famous by its predecessor. Unfortunately, it was not a popular dram and was not highly regarded.
Despite a change of ownership, John Barr continues to reflect the brand’s early imitation of Johnnie Walker. Expressions now available include John Barr Finest (red label) – a standard blend – and John Barr Reserve (black label), a smoky blend that contains 40 constituent whiskeys including Speyside and Highland malts up to 15 years old.