A masterpiece of the blender’s art— Johnnie Walker Blue Label is Scotland in a glass.
Undoubtedly, Johnnie Walker is the world’s most popular Scotch whisky brand. It has been around for almost 200 years. Produced by Diageo in Scotland, the iconic trademark has made a name for itself through its smooth and complex taste, along with its heritage and story. As the brand offers many types of Scotch whiskies, The Blue Label has to be their most prestigious blend. Since its debut in 1992, this blend has been very selective and unique compared to the other bottles. What is the reason behind that? Let’s find out, as Ewan Gunn is here to explain why.
[Hero & Feature Images Courtesy of Diageo]
Recently, Diaego hosted a Johnnie Walker Blue Label dinner in Bangkok at the Park Hyatt, where we met Ewan Gunn. Ewan is Diaego’s Senior Global Scotch Whisky Brand Ambassador and has worked with Johnnie Walker for 12 years. Having worked in the whisky industry since he graduated from university, Gunn is a connoisseur in this field. However, besides selling the product, he loves sharing his knowledge to make people understand and fall in love with whisky as much as he does.
What makes an exceptional whisky?
The liquid must have complexity and depth of character. There should be nuances of flavours like delicate sweet notes and a touch of smoke. However, it’s also about the great heritage and story which Johnnie Walker has. It’s also not merely just about the liquor inside the bottle. It’s the people who make it, too. “The distilleries and the people there have been around for hundreds of years. They contribute to making an exceptional whisky.”
Johnnie Walker Blue Label
Why is it special?
As Diageo holds more than eleven million casks in Scotland, Blue Label undergoes a very selective process. The exquisite blend combines the country’s rarest and most remarkable whiskies, where only one in ten thousand casks are deemed worthy of producing Blue Label. This selectivity aids in Blue’s distinctive character, aroma, and taste.
Blue also uses whisky from all over the country. “It’s Scotland in a glass.” Besides being from different regions of Scotland, the blenders also select each cask individually. Thereby, the process of making Blue includes a broad range of ages. The label doesn’t have an age number, and “all the great flavours of Scotland are brought together in harmony.” With that, it’s recent edition to the brand, Johnnie Walker Blue Label Ghost and Rare, includes a blend of eight Scotch whiskies, where three “ghost” whiskies are from silent distilleries.
For those who aren’t whisky people, Ewan tells us to try Blue Label neat, but to sip cold water first to cleanse the palette. Once ingested, you immediately experience huge richness, depth, and complexity. Although the aroma and flavours are always talked about when it comes to whisky, with Blue, there is also texture. Its velvety and smooth consistency, almost creamy, in the palette, makes Blue Label different to other whiskies. Another difference is that the more time you spend with it, the more it evolves in the glass. “Different flavours step forward and back.” And Ewan is right. At first, there were lingering caramel, vanilla, and cinnamon notes. But, after another sip, a hint of tobacco and oak arose. New aromas and scents reveal themselves, giving Blue an exciting flavour experience.