If you’ve never experienced the velvety smooth mouthfeel and opulent, full-bodied aromas of The John Walker, you’re going to want to act fast because its latest release will also be its last — ever.
The limited edition — fittingly named the The John Walker, Last Cask — will only see 330 bottles being released worldwide, and will close the chapter of an exquisite tale inspired by its very namesake and Johnnie Walker’s founder, John Walker.
Best described as a masterclass in whisky making, The John Walker has been one of the most important blends in the Johnnie Walker portfolio for over a decade. Only the finest and most valuable casks of whisky from the reserves are used, each hand-selected from nine legendary distilleries that were known to be in John Walker’s lifetime, from 1805 to 1857. Three of these distilleries, Glen Albyn, Port Dundas, and Cambus, have since ceased production to become ghost distilleries, adding to the allure and rarity of this exceptional blend.
A triple maturation technique is then used to marry the flavours of these whiskies together, a special process which culminates in a bespoke cask made from 100-year-old oak staves.
It is this particular marrying cask that has bestowed the blend with its signature complexity, but Johnnie Walker Master Blender Jim Beveridge has decided to withdraw it from use in the creation of The John Walker as it will soon no longer impart the same balance and depth of character that has characterised it for so long.
Only one more batch will ever be released, hence its name: The John Walker, Last Cask.
Dr. Jim Beveridge and his small team of expert whisky makers were able to finally unveil the remarkable single malts and rare grain whiskies that were used in detail. “We combine extremely rare grain expressions from Cambus, Port Dundas and Cameronbridge, which creates delicate flavours including notes of honey sweetness, subtle spice and soft fruit character.
A vatting of exceptional single malt whiskies offers deeper, more robust aromas of dried fruits, with waves of citrus fruits unfolding from the distilleries of Glen Albyn, Cardhu, Mortlach, Clynelish and Dailuaine before culminating in the unmistakably warm and peppery smokiness of Talisker” says Dr. Beveridge.
The revered master blender, who has worked for Diageo for almost 40 years, is only the sixth person to hold the title of Johnnie Walker master blender since its founding in the 19th century. He was recognised earlier this year with the awarding of an OBE as a tour de force in the Scotch whisky industry by Her Majesty the Queen. This award couldn’t have come at a better time — it coincides with Johnnie Walker’s 200th anniversary next year.
As a reflection of the exquisiteness of The John Walker, Last Cask, this exceptional blend will be presented in a handblown Baccarat crystal decanter. Each will be adorned with a bespoke design by Hand Engraver of Glass to Her Majesty the Queen, Philip Lawson Johnston, who will dream up beautiful hand-drawn images for every bottle, ensuring no two are alike.
All good things must come to an end, but the Last Cask is a farewell that would’ve made John Walker proud.