If you, like many others, have been wondering whether 2020 could get any worse, here’s something that acts as a balm: Johnnie Walker has launched its Black Label Origin Series in India. A collection of four 12-year blended Scotch whiskies, the series is rich with flavours from four corners of Scotland. Each represents the taste notes of its region of origin–Highlands, Speyside, Lowlands, and Islay. And what better time to savour some dram than the onset of celebration season, from Diwali till New Year?
Presently, they’ve launched two of the four whiskies in the country: The Lowlands and the Speyside. Each variant is made with single malts and grain whiskies from its eponymous region and carries label colouring symbolic of that area. The limited-edition boxes are accompanied by a map of Scotland indicating the whiskey’s region, as well as trivia about it. I tried the Lowlands, and the packaging is luxe for what is only a premium price tag, making it a great gifting option.
Before you sip it, the aroma fills you with anticipation–a bouquet of toffee and vanilla with a pinch of fruity and peat tang. As for the taste, the Lowlands is a nuanced concoction wherein the sharpness of fermented grain is seamlessly bound with the sweetness of vanilla and honey. Without turning saccharine, the velvety vanilla and caramelised sugar intertwine with a hint of spice–cinnamon and star anise lending a punch, with cardamom and nutmeg in the backdrop. It has been made using single malts from distilleries in Glenkinchie and Cameronbridge.
What I appreciate most about it is its versatility. The Lowlands can be had neat, on the rocks, with only soda, or in cocktails. Not just that, depending on how you’re consuming it, it pairs well with dining at all stages, from hors d’oeuvres to dessert, thanks to its sweet notes. Also, whiskey aficionados will like it for its newness and experimental value, and those who are yet to be initiated will find this a smooth welcome into the world of dram. All these elements in this green-coloured label, for only Rs 3,000–that definitely makes it a mainstay for home bars (and even when you’re out drinking, of course!).
The other available variant, Speyside is a lighter blend and carries stronger berry and fruit notes; think pear, red apple, and honey. The Highlands is peaty and waxy, balancing strong smoky notes with fragrant floral ones; hints of red berry and stone fruit make it a dark, rich drink. And the Islay is a peppy one; it has a spicy-smoky flavour that leaves a warm after-effect. The launch of the last two is awaited.
Price: Rs 3,000 for 750 ml
Buying information here.
All images: Courtesy Johnnie Walker