Johnnie Walker launched it’s new Black Label bottle at an exclusive media dinner and mentor class at Teeq, Lot 10 on 16 November 2010.
Here’s some info on the Johnnie Walker brand and the variants sold in Malaysia:
The Origins of the Johnnie Walker Legend
In 1820, in the small town of Kilmarnock, Scotland, a 15 year old John Walker full of energy dreamt of blending the perfect whisky. Single malts of the day were quite inconsistent and John saw an opportunity to create something his customers could always rely on. Applying the same principles he’d learnt from blending tea for his grocer’s shop to blending whisky, John began creating exclusive blends for valued customers who placed private orders in his shop. ‘Walker’s Highland Whiskies’ were soon created and launched to much acclaim. The business prospered and John’s reputation as an expert blender spread throughout the west of Scotland.
John Walker’s passion was to create a taste and quality that could be relied upon time and time again. In producing exceptional blends for his most prestigious customers, he firmly established his two dearly held blending values: quality and consistency. These values have underpinned Walker product developments ever since and have provided the foundation for Johnnie Walker whiskies today, known for their distinctive depth, complex character, and big flavour.
In 1850, John passed on his blending skills to his son Alexander who too became an expert blender, and perfected and copyrighted ‘Old Highland Whisky’, the precursor of Johnnie Walker® Black Label.
Once when Alexander was asked to make a cheaper blend for export, he uncompromisingly replied in a now famous letter, “We are determined to make our whisky, so far as quality is concerned, of such a standard that nothing in the market shall come before it.”
Like a gourmet dish, a superior whisky’s success depends on the quality of the individual ingredients. John Walker’s grandsons, Alexander II and George, searched long and hard for a distillery producing a malt of the stature they required for their blends. In 1893 they purchased the Cardhu distillery, famed for its silky single malt, together with interests in several other distilleries, guaranteeing a supply of high quality ingredients for their blends and keeping them away from the competition. The decision showed extraordinary foresight; and through this investment, the pair ensured that the signature taste and consistency of Johnnie Walker could be maintained far beyond their own lifetimes.
George masterminded the introduction of the Striding Man icon with the help of famous cartoonist Tom Browne to support the launch of Red Label and Black Label in 1909 – an advertising symbol that epitomised the pioneering family spirit which has become instantly recognisable to consumers worldwide. By 1920, Johnnie Walker was sold in over 120 countries, before Coca Cola had even left the shores of America.
Today Johnnie Walker Scotch whisky has been number one in the world for the last 75 years and the Johnnie Walker blending team has the astonishing resources of over seven million cases of maturing Scotch whisky from all over Scotland at its disposal, more than any other whisky maker, ensuring that each bottle purchased is characterised by the same quality and consistency championed by its founding father.
The groundbreaking global advertising campaign “Keep Walking” broke in 1999 and the journey that started in a small Scottish town more than 200 years ago, continues forward. With a passion and commitment to create the world’s best Scotch spanning over successive generations, Johnnie Walker is still walking and he’s not showing any signs of stopping.
Masters of the Blender’s Art
Alexander Walker II possessed not only the benefit of experience from his father and grandfather, but brought outside knowledge to the family business through his three year apprenticeship with Robertson & Baxter, an established distillers and wholesale wine and spirit merchants. Each year, it is the job of the highly experienced Master Blender to select the specific casks that will achieve consistency of taste and quality. Like the Walkers before them, today’s blending team not only possesses a natural born talent, but receives comprehensive first class training and years of practice to develop a Master Blender’s perceptive nose. Jim Beveridge, Johnnie Walker Master Blender, is today one of the most respected and revered in the industry not only because of his perfected skill in sensing extraordinary flavour, but also because he has access to the largest whisky reserves in Scotland, allowing his team the freedom to craft wonderfully unique blends full of richness and character.
“What Walker does is bring all those flavours together to give a very complex and layered blend and that’s what makes Walker whiskies different” – Jim Beveridge (I actually had the privilege of meeting Jim in KL during the Johnnie Walker Gold Reserve launch!)
The founder’s original values are rigorously applied to blend each Johnnie Walker variant. For example, every dram of Johnnie Walker Black Label you drink will have been blended from over 40 whiskies from all over Scotland, each of which has been matured for a minimum of 12 years, some considerably longer. Whisky matures to achieve distinct flavours at different ages, and this varies by distillery. Jim Beveridge carefully gauges which whiskies he needs to blend and at what ages, to achieve the incomparable depth of Johnnie Walker Black Label, literally a masterpiece of the blender’s art.
Furthermore, your drink will have been two decades in the planning and drawn from up to 700 casks, each matured in a slightly different way. This is an extremely complicated process for the Master Blender, with satisfyingly complex results for the whisky enthusiast. A drinking experience characterised by layers of flavour from the fruitiness of Glendullan to the earthiness of Talisker, with every sip of Johnnie Walker Black Label you are drinking Scotland in a glass.
The World’s Greatest Whisky House
Why is Johnnie Walker the world’s greatest Whisky House?
The Walker’s unrelenting belief in innovation and progress resulting in whiskies full of depth and character has endured throughout the company’s history.
With Master Blender Jim Beveridge, Johnnie Walker has one of the world’s most skilled and respected blenders who ensure quality and consistency in every bottle.
Johnnie Walker has a history of winning awards and accolades which dates back to 1869.
Access to an unrivalled collection of reserves larger than has ever existed, from all areas of Scotland spread across 20 Scottish distilleries, allows Johnnie Walker to create blends known for their breadth, richness and complexity.
Five Johnnie Walker core variants each contribute their own distinct character to the Johnnie Walker story. The signature taste across all Johnnie Walker variants can be summarized by a full of big smoky flavour, layered complexity, and a seamless harmony of flavours that create a smooth, rounded taste. Johnnie Walker has always believed big whisky to be more physically satisfying and intriguing, and that our customers can tell the difference between us and our competitors.
All of these attributes unmistakably make Johnnie Walker the world’s greatest whisky house and why it is the number one selling worldwide.
The Johnnie Walker Blends – Champions of their Category
Johnnie Walker® Red Label® – The Taste of Adventure
Johnnie Walker Red Label is one of the original blends from the House of Walker, with its distinctive and exuberant flavour created to be appreciated as a long drink – a favourite choice for every day celebrations. It was originally known as ‘Extra Special Old Highland Whisky’, and was introduced as Johnnie Walker Red Label in 1909 to suit a new generation of whisky drinkers. The world’s number one selling Scotch whisky; 5 bottles are drunk every second.
Johnnie Walker® Black Label® – The Fine Art of Blending
Johnnie Walker Black Label is the definitive benchmark against which all other whiskies are measured – one of the world’s most awarded whiskies, it has been praised by whisky writers and experts and has been called a ‘miracle of blending’. Johnnie Walker Black Label has been described as ‘the whole of Scotland in one glass’ and is renowned for its unique complexity and unrivalled depth of taste. A myriad of flavours reveal themselves in several waves. First the impression of silky smoky richness, then deep and fruity foreground flavours give way to drier peaty nuances, followed by the complementary flavour tones of sweet vanilla and raisins, and finally a finish that is long, dark and malt driven.
Johnnie Walker® Green Label™- The Spirit of Scotland
In 1997, Johnnie Walker launched Green Label, a combination of pure malts, and is the fifth Johnnie Walker ‘blend’ to be created in almost 200 years.
The vibrant Johnnie Walker Green Label is made from a selection of mature Speyside and powerful Island malt whiskies, all aged for at least 15 years and selected for their intensity of flavour. Its four signature awarded malts include Talisker™, Cragganmore™, Linkwood™ and Caolila™.
Johnnie Walker® Gold Label™ Reserve – A Flair for Celebration
The luxurious Johnnie Walker Gold Label Reserve is a special creation from the Johnnie Walker Master Blender, Jim Beveridge and one of the most indulgent blends from the House of Walker.
Jim Beveridge has opened his private reserve, which is a collection of some of the most exceptional whiskies in the world, and hand picked every cask used in the blend in order to make Johnnie Walker Gold Label Reserve one of the most extraordinary, indulgent and flavourful in the Walker portfolio. At the heart of the blend is Clynelish. The water source that feeds the Clynelish distillery flows through the Kildonan Hills – which was the centre of the Scottish gold rush of the 1800s. Gold Label Reserve captures the indulgent richness of gold – its extraordinary honey and vanilla flavours make it the perfect choice for any celebration
Johnnie Walker® Blue Label™ – The Rare and Exceptional
The unrivalled Johnnie Walker Blue Label blend was designed to recreate the flavours of the most exceptional blends of the 19th century – when the Walkers were pioneering the art of blending. In 1888, Alexander Walker claimed ‘our blend cannot be beat’ and today, this is the aim of the Johnnie Walker blenders when crafting every bottle of Blue Label – to create a blend so exceptional that absolutely nothing can come before it.
Of the millions of casks in the Johnnie Walker reserves, only a few in a thousand are set aside to mature to the richest perfection demanded by the Blue Label blend. Some of these rare and precious casks are from distilleries that no longer exist, making them irreplaceable – almost priceless.
The rich and powerful flavour profile of Blue Label requires a careful balance of exceptionally old and slightly younger whiskies. The Johnnie Walker blenders are free to hand-select each cask for the exceptional flavour it will bring to the composition. All of this combines to make Blue Label the biggest, most powerful whisky from the House of Walker made up of the rarest malts.