News

Walking tall

By Rob Allanson
Diageo have unveiled two new super deluxe additions to their Johnnie Walker portfolio with the release of Gold Label Reserve and Platinum 18 Years Old. Johnnie Walker is the biggest selling glob-al Scotch whisky brand shifting 18 million cases a year and new introductions are uncommon occurrences. Speaking about Gold Label Reserve at the launch event, master blender Dr Jim Beveridge said: “It’s got all the hallmarks of Johnnie Walker: fruitiness, sweetness and gentle smoke. The intention is for an easy, elegant yet accessible whisky that’s ideal for celebrations and special occasions.” Gold Label Reserve carries no age statement and comprises 20-25 different malts and two to three different ‘DCL-style’ grain whiskies, bottled at 40% ABV with Clynelish providing the key to the aromas and flavours. “Clynelish is one of my favourite malts and it’s the honey sweet-ness and waxiness that makes it for me.” Beveridge recommends experimenting with ice serves and a slice of orange, “The crushed ice chills the whisky, brings out the sweetness and as the ice melts, so the different aromas begin to emerge. The wedge of orange just adds that zestiness to the flavour and it’s a really good combination to have.”

Johnnie Walker Platinum evolved from the tradition within Diageo of creating private blends for the Directors. This new variant carries an age statement of 18 Years and sits just below Blue Label in the revised range. “It’s all about very rich, deep sweetness, and it’s something you have to take your time with due to the complexities of the flavours. As it moves round the mouth, the gentle smokiness is revealed” encouraged Beveridge. “I like it neat, with a glass of sipping water. Adding water brings out stewed fruit flavours, then you get to delve deeper into the rich, malty cereals notes and there’s nuts and citrus notes moving within the blend.” Each new recipe took several months to finalise for Beveridge and his blending team.

These new editions will replace the older editions of the Gold Label 18 Years Old and Green Label from The Johnnie Walker range. With Diageo’s billion pound investment to increase distilling capacity in Scotland, it is hopeful that when new consumers in emerging markets get turned on to whisky, it’ll be Johnnie Walker in their glass.