What’s going on with Johnnie Walker? by Paul Mclean of Whisky Tours ~ Mclean Scotland

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What’s going on with Johnnie Walker?

Johnnie Walker has launched yet a new dram, this time a variation of Green Label blended malt, this one with a greater influence of smoky whisky from Caol Ila distillery on Islay, this unaged blend includes Clynelish, Glenkinchie and Cardhu (it sounds very Game of Thrones!). JW Island Green will be available in one-litre bottles for around £40. What does that price tell me about this whisky? That it’s no that good, it’s cheap!

Then we come to the Johnnie Walker Black Label Origin Series (not Black or Double Black) – a range from the ‘four corners’ of Scotland. This limited-edition range (limited to what? 20,000 bottles of each? Diageo wouldnee say on the quantity of the ‘limited edition’, only that the range will not be repeated, they probably won’t need to after a flood!) comprises Islay, Highlands, Lowlands and Speyside expressions, all 12 years of age. The Islay, Highlands and Speyside Origin whiskies are all blended malts, while the Lowlands Origin is a blended Scotch whisky, combining malt with grain whisky from Cameronbrig (Haig). All are 42% abv, RRP of £35 per one-litre bottle, more cheap stuff. The whole range will be rolled out globally in 2020. The Islay Origin expression uses 100% refill casks to avoid ‘too much woodiness’ (less taste eh!), while the Highlands Origin expression features ex-European oak and ex-Sherry casks.

So, just how many different JW bottlings are there out there? Not only these, but the existing stuff, all the usual suspects, travel retail/duty free and Game of Thrones. A vast super loch that could fill Loch Ness! Johnnie Walker brand is the globally best-selling Scotch, output in excess of 20 million cases per annum. For years Johnnie Walker offered Red Label and 12-year-old Black Label, but now also includes Double Black, Gold Label Reserve, Platinum and Blue Label – a number of bottles have escaped, including a King George V edition, remember Jane Walker? A 2015 Limited Edition, Explorers’ Club Collection, which includes The Spice Road and The Gold Route. Johnnie also has ‘Houses’ in a number of Asian cities, such as Shanghai, Beijing, Mumbai, Seoul and Taipei, with another destined for Edinburgh. Which way is Johnnie walking now? Paul McLean, Perth 2019.

A personal blether from Paul McLean whiskytours.scot

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