On the nose it’s a complex, rich whisky with layers of flavour in which an array of fruit aromas come together in harmony, balanced with warming spices and a soft, rolling smoke redolent of the rich array of exotic goods on offer. Dried fruit such as sultanas and figs are sweetened by hints of candied ginger, before berries, brown sugar and aromatic spices fill up the senses. The first sip reveals delicious layers of spice mingling with sweet honey and rich molasses. Waves of sultanas, cocoa beans and herbal notes are carried on wisps of soft smoke leading you further down the aisles of John’s store with every sip. A sweet spice lingers.
Known amongst blended whisky lovers as one of the top premium Scotch blends, Johnnie Walker is a brand which needs little introduction. The company started out life in the 19th century, when John “Johnnie” Walker began selling whisky from his grocery shop in Ayrshire, Scotland. His blends were very popular at the time, but it wasn’t until his death in 1857, when the company was inherited by Alexander Walker, that the brand really took off. Alexander, with his son Alexander Walker II, firmly established the business and began marketing Walker’s Old Highland - a blended Scotch whisky - in 1865. Five years later, their whisky was sold in the distinctive rectangular bottles for the first time. Over the course of the early 1900s, John Walker’s grandsons, Alexander Walker II and George Walker, established the colour-based naming system. It was in 1908 that the Johnnie Walker name was first put on bottles, after the Managing Director, James Stevenson, rebranded the range. It was around this time that the iconic walking man logo was conceived. The brand’s most illustrious blend is, of course, the Blue Label. Made with a variety of extremely well-aged malts, the overriding flavour is one of toffee and barley, with hints of peat smoke adding lovely complexity.