Whiskey stops aging processing as soon as it leaves the barrel. Barks a thirty something tech startup whiskey drinker during one of my seminars.
He's eager that I confirm his outburst, agreeing that Johnnie Walker Blue is a whiskey for hedge-fund jackasses who don't know enough about Scotch to order something better. Almost 90 percent of the seminars I conduct land on the topic of Johnnie Walker and stay there.
I serve it whenever I can, hoping to knock out the new whiskey fan's bad habit of dismissing big-brand powerhouses like Johnnie Walker without enough data to make an informed opinion. I leave the possibility open that even a “douche” might have a perfectly educated palate and know exactly what he wants to drink and why.
But my connection to the brand moves beyond mere aromatic and taste discernment and into a grander experience: I'm probably preparing in terminal C at Newark Airport with a friend when I order Black, and the Blue is one I'm drinking because someone kindly bought me the expensive dram to enjoy. Both the Blue buyer and I know that this symbolic act of serving me a high-cost liquid means something.
“Research shows that it's hard to separate out the different sensory experiences going on around us when we're engaged with a product. The word “single” in single-malt Scotch does not signify the amount of grain used.
Grain whiskey in Scotland may include barley, but can involve other cereals such as corn, wheat, or rye. In order to be called a Scotch, the malt or grain-based whiskey (or the combination) must be matured on Scottish soil for a minimum of three years in oak barrels and bottled at a minimum of 40 percent ABV (alcohol by volume).
You'll notice that on most bottles of Johnnie Walker Blended Scotch Whiskey, the word “malt” is missing. When the Phylloxeridae disease hit grape vines in France, Johnnie Walker Red was developed to take the place of brandy and soda, a popular drink in Europe.
A larger proportion of Islam whiskey deliver a noticeable level of peat and smoke. Corn and wheat characterize the base grain whiskey upon which the malts are added.
If you're anything like me, you'll peruse a wine list in some mediocre bar and wonder what the hell you're going to get and whether it's gone off already. For those who love big bold Islam whiskey and want to try a blended Scotch, this would be a good choice.
I go to bed at night dreaming of whisky-filled tankers leaving Shanghai and headed for U.S. shores. The last time I tasted the entire range blindly, I chose Green as my favorite: It has a richer mouthfeel and lands more heavily across my palate.
Many years ago, a Johnnie Walker representative recommended that I drink this well-chilled, right out of the refrigerator. Chilled whiskey condenses flavor so that certain aromatic molecules are silenced.
This is great for those who want an age statement on their bottle of whiskey; the Blue doesn't carry one. Johnnie Walker Blue Industry sources tell me that Blue's malt-heart comes from a distillery called Royal Lochinvar, which produces unseated, slightly creamy, and floral single malt Scotch.
You'll pay a premium for the privilege of drinking some aged stocks blended in, too. That said, I spend my working life helping spirit drinkers become better discerned.
I encourage them to identify whiskey attributes by tapping into and appreciating the largely ignored olfactory system. I preach palate variability and subjectivity because I want students to feel empowered to make their own brand judgments.
Making things even more complicated is another point that professor Gershon shared with me: That our emotions act on our preferences and taste. Let's pretend that a whiskey drinker sitting next to me at the bar gives me the stink-eye for ordering Johnnie Walker Blue.
This is Straight Up, a column by whiskey expert and author Heather Greene. So, as in most in-development countries we had a special interest in this kind of luxury products that come from abroad, for example, Rolex watches, Mercedes-Benz cars and Scotch whiskey.
So just imagine the situation, wherever you go you have two options: drink a whiskey which means NYC or drink a good whiskey which means Johnnie Walker Black or Chivas 12 years old. I feel the true reason is that none has introduced us to single malts and how to properly enjoy them… yes, yes, you can enjoy your whiskey as you prefer, but I find quite often that drinking it neat on a good glass like glen cairn, copita or small tulip is how many connoisseurs enjoy their single malts.
I was a free man, liberated of the tyranny of bad whiskey and worse marketing. So a few months later I got a copy of Michael Jackson’s Malt Whiskey Companion and read in on a row, devouring the pages literally.
I would have love to read what he would have think of these silly times we live in the whiskey world… Well, if you today buy Jim Murray’s Whiskey Bible and buy anything above 85 points you would have bought enough booze to send a man to the moon and back, with all the lights of the rocket working during the whole voyage.
A few years later, the little webpage turned into this little blog and well… now you know why I do hate Johnnie Walker ! Ten million dollars in small notes, a helicopter and diplomatic passport.
I want to enlighten people everywhere, and specially on my own country, about the possibilities of whiskey beyond drowning it with ice and cola. It’s the square bottle with the scanty label and the guy with the hat sort of strutting like he’s Staying Alive.
And it’s in fact a damn fine whiskey, blended with grain except for the Green Label vatted malt, ” And something nobody will be upset with if you bring it to a party. Most whiskey at the time were found in general groceries, meaning you could buy stuff like flour and hard liquor in the same trip.
Johnnie Walker was no different, sold in its first years out of the family grocery store in Kilmarnock, a town in Scotland not too far from its western coast. Single malt may be prized for good reason today, but back in the 19th century, consistency was more of a tricky issue.
John Walker wanted a consistent Scotch, and so he turned his store brand into a blend. Johnnie Walker is a smooth whiskey, no doubt, but that doesn’t mean it lacks staggeringly awesome/annoying/sit-down-for-a-long-thoughtful-sip complexity.
In the 12 Year, for instance, you’ll get dark chewy toffee and spice on the nose but lighter hits of citrus, garden patch, and delicate grain once you knock it back. Tom Browne was a renowned “illustrator of the time” and he drew a picture of the “Striding Man” during lunch one day.
The Johnnie he drew has evolved into a sleek and mysterious dude, but back in the day he was a lot more colorful and friendly. Alexander Walker took over operations after his father John’s passing, and among the several things he did to help the family’s Scotch stand out from the growing whiskey crowd was slanting the label precisely 24 degrees.
Well, anyway, the bottles weren’t labeled by color until Alexander Walker passed the business onto his sons, and they started identifying the different blends this way. There’s also a Double Black that just refers to more smoke (an effort to recreate peat-heavy single malts), and the iconic, sought-after Blue, rich and smooth and alluringly complex, like Evan McGregor in pretty much every movie.