The Johnnie Walker Portfolio

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According to the folks over at Johnnie Walker, more and more folks are drinking scotch, and I believe them. Apparently you can make all kinds of fun stuff like scotch margaritas and cosmos… hmm. I didn’t try any but people at the Johnnie Walker tasting in SF this blustery Friday night seemed to like them. I, of course, am a purist these days – limiting my self to “neat” or “on the rocks” servings of liquid gold. If you have never been to a Johnnie Walker tasting event, it is certainly a must. The folks at Diageo go all out – drink, food and a 360 degree multimedia presentation full of images of fast cars, yachts and of course Scotland. After a brief introduction by our host, who was disappointing absent of a kilt (so much for the good old days), we were treated to a history of the Brand and taken through it’s five main labels – Black, Gold, Red, Green and Blue (oh we love you Blue, anyone with a bottle to spare?).

What we learned about each Johnnie Walker label

Red – originally known as Extra Special Old Highland Whisky and re-introduced as Red Label in 1909, Red Label is meant to be mixed. Perfect for long drinks – Coke, ginger ale, Red bull all go well, even juices like cranberry. This is your party Scotch!

Black – the first Johnnie Walker Whisky. Developed by Johnnie Walker himself in the 19th century, Black Label is made of a blend over over 40 all aged at least 12 years.

Gold – the “champagne of whiskys”, a blend a handful of Scotland’s best 18 year old whiskys. They recommend freezing it four 24 hours and enjoy cold, letting it warm up in your mouth so you can taste the complexity. Perfect with chocolate, fruit and ???

Green – Newly introduced, Green label (formerly Pure Malt) is a blend of 15 year old Scotch whiskeys, with none of the grain whiskys that are used in Black Label. It’s so new, they haven’t even added it to their site yet.

Blue – “the Ultimate Luxury Scotch Whisky”, that’s what they call it. I must say the name fits. it is damn good stuff, not your everyday Scotch. They have been making this blend of the rarest and most prized single malt Scotch’s for over 100 years. This is no beginners stuff – I know, compared to these guys, I am, kilt and all. A bottle of Blue Label is an investment, not just a drink – think about that shit!

What we didn’t learn was why black, gold, red, green & blue. Maybe we will get a visit to Scotland and that will be my first question on the distillery tour, oh the poor guide.

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