Blended whisky giant Johnnie Walker has unveiled its latest release in the John Walker & Sons Private Collection, and this time the focus of the blend is grain whisky.
‘When I first joined Diageo back in 1979 there were five grain distilleries, now we have only one – Cameron Bridge,’ said Johnnie Walker master blender Jim Beveridge. ‘But we’ve got stocks from all the closed distilleries, and that’s what has gone into this. We’ve created something that looks at the fine, honeyed flavours that come from our grains.’
The Private Collection releases all focus on a particular characteristic within blended whisky. The 2014 was an exercise in smoky blends, while the 2015 looked at ‘rare fruit characters’ that derive from the distillery.
The new release, the 2016, focuses on the ‘bridging flavours’ that grains provide in blended whisky. It comprises of two vattings of grain whiskies from all five former Diageo grain distilleries, with a small amount of malt added that ‘lifts the flavours and transforms the grain components,’ Beveridge said.
It’s a very soft dram with a distinctively velvety mouthfeel and plenty of vanilla, fudge and toffee flavours, as well as fruity Conference pears and a whisper of smoke on the finish. It’s a real exercise in subtlety.
As with the previous John Walker & Sons Private Collection releases, 8,888 numbered bottles will be available to buy.
43% abv, £550/70cl, Diageo, 020 8978 6000