Sweet Dis­po­si­tion

John Walker & Sons Pri­vate Col­lec­tion 2016 Edi­tion is a show­case of Johnnie Walker’s in­no­va­tive crafts­man­ship in whisky blends. By Rachel Ang

Men's Folio (Singapore) - - Contents -

John Walker & Sons Pri­vate Col­lec­tion 2016 Edi­tion show­cases in­no­va­tive whisky mak­ing

For some­one who’s still in the midst of de­vel­op­ing a more dis­cern­ing palate, sit­ting in the com­pany of con­nois­seurs sam­pling whisky can be ex­tremely ter­ri­fy­ing. Ev­ery­body else seems to be able to ac­cu­rately dis­sect the aroma and flavour into spe­cific fruits, flow­ers, leather, var­nish, and ev­ery­thing in be­tween, while you sit there mutely swirling the golden liq­uid in your glass, try­ing to look as if you un­der­stand what’s go­ing on. But ap­pre­ci­at­ing whisky doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily have to be such a com­pli­cated af­fair, and that’s ex­actly what Johnnie Walker proves with the John Walker & Sons Pri­vate Col­lec­tion.

As part of the build- up to the brand’s 200th an­niver­sary in the year 2020, this six- in­stal­ment se­ries fea­tures dif­fer­ent key flavours that are char­ac­ter­is­tic of Scotch whisky. Fol­low­ing up from the last two years’ stud­ies in smok­i­ness and rare Scot­tish fruits, the 2016 Edi­tion, limited to 8,888 bot­tles, fo­cuses on the sweet el­e­ment of fine honeyed notes that goes into Johnnie Walker blends.

“It’s quite a sim­ple con­cept,” ex­plains Tom Jones, the global brand am­bas­sador for Johnnie Walker. “Rather than us giv­ing a con­vo­luted de­scrip­tion of which cask it’s from and of what age, you can de­scribe it for your­self. But one thing it will be, no mat­ter who you are or how much you do or do not know, when you taste the fi­nal 2016 blend, it will tasted honeyed. And I think that’s a pow­er­ful thing.”

How­ever, one would be re­miss to as­sume that this also means that the end re­sult lacks the lay­ered com­plex­ity that makes up so much of the whisky- im­bib­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. The 2016 Edi­tion shows off the brand’s crafts­man­ship and in­no­va­tion, with its mas­ter blender Jim Bev­eridge bal­anc­ing the sub­tleties of­fered by whiskies from over 100 casks.

This so­phis­ti­cated blend con­sists of three vat­tings, two of which fea­ture ma­ture sin­gle grain whiskies from five Johnnie Walker dis­til­leries: Cameron­bridge, Cale­do­nian, Cam­bus, Carse­bridge, and Port Dun­das, four of which are now silent, ren­der­ing their stocks fi­nite and ir­re­place­able. They con­trib­ute two styles of honeyed sweet­ness, one a light vanilla with wood and fudge notes, while the other is a deeper, richer flavour of caramel and tof­fee. Mean­while, the third malt vat­ting brings spice and a rich, re­fined soft fruiti­ness rem­i­nis­cent of poached pears, from a High­land sin­gle malt whisky ma­tured in Amer­i­can oak. These three cul­mi­nate in a beau­ti­fully soft and creamy golden blend that is the most com­plex edi­tion of the se­ries yet.

Guy Es­colme, global brand di­rec­tor for Johnnie Walker, says, “John Walker & Sons Pri­vate Col­lec­tion 2016 Edi­tion epit­o­mises what our blen­ders can achieve through ac­cess to the great­est re­serves of whiskies, in­cred­i­ble skill, and at­ten­tion to de­tail in the mak­ing. The fine honey notes high­light a pre­ci­sion and light­ness of touch to in­te­grate beau­ti­fully the many facets of flavour – a wor­thy ad­di­tion to this ac­claimed se­ries.”

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