A MATTER OF TASTE
Johnnie Walker Blue Label Ghost and Rare Glenury Royal is a whisky with amazing depth of character
THERE’S NO NEED TO BE SNIFFY about blended whisky, as if somehow purity of spirit is compromised by marrying whiskies from different distilleries. In fact, the more sagacious whisky drinker knows there is nothing wrong with a good blended whisky – and at their best, blended whiskies rival or even surpass the best single malts.
Such a whisky is Johnnie Walker’s new limited-edition Blue Label Ghost and Rare Glenury Royal, the third in the whisky maker’s series of expressions drawing on barrels from distilleries long gone: “ghost” distilleries (the others are
Brora in 2017 and Port Ellen in 2018). Glenury Royal is the main “ghost” in this superbly composed spirit, the apple and apricot character of the Highland whisky balanced by creamy toffee and butterscotch from two other “ghosts”, Lowland grain whisky Cambus, and Pittyvaich, a Speyside. Five extant distilleries contribute to the finish with notes of heather honey, vanilla, dark chocolate and nuttiness: Glen Elgin, Inchgower, Glenlossie, Glenkinchie and Cameronbridge. The outcome is a whisky that Johnnie Walker Master Blender Jim Beveridge believes to be “a hidden treasure of the Scotch world”.
“We’ve waited patiently for that moment when we turn our thoughts to this exceptionally rare whisky,” continues Beveridge, “carefully watching over our maturing casks until the time was right to explore its indulgent character.”
It’s no surprise Johnnie Walker can draw on such an array of whiskies. As the world’s biggest whisky brand, it has access to an unparalleled 10 million maturing casks of Scotch, of which only one in 10,000 has the character and richness to qualify for inclusion in Blue Label.
Glenury Royal, with its colourful and dramatic history, is just such a whisky. British MP
Robert Barclay – the first man to walk 1,000 miles in 1,000 hours – founded the distillery in 1825, only to see it go up in flames a few weeks later. But Barclay persevered, and in 1835 the whisky added “Royal” to its name, one of only three Scottish distilleries to enjoy a royal title.
The brand ceased production in 1985, a victim of the British depression.
But its sublime spirit lives on – in every drop and at the core of every bottle of Johnnie Walker Blue Label Ghost and Rare Glenury Royal.