Filed under: Spirits
The brand also held a series of unique blending events last month. Some bloggers received a package that contained several bottles of whisky, an empty bottle, a mixing flask, a glass funnel and a tasting glass to participate in the Johnnie Walker Black Label Centenary Journeyman Blending Event webcast on September 29. I got to have the in-person experience, taking part in a blending event held at the Montage Beverly Hills.
In my head I've always compared the difference between single malts and a blended scotch as the difference between an essential oil and a perfume. But while I've had the chance to dabble in blending essential oils to create a rudimentary scent (so much harder than it would seem), I hadn't, until recently had the chance to try my hand at blending whisky. But who could resist when the folks from Johnnie Walker fly in one of their master distillers, Andrew Ford, complete with swoonworthy Scottish accent and sit you down in front of an apothecary-like set of stoppered bottles?
Before the blending I talked with Ford a little about the challenges of predicting the future of whisky. He mentioned that the Johnnie Walker stocks span 7 million barrels which sounds like an awful lot. But because they Johnnie Walker Black is aged 12 years the challenges of guessing how much whisky you'll need 12 years in the future is no easy task. The whisky market has gone through a series of twists and turns in the past few years. First demand, spurred by the sudden rise in whisky drinking in Japan, India and other places, spiked to unprecedented levels. Then the global economic slowdown kicked in and pricey spirits took their licks along with other potent potables including champagne. Now what the future holds is anybody's guess. Another concern is climate change, not so much for the grains but with regards to water and the peat which grows in cooler and moist climates. The burning of peat is what gives some of the whiskies used in Johnnie Walker Black their distinctive smokiness.