Johnnie Walker Blue Label Moves Into Rarer Whisky Territory - The Whiskey Wash

Johnnie Walker Blue Label Moves Into Rarer Whisky Territory

By Nino Marchetti / December 6, 2017

Johnnie Walker Blue Label is often considered the premium level core expression in this popular blended Scotch line up from Diageo. A lot of derivatives pop up under this bottling, usually just targeted towards theme specific releases such as individual cities around the world. This is now changing a bit, however, with the unveiling of a new line up using whiskies from so called “ghost” distilleries which have long been closed.

The new Johnnie Walker Blue Label Ghost and Rare, according to those behind it, will see each edition of this release centered around one whisky considered lost or rare. For the first expression this means Brora, a Diageo distillery shuttered since 1983. It was recently announced that Brora will reopen in around three years, but currently it is still silent and has not made any whiskies since it closed some 34 years ago.

Alongside Brora, other whiskies in this particular Johnnie Walker blend include from other ghost distilleries such as Cambus and Pittyvaich. They are joined by rare expressions of malt and grains from the existing distilleries of Royal Lochnagar, Clynelish, Glenkinchie, Glenlossie and Cameronbridge.

“Over the years of crafting fine Scotch whiskies,” said Johnnie Walker Master Distiller, Jim Beveridge in a prepared statement, “I’ve had the remarkable privilege of working with some of the rarest spirits ever to come out of Scotland. I’m lucky that we have stocks from more than 30 distilleries from every region of Scotland from which to choose the perfect casks to craft each blend. It gives us a richness of character, flavour and age that no other scotch can match.

“Whiskies from these ghost distilleries are becoming increasingly rare. From our library of irreplaceable casks that we keep exclusively for Johnnie Walker Blue Label, I’ve chosen a few uniquely full-bodied expressions of these precious malts and grains to let people explore, in a new way, the extraordinary richness found in our pinnacle whisky.”

Plans call for this first Blue Label Ghost and Rare, bottled at 46% ABV, to price around $400 as a limited edition release. It is housed in a custom designed Walker bottle with a map of Scotland showing distilleries used in the blend. Limited official tasting notes suggest it is smooth with the sweetness of pineapple, rich notes of hazelnut and dark chocolate and a subtle smoky finish.


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