JOHNNIE WALKER has announced the release of the JOHN WALKER & SONS Private Collection 2017 Edition, Mastery of Oak, available exclusively at the Johnnie Walker House Singapore. This is the fourth limited edition in a series that showcases the JOHN WALKER & SONS house style and the innovative spirit and craft of its blenders through small batch, one-off blends of rare and experimental whiskies. With a global limited release of 5,588 individually numbered decanters, the 2017 Edition celebrates the full richness of cask character.
Limited to only 134 bottles in Singapore, the collection is available for private tasting or purchase at S$1,200 (incl. GST) through the Johnnie Walker House Singapore. Bottle No. 1 and other auspiciously numbered bottles including 88, 1888, 2888, 3888 and 4888 are also available for sale here.
In another outstanding display of blending artistry, Master Blender Dr. Jim Beveridge, working with fellow blender Aimée Gibson, handpicked exceptional casks of malt and grain whiskies to create three vattings from which to construct the final blend. Each one was designed to contribute distinctive flavours from a different aspect of their mastery of oak and its many ways of influencing maturation.
Jim Beveridge, Master Blender, commented: “Every whisky starts out full of the promise of its distillery character. Oak casks offer us an astonishing number of ways to differentiate these styles further as they mature, broadening our palette of flavours for blending.”
They began with active American oak, selecting fine examples of ex-bourbon casks that had contributed an abundance of rich, creamy, toffee and spice notes to Malt & Grain Scotch Whiskies as they matured, together with a handful of whiskies aged in rejuvenated casks for balance and a clove spiciness.
For the second vatting, the heart of the blend, they focused on finding the most beautifully balanced refill casks in their reserves. The less active oak enables a long, gentle maturation that lets distillery character continue to shine – in this case Highland and Speyside rich fruit distillery character with a mellowness and smoothness brought about by the wood (mostly American oak, some European).
Finally, they turned to special stocks from a study on the creation of flavour through different cask treatments. They chose solely American oak combinations from these experimental casks, particularly new oak that has created an intensity of vanilla sweetness over time and cured casks for the wealth of flavours from activating deeper layers of oak.
Commenting on the final blend, Jim Beveridge added: “For Mastery of Oak, we assembled some of our finest casks into three main styles of oak effects. Each vatting, brimming with complexity, was re-casked into blending puncheons for the flavours to combine. We’re delighted to have been able to bring them together to such great effect in the 2017 Edition, a sumptuous blend of oak-rich fruit notes.”
“The Mastery of Oak is a stunning whisky that is highly sought-after, showcasing the innovative spirit and craft of our blenders who are passionate about creating incredible taste experiences. The unveiling of the 2017 Edition is a moment that many whisky enthusiasts and collectors look forward to and this collection is set to impress,” said Apurvi Sheth, Managing Director Emerging Markets and Joint Ventures South-East Asia, Diageo.
The 2017 Edition (46.8% ABV) is best served neat, or with a few drops of ice cold water to accentuate the vibrant, fresh fruit notes of the original Speyside and Highland distillery characters.
The JOHN WALKER & SONS Private Collection 2017 Edition Mastery of Oak – bottled in a glass decanter illustrated with rings of oak and an angled cut to reflect the iconic JOHNNIE WALKER slanted label – is presented with the story of the blend in a box decorated with a swirling oak pattern to represent the variety of cask styles and effects in the blend.
Nose: Toffee and vanilla notes hint at the wonderfully complex sweetness from the variety of American oak casks, and mingle with aromas of ripe orchard fruits.
Palate: Rich toffee is the first flavour to emerge on the palate too, together with creamy, gentle spice. This American oak influence is in perfect balance with the mature Highland and Speyside fruit character – blackcurrants and berries, soft peach skin and stewed apples, all mellowed beautifully by the oak. A delicate trace of crisp, green apples, a memory of the youthful distillery character preserved through the choice of refill casks, lifts the blend, and the subtle European oak cask effect appears as a background touch of leather. The whiskies matured in the experimental American oak casks come into their own as this silky blend develops into a long finish with intense, deepening layers of rich vanilla sweetness.
*Tasting sessions can be arranged.