Johnnie Walker creates 200th birthday bottlingsBy Nicola Carruthers
Blended Scotch brand Johnnie Walker has unveiled four new limited edition whiskies to mark its 200th anniversary this year.
Diageo-owned blended Scotch whisky brand Johnnie Walker was founded 200 years ago by John Walker, who opened a small grocery store in Scotland. Today, the brand is the biggest-selling Scotch whisky in the world.
Diageo’s global Scotch director, John Williams, said: “Our 200th anniversary releases are inspired by the moment our founder, John Walker, first opened the door to his grocer’s store in Kilmarnock – taking the first step on an incredible journey for Johnnie Walker.
“John’s spark, vision and entrepreneurial fire were the impetus to growing the John Walker name, our business and ultimately a new future for Scotch whisky.
“This year we’re celebrating the steps he first took – steps that have inspired generations of our whisky makers and are at the heart of everything we do today and will do tomorrow.”
To mark the occasion, the brand has unveiled four new whiskies: Johnnie Walker Blue Label 200th Anniversary Limited Edition Design, Johnnie Walker Blue Label Legendary Eight, John Walker & Sons Celebratory Blend and John Walker & Sons Bicentenary Blend.
Johnnie Walker master blender, Jim Beveridge, said: “Each of these exclusive releases bring a fresh perspective to our 200th anniversary story and are the perfect way to celebrate this huge moment for Johnnie Walker. It feels very apt to be announcing them this week to coincide with John Walker’s birthday.”
The Johnnie Walker Blue Label 200th Anniversary Limited Edition comes with a new design for the Blue Label bottling. The packaging celebrates the cities and countries that are part of the brand’s story, along with geographical landmarks and cultural symbols.
Meanwhile, Blue Label Legendary Eight is described as a “smooth, mellow Scotch” made with some of the brand’s rarest whiskies in reserve. Each expression comes from eight distilleries that lived during the brand’s founding, including some “very rare” liquid from silent distilleries.
The Celebratory Blend takes its inspiration from a “breakthrough moment” from John Walker & Sons’ history – the debut of Old Highland Whisky in the 1860s, the company’s first commercial blend to travel from Scotland to across the globe.
Described as “rich and complex” the whisky is inspired by flavours from the Walker family’s grocery store in the 1860s and uses liquid from distilleries that were in operation at the time. The expression also features the only existing image of the grocery store 200 years ago.
The Bicentenary Blend also draws inspiration from the flavours of the grocery store. The resulting liquid has “rich layers that reimagines the exotic flavours” that shaped John Walker’s imagination. It is made with rare whiskies, all aged for at least 28 years, including liquid from ‘ghost’ distilleries such as Port Ellen, Pittyvaich and Cambus.
The limited edition whiskies will launch from October 2020 onwards, subject to market distribution and availability.