Even those who don’t drink Scotch know the name Johnnie Walker. Those who do drink Scotch don’t just know the name–Johnnie Walker Black is their default dram of choice when grabbing a drink with the fellas. They sip on Johnnie Walker Green or Gold during special occasions and Johnnie Walker Blue is on their bucket list. Johnnie Walker ultimately represents that perfect blend of not just whisky, but commercial and artisanal appeal–a company that pretty much conquered the world but didn’t let something like ego dilute their spirit of adventure or the pursuit of bold new taste. Now the premier brand is giving fans new reason to celebrate with the release of Rye Cask Finish Whisky as part of their limited edition Johnnie Walker Select Casks.
Johnnie Walker’s Master Blender Jim Beveridge (love that last name–talk about someone born to craft drinks) knows exactly how to make reliably great whisky and likewise knows how to get innovative. For dependable deliciousness he chose Speyside’s Cardhu single malt as the heart of the Rye Cask Finish blend. Stepping outside the box he mixed the Cardhu with whiskies that were aged for a minimum of 10 years in American Oak casks and then finished the blend in ex-rye casks, which added notes of vanilla and some of the signature spice commonly found in rye whisky. The goal was basically to infuse some of the better qualities of American bourbons and ryes with excellent matured Scotch. The outcome of Beveridge’s experimentation is a delectable dram that won gold at the 2016 International Spirits Challenge and silver at the 2016 San Francisco World Spirits Competition.
In Beveridge’s own words: “From the early days when John Walker first blended whiskies in 1820 to the unique blends created today, Johnnie Walker has always thrived on experimentation. I believe that whisky is ever evolving and experimental in nature and I am pleased to present the first Rye Cask finished Blended Scotch Whisky. Johnnie Walker Select Casks is a unique style of Scotch that blends the flavor characteristics of bourbon and rye with some of the classic signature notes and smoothness of Johnnie Walker Scotch Whisky.”