Five Minutes with Johnnie Walker’s Global Brand Ambassador, Tom Jones
Tom Jones is a busy man. As the global brand ambassador for Scotch whisky, Johnnie Walker, he spends his time travelling around the world to meet with whisky enthusiasts and share his knowledge of this drink through talks, master classes and tasting sessions.
In his most recent trip to Singapore, he took time off from his hectic schedule to tell us more about Diageo’s John Walker & Sons Private Collection 2016 as well as the previous editions.
You have been releasing different editions of the John Walker & Sons Private Collection since 2014. How did this idea come about?
Two years ago, we set out to create a new series of annual limited releases that represents the flavour characteristic of the brand. It is a wonderful opportunity for us, as blenders, to show the innovative spirit, skill and complexity of our craft today and the new Blended Scotch Whiskies we are able to make.
Within the vast stocks maturing across Scotland, our master blender Dr. Jim Beveridge has built a valuable reserve of small batches of malt and grain whiskies, blended and set aside for years to create new depths of flavour. Within these bespoke stocks are experimental casks that Jim Beveridge and his team use to innovate and explore the creation of incredible flavours for their blends.
The wide range of Johnnie Walker reserves also means the blenders have access to irreplaceable casks from silent distilleries (distilleries no longer in existence). The small batch, one-off nature of the John Walker & Sons Private Collection blends means they can draw on these special casks, and ensure their rare characters will be revealed fully.
What makes the John Walker & Sons Private Collection 2016 special?
The 2016 edition, Fine Honeyed Notes, is a chance to shine for the myriad light, bright, golden, usually hidden flavours that create the extraordinarily soft texture and harmonious complexity in a John Walker & Sons blend. It balances the aromatic layers of honey sweetness from an array of the finest single grain scotch whiskies with special Highland single malt scotch whiskies that reveal their effects most beautifully.
How is it different from the previous editions?
This is the most complex edition to date in its making, blended with whiskies drawn from over 100 casks due to the many subtle variations required in flavour styles and effects, and the precious little remaining after the lost ‘Angels’ Share’ from years of maturation.
The master blender had the luxury of handpicking rare casks from five Johnnie Walker grain distilleries, four now silent, alongside Highland single malt scotch whisky from treasured experimental casks that have created wonderfully subtle fruit distillery character.
Could you tell us more about the first two releases in 2014 and 2015?
The first two John Walker & Sons Private Collection releases represented the most important distillery styles in John Walker & Sons whiskies: 2014 edition, a Unique Smoky Blend and 2015 edition, Rare Fruit Character.
The John Walker & Sons Private Collection launched with the 2014 edition of 8, 888 individually numbered decanters of a unique smoky blend. Meanwhile, the second release which explored the top notes that unfold in John Walker & Sons blends are laden with fruit character.
You have released 8, 888 bottles for all editions. Is there a significance behind it?
People love the lucky number 8.
How many bottles have you allocated for the Singapore market? And where can we purchase it?
Only 99 bottles of the 2016 edition are available in Singapore and you can purchase this exclusively through Diageo private client team.
What’s the best way to enjoy the John Walker & Sons Private Collection 2016?
It’s simple — with a glass of water.
The John Walker & Sons Private Collection 2016 is available now. For enquiries and purchases, please email email@example.com