Home' Scoop : Scoop 54 Summer 2010 Contents 196 SCOOP SUMMER 2010
FOOD + DRINK news
The recipe for making whisky has changed little in two-hundred years,
so a Johnnie Walker Red Label whisky will always taste the same. It is a given.
For a blending company like Walker, this is a g ood thing. However, it doesn’t
push the boundaries of possibility.
A decade ag o, John Walker and Sons chief blender Jim Beveridge
decided to test the limits by returning to the original, hand-made process
for which the company became famous in the early 19th century, and in
October 2010, Johnnie Walker global brand ambassador Jonathan Driver
flew into Australia armed with a few bottles of a great, great whisky. The
John Walker is a limited edition any way you look at it. It has been produced
one barrel at a time, accounting for 330 individually numbered fine cut
decanters. There is only stock to last seven years, and once it is gone, that’s
it! Jim Beveridge has used only nine whiskies in the blending process, each
sourced from famed distilleries that operated in the 1820s. The composition
is six malt and three grain varieties. A trio of the selected whiskies now exist
only in the Walker vaults. The blend includes Speyside whiskies, a Walker
favourite, and irreplaceable varieties from Cambus, Glen Albyn, Mortlach and
Dailuaine. Once complete, the blend was married in 100-year-old oak casks,
painstakingly chosen for their perfect heritage. Then, of course, it’s a matter
of waiting. The cork is now out of the bottle and Jonathan Driver recently
hosted a tasting dinner in Sydney to celebrate Beveridge’s crowning success.
From the initial concept – a search and reconnaissance mission to source the
finest ingredients and casks – to the conclusion, a final, perfect maturation,
the journey has been revelatory. “A modern whisky drinker would find 19th-
century whiskies overpowering,” Jonathan states. “They were strong and bitter
to the taste. This makes Jim’s achievement all the remarkable, and gets us
close to the peak, as far as quality is concerned.” Price? $4500.
Nose It begins with the richness of mature fruit, followed by a fresh citrus.
The powerful whisky flavours are then ushered in.
Body This whisky is full bodied, as you’d expect, yet retains a light, g olden
colour. Silky and creamy in texture.
Palate An initial layered burst of flavour is defined by vanilla oak sweetness,
backed with the lovely sting of Speyside originals. The Cambus
grain unifies the big, complex malt flavours from Mortlach and
Glen Albyn, yet the overall effect is unusually soft.
Finish A smoky finish of incredible quality emerges as the
giant flavours slowly evolve and subside.
Verdict The John Walker is defined by restraint; a giant yet
elegant whisky of extraordinary subtlety.
A series of Johnnie Walker tastings will be rolled out throughout Perth over
the next few months. For info on these and the John Walker, visit diageo.com.
WHISKY BLENDER AT JOHNNIE WALKER IS A LIFETIME OCCUPATION. IN NEARLY 200 YEARS, ONLY EIGHT CHIEF
BLENDERS HAVE WORKED THERE. CURRENT MASTER, JIM BEVERIDGE, HAS BEEN WITH THE COMPANY 30 YEARS,
AND RECENTLY RELEASED A HAND-MADE , LIMITED EDITION BLEND TO CELEBRATE THE FOUNDING FATHER
THE JOHN WALKER
it is gone,
WHILE CHAMPAGNE IS
WELCOME YEAR ROUND,
SUMMER IS PERFECTLY SUITED
TO THE ENJOYMENT OF ALL
THINGS FIZZY. THESE ARE SOME
OF THE LABELS WE’VE GOT ON
OUR DRINKING HIT-LIST
WHAT Quartz Reef Methode
Traditionnelle NV ($35)
WHY It’s crisp, refreshing and full
of apple flavours. A Kiwi sparkler
of immense drinkability.
WHERE De Vine Cellars,
Inglewood (08) 9271 9197.
WHAT Henriot Mellisime
WHY A truly expressive wine.
Rich, complex and deeply
flavoured. Also worth checking
out from the stable is the non-
vintage Blanc de Blanc ($120), all
aglow with its biscuity complexity.
WHERE Broadway Liquor
Store, Nedlands, (08) 9386 6093.
WHAT Delamotte Blanc
de Blanc NV ($120)
WHY From the same house of
legendary Salon, this chardonnay
wine is made in the likeness of its
sibling but costs a fifth of the price.
WHERE La Vigna, Menora,
(08) 9271 1179.
WHAT Ayala Rose
Majeur NV ($125)
WHY Up there with Bollinger in
terms of gluggable roses. Toast
and truffles on the nose give way
to layers of complex red fruit
flavours that continually build on
top of one another in the mouth.
WHERE Lamont’s Wine
Store, Cottesloe, (08) 9385 0666.
WHAT Dom Perignon 2002
($50 by the glass)
WHY After a longer-than-usual
seven years ageing, Moët &
Chandon has released its flagship
cuvee from the outstanding 2002
vintage. Head upstairs to Must’s
Champagne Lounge and take Dom
for a spin before deciding whether
to splash out on a case or not.
WHERE Must Winebar, Highgate,
(08) 9328 8255.
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