Upon his father's death in 1820, a young grocer named Johnnie Walker invested his $417 inheritance into a grocery and spirits shop on High Street in Scotland. While Walker himself was a teetotaller, he sold a popular single malt whisky under the name Walker's Kilmarnock Whisky. When Walker retired from the store in the 1850s, whisky sales represented just 8% of the store's business.
In 1857, Alexander Walker - Johnnie Walker's eldest son - inherited the store and began improving its selection of single malt Scotch whiskies. In addition, Alexander had apprenticed with a tea merchant in Glasgow and there, had learned the art of blending tea. Under his stewardship, the House of Walker began blending whisky and bottling it in an iconic, square bottle adorned with a slanted label. By the time Alexander Walker retired in the 1880s, whisky sales represented over 95% of the store's business.
Johnnie Walker Blue Label Blended Scotch Whisky represents the epitome of blending and the pinnacle whisky of the House of Walker. The blend was personally created by James Beveridge, Johnnie Walker's Master Distiller, and is crafted to reflect the style of whiskies produced by Johnnie and Alexander Walker in the 19th century.
"I think of blending as being like the process of writing," says Beveridge. "Is the final book just a series of words, a lot of facts and information, or has it been put together with care and attention so that the end result will relate to the person who reads it? If it does, then that, you could argue, is magic blending, like writing, like any creative process, is much more involved in the world of ideas, with trying to connect with the whisky drinker. I like to think that we have made that connection."
Johnnie Walker Blue has a subtly sweet aroma with notes of bittersweet chocolate, caramelized oranges and a touch of tobacco. The initial notes of roasted nuts and smoky chocolate are complemented by hints of rich fruits (including pears), dates, toasted bread and delicate brown spices. The finish, which is incredibly smooth, has a touch of pecan pie, milk chocolate, peppercorn and figs. The whisky earned the Double Gold Medal at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition in 2013, and earned a score of 95 points from Wine Enthusiast Magazine.
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