Scotch isn't for amateurs; the drink is an acquired taste and experience. If you think you're ready to take the next step on your drinking journey, but aren't really sure where to begin, we asked Gregor Cattanach, Master of Whisky for Johnnie Walker, some simple questions to get you started on your quest to truly experience a great glass of the good stuff.
Why do you have to make Scotch in Scotland?
Scotch whisky is the most tightly regulated spirit in the world. It has to be made in Scotland using cereal grains (such as barley, wheat or maize) and matured in Scotland for a minimum of 3 years in oak casks. It is then either sold a a single or a blended Scotch. If we were to make our whisky anywhere else in the world we could not call it Scotch.
What does it mean to have blended scotch?
A blended Scotch is a combination of single malt and single grain Scotch whiskies. I like to think of a single malt or single grain whisky as a solo instrument and the blend is the orchestra. Johnnie Walker makes blended Scotch whiskies. The Master Blender, Jim Beveridge, uses single malt and grain whiskies from all over Scotland to create his Johnnie Walker blends. A different combination of style, flavor and age will result in different tasting blends. They range from bold and vibrant to very old and rare. It is a process of art and science. It is the blender’s challenge to create a well-balanced, consistent and quality blend so that each bottle you pour into a glass tastes the same year in year out.
What is the difference between all of the different colors on the bottles of Johnnie Walker?
Each of the colors is a unique blend. Each with their own personality and history, but still all distinctly Johnnie Walker. It’s all about flavors that you enjoy and Johnnie Walker has a rich offering.
- Johnnie Walker Red Label is a powerful combination of spicy, smoky younger malts. It has a real character to it. It’s robust qualities make it a wonderful cocktail base or an exciting flavor on the rocks.
- Johnnie Walker Black Label is the cornerstone of the House of Walker. This blend is comprised of up to 40 whiskies, each aged 12 years or more. It offers a deep and complex flavor, an unquestionable mark of its power and refinement. It’s often enjoyed neat or on the rocks.
- You’ll start to see Johnnie Walker Double Black on shelve and in bars and restaurants this year. It was a limited edition release last holiday season, but it’s back by popular demand. This blend is best described as Black Label, amplified. The rich, smoky characteristics in Black Label are dialed up to create an intensity of flavor.
- Johnnie Walker Blue Label is a really elegant whisky. It’s blended from some of the rarest malts available to the House of Walker, only 1 in 10,000 casks are used. It’s a truly exquisite whisky that offers an incredibly smooth mouthfeel with that signature Johnnie Walker smoke. Custom complimentary engraving is available on bottles of Johnnie Walker Blue Label online or at www.1-877-Spirits.com.
Why is it called Scotch whisky and not just Scotch?
Scotch is whisky made in Scotland. Not all whisky is scotch! And Scotch whisky has no “e” in its name, like American or Irish whiskey.