a whisky book from whisky expert Ian Buxton.
Sometimes only luxury will do.
Unadulterated, in-your-face, loadsamoney,
show-off luxury. Imagine you’ve got a
Russian oligarch to impress, or a key
business contact in the Far East needs a
gift to lubricate an important deal.
This is the Johnnie Walker Blue Label
King George V Edition moment.
For this is an unashamedly flamboyant
whisky for the nouveau riche. From the
elaborate presentation packaging with
the twin monogrammed studs you need to
remove to open the huge box, to the
deliberately theatrical ritual of
opening its hidden double doors, to the
silk-lined interior with the parchment
certificate, to the crystal decanter on
its matching plinth, to the meticulously
detailed and very, very heavy cork
stopper, it’s all about the packaging.
Except, d’oh, this is also very good
whisky. Did you imagine that the
best-selling Scotch Whisky in the world
(Diageo move a staggering 12 million
cases of the different Johnnie Walker
expressions every year) was going to put
its name on any old gut rot, just
because the box looks good (spectacular,
to be honest)?
You can pay up to £1,000 for a single
glass (yes, glass) of some Johnnie
styles but I maintain they’re really
just showing off - flagship projects
designed mainly for PR impact. So, for
most of us, this must remain the
ultimate Johnnie Walker. And very fine it
is too, as well it might be at
approaching £400 a bottle (it will be
cheaper at the airport).
So treat yourself at least once in your
life and, as you sip, ask yourself,
“What are the poor people doing
Ian Buxton's Tasting Note For
Johnnie Walker Blue Label King George V
Colour: Deep and dark, suggestive of
great age and some sherry casks in the
Nose: Initially sweet, then more than a
hint of smoke and lots of body. This is
going to be BIG!
Taste: A very big, forceful whisky,
surprisingly honeyed and well-mannered
with the smoky Port Ellen coming through
late. Still vibrant and complex despite
the age of some of the blend
Finish: A languorous, unhurried finish,
very rounded, with the sweeter
Speysiders complementing the last fading
notes of peat smoke.