Johnnie Walker Blue Label City Edition launches at the London EyeCultureFood & Drinks
“The great thing about whisky,” exclaimed Johnnie Walker’s Whisky Ambassador, Colin Dunn, as he leapt onto a bench suspended high above the River Thames, “is that it makes you feel taller than you actually are!” Looking out from the London Eye over a skyline bathed in the setting sun, few would find grounds to argue the point. Fewer still after the first round of empty glasses were handed back. This was the scene chosen to begin the renowned whisky producers’ City Edition launch party last night.
In the world of whisky, Johnnie Walker’s Black Label is a name that features amongst the best known, selling around 20 times more than Jack Daniels annually. The illustrious Blue Label, priced at £130 a bottle, is viewed by most connoisseurs as a dram well worth forking out on whenever possible. Noted for its subtle, oaked flavour, just one cask in every 10,000 is deemed suitable for labelling “Blue” by the aptly named Master Blender, Jim Beveridge. To honour both London and Edinburgh and the importance they hold in Johnnie Walker’s history, 4000 City Edition commemorative bottles have been produced depicting their respective skylines in a fine stencil.
The evening began with canapés and a generous measure of whisky with instructions not to drink it until notified. Dunn welcomed the crowd with a brief history of Johnnie Walker and the scrutiny each cask faces, before taking the party through a tasting session as the Eye reached its apex. As instructed, we all took a sip, eyes shut, and chewed the liquid for a good minute or two until the alcohol had all but evaporated. This had the effect of condensing the whisky into an almost dessert-like, velvety form and, as Dunn will tell you, allowed it to be appreciated it on all of the levels it really should.
Following the presentation the party moved over to The Shard’s GŎNG Bar where it was treated to a Blue Label cocktail created for the occasion by the bar’s resident maestro. The Eagle Eye was a sweet and sour blend of Blue Label, Barolo Chinato, Bitters and a fermentation of strawberries, black pepper and vinegars GŎNG refers to as “strawberry shrub”. Served perfectly in time with the sunset and garnished with appropriately blue meringue pieces, this provided a fitting end to a suitably prestigious and ultimately wobbly evening.
Johnnie Walker’s Blue Label City Edition will be available for purchase in June 2015 at £199, for further information visit here.