As with the 2014 and 2015 editions, the 2016 expression (43% abv) is a limited release of 8,888 individually numbered bottles. It is available from February from specialist retailers at a recommended retail price of £550 for both 70 and 75cl.
Walker master blender Jim Beveridge conducted a special tutoured tasting in London yesterday (December 2). He describes the new edition, in which grain whiskies predominate, as having a soft and creamy.
Beveridge elaborates: “The first grain whisky character to appear is the blend of heady, aromatic, honey sweetness. As these myriad flavours swirl around the palate, the American oak fudge and vanilla notes of the second grain marrying emerge to balance and bring depth. As the layers are revealed further, the soft, warm fruits associated with the Highland single malt scotch whisky come through as pears and apple skins, with a background echo of estery sweetness through to the finish.”
The 2016 edition whiskies were drawn from more than 100 casks to create three vattings. Beveridge and his team selected casks of mature single grain scotch whiskies, including from five Diageo distilleries (Cameronbridge and irreplaceable stocks from four now silent distilleries - Caledonian, Cambus, Carsebridge, and Port Dundas).
They were said to be brought together into two styles – vanilla, woody, fudge notes most expressive of cask character, and a sweeter, estery, honey character from both cask and distillery.
For the third vatting, Beveridge once again turned to his stock of experimental casks. He selected a Highland (north of Inverness) single malt scotch matured in American oak from a study in cask ends that is said to have given a rich, soft fruit distillery character.
Each vatting was laid down in casks for several months of marrying so all three components came together in the final blend.
The John Walker & Sons Private Collection launched with the 2014 edition, which had a pronounced smoky element. The 2015 edition, followed with a strong fruit character.
Johnnie Walker is the world’s best selling scotch whisky brand. Approximately 25,000 bottles of Johnnie Walker are bought in any given hour, that equates to seven bottles a second.