Published on May 15th, 2015 | by Greg Dillon


All aboard as Johnnie Walker Blue launches City Edition

A few days ago, ImALondoner was invited to an evening of whisky tasting aboard the London Eye to celebrate the launch of the Johnnie Walker Blue Label City Edition.  What better venue to launch the London edition than aboard one of the capital’s most iconic recent additions to the skyline?

Despite being a proud and lifelong Londoner, it is fair to say I have not paid the London Eye the attention it deserves for a few years, having not been on it for about a decade so was definitely looking forward to enjoying some time in a private pod.  Once aboard we had a couple of minutes to chat and whatnot as we embarked on our journey into the sky. About five minutes later we were presented with a dram of the infamous Johnnie Walker Blue Label and given an introduction by the always-energetic and passionate Colin Dunn.

He guided us through the history and heritage of the brand, detailing the first commercial premises that John Walker owned being in London on Commercial Street and explained that Johnnie Walker Blue Label was the best of the best, drawn from only one in ten thousand casks by their experienced Master Blender.

Finally, after an almost anxious wait we were instructed to sip about a quarter of the measure and to hold it in our mouths for a full minute. This felt like a lifetime as the alcohol evaporated and we went from a smooth to velvety, almost oily whisky typical of the Johnnie Walker style. The focus was not on tasting notes or dissecting the liquid as we were there to enjoy the city as well as the whisky.

Johnnie Walker Blue Label London

Johnnie Walker describe their Blue Label release as having a mellow, rounded nose, with a dry smokiness (a Johnnie Walker signature flavour) mixing with raisin sweetness. It is best savoured with the palate cleansed and cooled by iced water. One sip reveals a velvety mouth-feel, then an explosion of flavour.  At once you’ll discover hazelnuts, honey, rose petals, sherry and oranges. Subsequent sips reward you with more hidden secrets like kumquats, wispy aromatic smoke, sandalwood, tobacco, and dark chocolate.

Once we had been on the Eye for two full rotations, enjoying a fruity cocktail as our second serve, we were ushered into cars and whisked away to the Gong bar at the Shangri-La Hotel at The Shard. The cocktails were sublime, created specially by globally renowned mixologist and Gong head bartender Christian Maspes. With the signature serve being called Eagle Eye in homage to the 360 views of London available at Gong and the iconic addition of the London skyline to the Johnnie Walker Blue Label bottle, we were in for a treat.

The cocktail comprises:

  • Johnnie Walker Blue Label
  • A shrub made from black peppercorn
  • White strawberries
  • Demerara sugar and
  • Three types of vinegar: sherry, cider and clementine.
  • All mixed with Barolo Chinato fortified wine and Abbott’s Bitters.

True mixology at work. As we sipped cocktails and talked all things whisky we could not have hoped for a more perfect view; not a cloud in the sky and one of the most magical sunsets I’ve experience in London after all these years.

Johnnie Walker Blue Label city edition goes on sale in June costing £199 and is limited to just 4000 bottles in total, so pick one up if you manage to spot it!



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About the Author

Greg authors multi-award nominated GreatDrams.com, a site for whisky drinkers and learners alike and can be contacted on greg@greatdrams.com or over at Facebook.com/GreatDrams. He is also a freelance brand strategist for hire specialising in creating compelling brand positioning / propositions, creative platforms and all things strategic for whisky and other luxury spirits.

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