Johnnie Walker concludes Masters series

by Alice Brooker

Diageo-owned Johnnie Walker will release 288 bottles of the third and final whisky in its Masters series, priced at £20,000 (US$26,879).

Johnnie Walker Masters of Flavour will round off the Johnnie Walker Masters series, which now comprises three expressions, including the Ruby Reserve and Masters’ Edition. Johnnie Walker Master’s Ruby Reserve is a celebration of Beveridge’s 30 years in the industry. Meanwhile, the Masters’ Edition was crafted using Scotch aged for a minimum of 50 years from distilleries that were operational during the lifetime of John Walker, founder of Johnnie Walker. Jim Beveridge, Johnnie Walker master blender, said: “It is fascinating to craft a Scotch that pays tribute to each of the four main steps in whisky making – malting, distilling, cask maturation and blending – to shine a light on how each craft contributes something very special to the extraordinary flavours that Scotch has to offer, from grain to glass." Masters of Flavour was made using the ‘finest matured’ whiskies in the Johnnie Walker reserves, all of which have been aged for at least 48 years. The batch of 288 bottles will be one of the final releases of master blender Jim Beveridge before his retirement, whereby he will pass the baton to new master blender Emma Walker. Beveridge added: “This incredible blend showcases how masters of the art of whisky making combine generations of Scotch knowledge and craftmanship with their own expertise of malting, distillation, cask maturation and, of course, blending, to create a truly exceptional Scotch.” The bottling is a blend of hand-selected whiskies from ghost distilleries Glyn Albyn, Port Dundas, recently revived Brora and Glenury Royal. To create the 41.8% ABV bottling, Beveridge sought the help of whisky veterans who he has worked with over the years, including malt master Donna Anderson, cask master James Carson and distillation master Douglas Murray. “By nurturing close relationships with malt, distillation and cask masters throughout Scotland, a blend master contributes to creating a unique collaboration of craftmanship in service of making exceptional Scotch, these are relationships that we have nurtured through 30 years of working in whisky," Beveridge added. "It’s an honour to pay tribute to those experts." On the nose, the expression delivers smoky aromas of leather-bound books, and molasses, which give way to rich dried fruits bursting with currants. Meanwhile, on the palate, notes of cinnamon-infused apples and star anise appear, before finishing in a gentle and warming smoke. All three whiskies in the Masters series are presented in a Baccarat crystal decanter within a bespoke oak cabinet. Johnnie Walker also recently released the fourth bottling in its limited edition Ghost and Rare series.