Umami fronts latest Johnnie Walker release

by Rupert Hohwieler

Johnnie Walker has launched a limited edition Blue Label whisky that’s powered by umami.

Emma Walker, master blender at Johnnie Walker, called upon Kei Kobayashi, a Japanese chef at Paris’ three-Michelin-starred restaurant Kei, to help create Blue Label Elusive Umami. The duo have drawn the whisky from one in 25 casks, which are selected from the reserves at the height of their maturation to undercover the distinct and complex umami profile. Walker said: “When we set out to create Johnnie Walker Blue Label Elusive Umami, it wasn’t just a blending experience, but a gastronomic exploration.” “Getting acquainted with the intensity of the umami flavour was the key to creating this exceptional Scotch whisky.” Kobayashi noted: “Umami possesses a mysterious quality that ignites our senses, revealing sumptuous taste, complexity and depth.” The ‘balanced’ Scotch encompasses both savoury and sweet, where fruity notes of blood orange and red berries co-exist with a ‘touch of smoked meat’ and a ‘hint of salt and pepper’, rounded out with a ‘long, sweet fruit finish’. To unlock its full potential and bring out the depth of umami, Walker recommends sipping it neat with caviar. Blue Label Elusive Umami’s release continues Johnnie Walker’s efforts to push the boundaries of what can be achieved in whisky. João Matos, director of global marketing and innovation, added: “In partnering with chef Kei to create this unique liquid, we’re driving intrigue and excitement to recruit a new generation of whisky lovers – enhancing a traditional drinking moment to create an immersive experience that elevates all of the senses.” Johnnie Walker Blue Label Elusive Umami will be available globally from 16 October. For those residing in Edinburgh, it can be purchased exclusively from Johnnie Walker’s Princes Street store today (18 September). To mark the launch, Kobayashi is hosting a series of events in Paris where he will create dishes to be paired with the spirit. It’s been a big seven days for the whisky giant; last week, it released its ‘biggest’ travel retail exclusive,  Blue Label Xordinaire.

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