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17 Mar 2016 By

Tom Jones, Global Brand Ambassador of JW took us round the blend with this recent premium whisky launch, of which there are only 8,888 bottles produced. (Yes, it’s distinctly Asian). Find out more about John Walker & Sons Private Collection 2016.

If a strong handshake sets your perception of business ability, then Mr Tom Jones, Global Brand Ambassador of Johnnie Walker, would put himself across as an Ambassador juggernaut…but a rather friendly one at that. Whilst I nursed my crushed fingers, Tom Jones (yes, he gets that joke a lot) shared with Parched about his life as an Ambassador and introduced us to John Walker & Sons Private Collection 2016 Edition.

Before we start the tasting, may I ask other than Johnnie Walker, what else do you drink?

I tend to drink based upon the occasion really… If I’m watching football with mates it would be beer or Guinness, or if I’m going to a party I’d naturally go for something more fun: like Cherry Coke zero and whisky… or whisky with a twist of lime or lemon.

So what would you say would be your guilty pleasure?

It would have to be Cherry Coke Zero or Coke Zero… because I’m diabetic.  

So do you often get out to bars in Singapore for your Coke Zero? Any favourite bars here?

Actually, all of my meetings are held here at the bar in HQ – but I wish I could go to different establishments to do these tasting sessions!

And how about the Ambassador Lifestyle? It seems quite intense?

It an amazing life to live! I travel the world meeting so many interesting people and get to do the most fantastic things… I recently sailed the world promoting Johnnie Walker…but to be honest, I initially had little sailing experience and fell into the project rather unexpectedly!  

So can you now tell me more about this premium John Walker & Sons Private Collection 2016 Edition? I hear it comprises of three key blends?

Yes, but we mustn’t forget that the whiskies used to produce this 2016 Edition were drawn from over 100 casks – but yes, these were used to create three vattings which I brought here today for you to taste. The blend is inspired by the delicate interweaving of layer upon layer of flavours for complexity and soft texture.

Jim Beveridge Johnnie Walker

Have you ever tried blending? 

Yes, but it is incredibly complex. I liken the job of Mr Jim Beveridge (above), our Master Blender, to playing the phone puzzle game where you have to move blocks of wood around in sequence to allow one block to exit the hole… You see, a great outcome can only be achieved if they are played in the perfect sequence. The skill and science needed in this game is much like blending: which is also an art.

Can you elaborate more on the specific blends and distilleries used?

The blenders selected casks of mature Single Grain Scotch Whiskies, including from five Johnnie Walker distilleries including Cameronbridge and irreplaceable stocks from four now silent distilleries: Caledonian, Cambus, Carsebridge, and Port Dundas. They were brought together into two styles – vanilla, woody – fudge notes most expressive of cask character, and a sweeter, honey character from both cask and distillery. For the third vatting, Jim once again turned to his stock of experimental casks. He selected a Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky matured in American oak from a study in cask ends that has given a rich yet refined, soft fruit distillery character.

johnnie walker

How would you describe the end result?

Fine honeyed notes – a balance of aromatic layers of honey-sweetness from this array of the finest Single Grain Scotch Whiskies. The special Highland Single Malt Whisky reveals their effects most beautifully…

And the age?

We actually won a double gold award for the best blended scotch with no age statement at the 2015 San Francisco World Spirits Competition! 

8,888 bottles will be produced? I take this number is chosen to appeal to the Asian market?

I can’t deny that this intended for Asian-market appeal. After all, we are in the business of making money. But we haven’t nailed this number to the wall in the office…

Finally, how many bottles will be available in Singapore? Where is it available? What’s the damage?

Only 99 bottles of the 2016 Edition are available in Singapore and they can be purchased exclusively through Diageo Private Client Sale’s team (privateclientsg@diageo.com)… I believe the recommended retail price is S$1,250.

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