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Johnnie Walker launches ‘Mastery of Oak’

Johnnie Walker has announced the release of the John Walker & Sons Private Collection 2017 Edition, Mastery of Oak, with a global limited release of 5,588 individually numbered decanters.

Available exclusively at the Johnnie Walker House Singapore, this is the fourth limited edition in a series that showcases the John Walker & Sons house style and innovative spirit and craft of its blenders through small batch, one-off blends of rare and experimental whiskies.

Limited to only 134 bottles in Singapore, the collection is available for private tasting or purchase at S$1,200 (US$848) including GST tax through the Johnnie Walker House Singapore. Bottle No. 1 and other auspiciously numbered bottles including 88, 1888, 2888, 3888 and 4888 are also available for sale here.

In addition, the master blender, Jim Beveridge, along with fellow blender Aimee Gibson created three vattings to construct the final blend. Each one was designed to contribute flavours from a different aspect of their mastery of oak and its many ways of influencing maturation, the company said.

They began with active American oak, selecting fine examples of ex-Bourbon casks that had contributed an abundance of rich, creamy, toffee and spice notes to Malt & Grain Scotch Whiskies as they matured, together with a handful of whiskies aged in rejuvenated casks for balance and a clove spiciness.

For the second vatting, which was called “the heart of the blend” by the company, they focused on finding the most beautifully balanced refill casks in their reserves. The less active oak enables a long, gentle maturation that lets distillery character continue to shine – in this case Highland and Speyside rich fruit distillery character with a mellowness and smoothness brought about by the wood (mostly American oak, some European), the company stated.  

Finally, they chose solely American oak combinations from these experimental casks, particularly new oak that has created an intensity of vanilla sweetness over time and cured casks for the wealth of flavours from activating deeper layers of oak.

Commenting on the final blend, Beveridge added: “For Mastery of Oak, we assembled some of our finest casks into three main styles of oak effects. Each vatting, brimming with complexity, was re-casked into blending puncheons for the flavours to combine. We’re delighted to have been able to bring them together to such great effect in the 2017 Edition, a sumptuous blend of oak-rich fruit notes.”

The 2017 Edition (46.8% ABV) is best served neat, or with a few drops of ice cold water, the company suggested.

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