John Walker & Sons Private Collection 2017 Edition, Mastery of Oak is the fourth limited edition in a series. It showcases the John Walker & Sons house style and the innovative spirit and craft of its blenders through small batch, one-off blends of rare and experimental whiskies. With a global limited release of 5,588 individually numbered decanters, the 2017 Edition celebrates the full richness of cask character. Limited to only 134 bottles in Singapore, the collection is available for private tasting or for purchase at S$1,200 (incl. GST), exclusively 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 in Singapore.
In an outstanding display of blending artistry, Master Blender Dr. Jim Beveridge, working with fellow blender Aimée Gibson, handpicked exceptional casks of malt and grain whiskies to create three vattings from which to construct the final blend. Each one was designed to contribute distinctive flavours from a different aspect of their mastery of oak and its many ways of influencing maturation.
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 clove spiciness. For the second vatting, they focused on finding the most well 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. Finally, they turned to special stocks from a study on the creation of flavour through different cask treatments. 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.
Jim Beveridge commented: “Every whisky starts out full of the promise of its distillery character. Oak casks offer us an astonishing number of ways to differentiate these styles further as they mature, broadening our palette of flavours for blending.”
The 2017 Edition (46.8% ABV) is best served neat, or with a few drops of ice water to accentuate the vibrant, fresh fruit notes of the original Speyside and Highland distillery characters.
The John Walker & Sons Private Collection 2017 Edition Mastery of Oak – bottled in a glass decanter illustrated with rings of oak and an angled cut to reflect the iconic Johnnie Walker slanted label – is presented with the story of the blend in a box decorated with a swirling oak pattern to represent the variety of cask styles and effects in the blend.