Another one of those low key informal briefings this time revolving around the new Johnnie Walker expression: John Walker Private Collection 2014. As has become customary, held in London’s Soho, officiated over by Diageo’s head of whisky outreach, Nick Morgan and in the hot seat a jet and train-lagged master distiller, Jim Beveridge.
Peter Holland explains how rum, above all other categories, is vulnerable to mis-labelling
A scotch whisky distiller, when asked recently if he made any blends, was gloriously sniffy and dismissive of blended whisky. It would have been interesting to see and hear what he would have made of the Johnnie Walker Directors Blends, which I got to taste last Thursday (November 28) in London.
I have just returned from the celebrations to mark the 20th anniversary of Havana Club International. Standing in a huge hall with more than 1,000 people – mostly employees but also people associated with the company and the eponymous Cuban rum brand – it became obvious what a force for good an alcoholic drinks brand can be.
Last night I was at the London Gin Summit, which, contrary to its lofty title, was a relatively low-key meeting of drinks commentators and producers bound by a common craft, encircled by a common road (...the M25). The premise for the summit was the question: ‘should London-distilled gin be protected?’ and this is what happened...
There’s something quite transfixing – almost hypnotic – when it comes to looking at the latest brand figures for spirits around the world. You cannot stop. More particularly so as there seems to be so much cause for celebration in the 2011 round-up. There’s Johnnie Walker scotch whisky on an incredible 18 million cases; the Irish whiskey Jameson’s posting a 20%-plus increase and now nudging the 4 million case-mark, well I could go on, and on. But one result has really warmed the cockles of my heart – and that’s William Grant’s single malt scotch whisky Glenfiddich.
I went to two whisky launches yesterday (May 8) – Bacardi’s Glen Deveron, the Royal Burgh Collection and Pernod Ricard/Chivas Brothers’ The Glenlivet Alpha. Both interesting for different reasons and very much a case of ‘chalk & cheese’ when it comes to the brand and what they are doing with it.