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.
Master distiller Harlen Davis Wheatley has created HDW CLIX – named using his initials and the Roman numerals denoting the number of times the vodka was distilled. The idea is said to have started ten years ago.
The vodka is made from red winter wheat, rye, yellow dent distiller’s grade corn and distiller’s malted barley, combined with limestone-rich water. The process includes cooking, fermenting and distilling from an original 28,400 gallons of mash, dividing it down and re-distilling over a period of twelve months, resulting in 159 distillations, 332 gallons and 2,000 bottles of vodka. Before the final bottling, the product was rested in a stainless steel tank for 12 months.
It is to retail for $299.00, for 75cl and comes in a crystal decanter and wooden box. It is 40% alcohol by volume and is said to be ‘a one-time limited edition’.
Wheatley said: “This project has been a long time in the making and we’re pleased to see it finally come to fruition. “With four different grains, multiple recipes and 159 separate distillations, the complexity is balanced and markedly pure.”
HDW CLIX will be available in limited quantities nationwide starting in mid-November.