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.
The range - which employs age statements rather than the traditional VS, VSOP and XO descriptors - includes an 8-year old (£35/€31.50/$45), 12-year old (£40/€36/$52), 20-year old (£48/€43/$60), 30-year old (£75/€67.50/$95), 40-year old (£120/€108/$150), 50-year old (£10/£190/€270) and 60-year old (£490/ €440/$620) expression.
According to the Darroze family, which sources eaux-de-vie from Bas-Armagnac estates in the west of the French region, the release of younger blends are a response to demand for high quality expressions that provide value for money.
The age statement on Les Grands Assemblages indicates the age of the youngest armagnac in the blend and ABVs range from 42% in the 50 and 60-year old to 43% in the other expressions.
The range is available in 70cl bottles, while the 8-year old, 12-year old and 20-year old are available in magnums (150cl).
A spokesperson for the brand said: “Les Grands Assemblages consists of seven extremely well balanced, high quality Bas-Armagnacs with great character.
“The younger the blend, the more aromas of fruit, whilst the older the armagnac, more the notes of ageing will take over.”