Last night (Tuesday December 3), I attended a tasting of Balblair vintages. We tasted five whiskies, 2003, 1997, 1990, 1983 and 1969, prefaced by a glass of Balblair’s base spirit.
The products are part of an innovation drive that will see a number of exclusive Johnnie Walker collections launched in the channel.
The first series from the Explorers’ Club Collection, named The Trade Routes Series, builds on the brand’s heritage as a pioneer of the category.
The Spice Road ($43 for 1 litre), The Gold Route ($95 for 1 litre) and The Royal Route ($159 for 1 litre) make up the series.
None of the expressions carry age statements; all are 40% abv.
The whiskies will be staggered in their release; The Spice Road launches to global travel retail now, The Gold Route will arrive in February/March and The Royal Route in May/June - at which point the collection will be available as a three-whisky pack.
Answering questions from journalists at the event, Steve White, marketing director for the brand, said the expressions' prices don't necessarily reflect the age of the liquid but the “rarity of the flavours”.
White said the Johnnie Walker Explorers’ Club Collection campaign would be “the biggest we have ever run in travel retail” and that “we think that it is the biggest anyone has ever run [full stop].”