Exclusively found in the Johnnie Walker Blue Label reserves are a small number of precious casks from Ghost Distilleries – iconic stills that have since ceased production. Johnnie Walker Master Blender Dr Jim Beveridge is fascinated by how these unique whiskies can bring the extraordinary richness for which Johnnie Walker Blue Label is renowned.
From his library of irreplaceable casks he has chosen a few uniquely full-bodied expressions of precious malts and grains and blended them to let people explore the exclusive richness and taste of our pinnacle blend in a new way. The first release in the series is Ghost & Rare, an exclusive blend with Single Malt from the renowned Ghost Distillery Brora at its heart which hasn’t produced whiskies in 34 years.
Nose: Gentle, complex and almost understated. Softly fruity, with a waxy maturity, yet subtle, layered and enigmatic, it seems to flit between the fruit, a kind of silky creaminess, some smoke – even a mineral note – soft citrus, old cedar wood, dried raspberry leaf and agave syrup.
Palate: Thick and mouth-clinging, it’s like drinking silk. There’s some jellied fruits then, just as they seem to be rising to take the upper hand, in come the marine notes. Subtle, layered and with finesse. A little water pushes things in the middle and back palate without losing any of the textural qualities. If anything, it amplifies them, making you realise that this is as much about feel as flavour. In the same way as the nose never quite reveals itself fully, you get the blandness of poached pear, heathery smoke, and then a sweet spot in the middle where fruits and syrups rest.
Finish: Long and – dare I say – haunting. Conclusion This is about movement and time, flashes like memories rising then receding as others take their place. You can only get this effect by blending. In fact, it is what blending is about, and this is a masterpiece of that art.
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