Blend it like Walker

At 3pm Eastern today, I’ll be in sitting in the kitchen, surrounded by bottles of scotch. How is this any different than a normal 3pm in Chez Dietsch? Today, I have an excuse. Johnnie Walker’s black-label blend turns 100 years old this year, and to celebrate, Johnnie’s jetting his master blender, Andrew Ford, over to New York City, to lead a webcast focusing on the blending process.

I received an invitation to the webcast a couple of weeks ago, and shortly after I accepted, the FedEx man brought me a large box of kit.

Inside the box, I found seven sample bottles of single malt and grain whiskies, a small bottle of Johnnie Walker Black, a nosing glass, a measuring beaker, a funnel, and an empty bottle.

whiskies

Seven brothers

Tools

Andrew Ford will be walking us through the process of blending scotch whiskies. He’ll also be taking questions, so if there’s anything you want to know, leave a comment here, and I’ll try to pass it along.

One question I have is why the grain whiskey appears to have been barrel-aged. I’m also curious about the number of whiskies they sent–one grain whiskey plus six bottles from various regions of Scotland (or in the case of the sherry-cask whiskey, a type of finishing method). Black Label is blended from at least 40 different whiskies. I know that Walker couldn’t possibly have sent 40 bottles without breaking their bank. Even this shipment wasn’t cheap, I’d wager. Now, what I don’t know is whether each of those bottles is actually a single malt, or if each bottle has a blend of several malts–say, several malts from the Islay region–to approximate the 40 whiskies that comprise Black.

4 thoughts on “Blend it like Walker

  1. hello!
    pls enjoy for all of us who didn’t get the package!

    I have a question I’d like you to pass to Mr. Andrew Ford:
    what is the difference between grain whiskey and grain distilled spirit (namely vodka) prior to ageing / dilution? Are that the same thing as soon as the leave the still? what make them different from each other?

    thank you a lot, if you can pls recorded for all of us!

  2. Grain whiskey is barrel aged becaus it has to be at least 3 years old to be included in anything called scotch. Of there is an age statement on the bottle the grain whiskey is aged at least that long. Hope that helps

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