Blended whisky often carries a reputation as being lower quality than single malt scotch, but that’s utter nonsense. There’s nothing about either process that makes it better than the other. It’s the equivalent of buying produce from a farm instead of a farmers market.
Johnnie Walker has never tried to hide the fact that their whisky is blended, but now they’re outright celebrating it by releasing spirits under their Johnnie Walker Blenders’ Batch line. They’re unique beyond the “limited edition” slapped on the bottle and meant to show off the experimentation that goes into crafting their whisky.
In the US, the first blend that will be available is Johnnie Walker Blenders Batch Triple Grain American Oak, which is the result of experiments focusing on the influence of bourbon and rye whisky flavors on Scotch. This whisky is inspired by the time Beveridge spent working in Kentucky blending bourbon and rye. Aged for at least 10 years in American oak, including bourbon casks, Johnnie Walker Blenders’ Batch Triple Grain American Oak is crafted using five whiskies including grain from the now closed Port Dundas distillery and malt from Mortlach on Speyside. This combination creates a whisky that is uniquely smooth, with notes of sweet fresh fruit and gentle spice. This style of whisky is excellent as the foundation for classic and signature cocktails.
That’s about as American as a scotch can get. And at only $30 they’re definitely hitting our preferred price point, too. If you want to try it out in a cocktail, I’d suggest a Rob Roy, Blood & Sand, or Rusty Nail. Just don’t make your Rusty Nail the way Jimmy McGill does.
It’s not only the low end of the family that’s proud of blending either. The artist formerly known as Johnnie Walker Platinum is also touting the art of blending. Why have one 18-year-old whisky when you can have up to 18 18-year-old whiskies? of them? That’s a 324 year old whisky!