All good things must come to an end. Even the most exquisitely crafted things. Johnnie Walker has today announced that the latest release of The John Walker will be the last ever in this masterclass in whisky making. Only 330 bottles have been released worldwide as a limited edition - The John Walker, Last Cask.
This exquisite whisky is presented in a handblown Baccarat crystal decanter, with a bespoke design by Hand Engraver of Glass to Her Majesty the Queen, Philip Lawson Johnston. Every beautifully hand-drawn image decorating the bottles is unique, with no two engravings the same - making this a truly unique offering.
For over a decade, The John Walker has been crafted with some of the finest and most valuable casks of whisky from the unparalleled Johnnie Walker reserves. These whiskies are hand-selected from just nine distilleries that were in existence during the lifetime of Johnnie Walker founder John Walker (1805 - 1857). The whiskies are then matured with a special triple maturation technique, which includes a final marrying in a bespoke cask made from 100 year old oak staves.
In the expert view of Johnnie Walker Master Blender Jim Beveridge, this special cask, essential to balancing the flavours of The John Walker, will soon no longer bring the balance and depth of character that is so important for this elegant whisky. He has therefore decided to withdraw it from use, meaning only one final cask of The John Walker will ever be released.
Dr Jim Beveridge, recognised this year with the awarding of an OBE for services to the Scotch whisky industry by Her Majesty the Queen, said: "It has been a privilege to work with such rare and valuable whiskies to create the balance and depth found in The John Walker, and this beautiful new presentation is a fittingly elegant swansong for a superb Scotch."
The John Walker is intricately crafted using six exceptional single malt whiskies and three extremely rare grain whiskies that are expertly combined to ensure exceptional depth of flavour.
The process begins with a long, first maturation in individual casks allowing the specific flavours unique to each distillery to develop. A second maturation step then brings the single malts and grains together in two separate vattings, before the final marrying step.
For the first time Jim and his small team of expert whisky makers reveal the remarkable whiskies that are used to craft this elegant Scotch:
"We combine extremely rare grain expressions from Cambus, Port Dundas and Cameronbridge, which creates delicate flavours including notes of honey sweetness, subtle spice and soft fruit character.
"A vatting of exceptional single malt whiskies offers deeper, more robust aromas of dried fruits, with waves of citrus fruits unfolding from the distilleries of Glen Albyn, Cardhu, Mortlach, Clynelish and Dailuaine before culminating in the unmistakably warm and peppery smokiness of Talisker," says Jim.
The nine whiskies are then married in the bespoke The John Walker cask, allowing the flavours to mellow and integrate, providing further depth and layers of character. The result is a wonderfully elegant Scotch with flavours that slowly unfold.
The John Walker, Last Cask is bottled at an ABV of 40% and is available in selected markets from August onwards at the recommended retail price of Renminbi: 21, 835 ¥ in China.