JIM BEVERIDGE - BLUE LABEL GHOST AND RARE GLENURY ROYAL

Johnnie Walker Blue Label Ghost and Rare is a series of limited edition whiskies which explore and shine a light on the distinct flavours and character found in Johnnie Walker Blue Label. The first in the series was Johnnie Walker Blue Label Ghost and Rare Brora, released in 2017, followed by Johnnie Walker Blue Label Ghost and Rare Port Ellen, released in 2018. 

We spoke to Johnnie Walker Master Blender, Jim Beveridge, about crafting the latest release in the series Johnnie Walker Blue Label Ghost and Rare Glenury Royal. 

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What inspired you to create the Johnnie Walker Blue Label Ghost and Rare Series?

“We wanted to give people the opportunity to explore some of the exceptionally rare whiskies that we are lucky enough to have in our reserves. Some of these rare whiskies are from what we call “ghost” distilleries - hence the name - and are among the most iconic names in Scotch that also bring an inimitable character to Johnnie Walker Blue Label.

“A “ghost” distillery is a distillery that has closed and no longer produces whisky. At Johnnie Walker, among our reserves of about 10 million casks there are some very rare whiskies from these long-closed distilleries.

“It’s hard to say exactly how many distilleries have closed over the hundreds of years people have been making Scotch but what I do know is that the whiskies we hold from “ghost” distilleries are very rare indeed, which makes them very precious liquids to the Johnnie Walker team.”

What is it like to work with such rare whiskies?

“It was such an exciting experience to be working with these precious whiskies when crafting this series. Yet, the main feeling I have when working with such rare whiskies, especially these finite reserves of “ghost” whiskies, is a feeling of privilege. My team and I always feel very lucky to be custodians of such wonderful whiskies with such inimitable character.

“With Johnnie Walker Blue Label Ghost and Rare Glenury Royal there was a very limited, finite selection of casks, so I had to adopt a different mindset, keeping a watchful eye over these maturing whiskies until the perfect moment and that was the great challenge.”

Johnnie Walker Blue Label Ghost & Rare News

Can you tell us a little about this latest edition?

“For the third edition of the Ghost and Rare series we explore the smooth and fruity character found in every drop of Johnnie Walker Blue Label through the rare character of Glenury Royal.

“From our library of irreplaceable whiskies, we chose a rare expression from this wonderful “ghost” distillery because of its sumptuous and delicate balance of orchard fruits, it is our most indulgent in the series yet.”

Most importantly, what does Johnnie Walker Blue Label Ghost and Rare Glenury Royal taste like?

“The sumptuous orchard fruits, sweet apple and delicate apricot notes from Glenury Royal are beautifully heightened by creamy toffee and butterscotch from the “ghost” distilleries of Cambus and Pittyvaich.

“Rare whiskies from the distilleries of Glen Elgin, Inchgower, Glenlossie, Cameronbridge and Glenkinchie bring waves of vanilla, heather honey and dried fruits that weave through smooth dark chocolate and nutty layers to create a perfectly balanced exploration of this irreplaceable “ghost” whisky.”

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Can you talk us through a Johnnie Walker Blue Label Ghost and Rare Glenury Royal tasting?

“Pour some Johnnie Walker Blue Label Ghost and Rare Glenury Royal into your tasting glass and give it a swirl to release the aromas. Now take a sip of iced water to prepare your palate. This adds moisture, and lowers the temperature, which adds to the sensory experience.

“You’ll find an immediate orchard freshness on the nose with apples and apricots complemented by an almond nuttiness. Bearing in mind the age of some of the whiskies, there are also some unexpected light wood notes.

“Next, take a sip and enjoy this incredibly smooth and indulgent whisky. Dark chocolate begins to come through, more layers of nuttiness, while creamy butterscotch and toffee notes from the grain whiskies start to develop. There are still lots of fresh tarte tatin flavours and apricot, as well as dried fruit. Prepare for a long, lingering finish with vanilla and a light, characteristic Johnnie Walker Blue Label smoke coming through.

“Now we move on to Johnnie Walker Blue Label. As before, swirl your tasting glass to release the aromas. You’ll find it mellow but fragrant on the nose, with a touch of raisin sweetness. Desiccated coconut follows then other nutty notes; unsalted peanut, brazil nut. Prepare your palate with a sip of iced water.

“The whisky will feel velvety and smooth, before an explosion of flavour gives you hazelnut, honey, rose petals, and the distinctive smokiness of Johnnie Walker.  Dark chocolate follows, with hints of grass and a nice malty hit. The finish is long and slow to fade.  Honey and dark chocolate begin to retreat as the mouth-watering grain comes through.  Finally, it’s floral and oaky with a burst of Highland style smoke.”

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Find out more about the Johnnie Walker master blender Jim Beveridge here.

Discover more of our exceptional range of limited edition whisky.

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