This Elusive New Blend by Johnnie Walker is Made for Today’s Tastemakers
Following a growing consumer demand for premium spirits, scotch label Johnnie Walker debuts a new whisky that immerses the senses.
Diageo, the maker of well-known liquor brands such as Johnnie Walker, Tanqueray, and Guinness, has leveraged its global expertise to cater to a growing consumer demand for premium alcoholic beverages. In fact, Asia was named as the largest luxury spirits region globally, while China is one of the largest consumers of scotch, with double-digit growth.
This upward trend represents a significant opportunity for several of Diageo’s renowned brands.
“The Philippines is poised to become an emerging luxury destination,” Rajesh Joshi, the General Manager at Diageo, highlighted. “And we are [committed to] playing our part in encouraging consumers to drink better—not more.”
Premium Spirits for the Luxury Market
In pursuit of this objective, the multinational company aims to push the boundaries of whisky craftsmanship. Johnnie Walker’s master blender, Dr. Emma Walker, partnered with celebrated chef Kei Kobayashi from the three-Michelin-starred restaurant Kei in Paris to craft the limited-edition Johnnie Walker Blue Label Elusive Umami.
On October 9, at the recently reopened Makati Shangri-La, the Scotch brand hosted an exclusive one-night event called “Feast for the Senses.” The event showcased an eight-hand tasting experience to introduce the umami-infused whisky. Living up to its name, it gave attendees a profound culinary sensory experience.
Beyond the showcase of a new luxury product, the event marked a significant foray into the culinary industry—curated through a collaboration between notable figures in Southeast Asia’s food and beverage industry. This includes creatives like Angelo Comsti of the Asian Culinary Exchange, Chef Edwin Loh of Makati Shangri-La, Don Baldosano of Linamnam MNL, as well as Nicco Santos and Quenee Vilar of Cafe Aurora.
A Commitment to Progress
Today, Johnnie Walker whisky—sold in over 180 countries—stands as the best-selling Scotch whisky worldwide. Over the last 200 years, Johnnie Walker has consistently upheld its commitment to progress, symbolized by the iconic Striding Man logo.
Building on this rich legacy, the new blend captures the enigmatic essence of umami—the elusive “fifth taste” in Japanese cuisine, following salty, sweet, sour, and bitter notes. This is the result of an intricate process, where only one cask out of every 25,000 successfully encapsulates the unique umami character.
To begin this journey, the Scottish label meticulously handpicks whiskies. Among the distilleries they used are Mortlach and Benrinnes for hints of rich savoriness and aged grain whiskies from Port Dundas and Cameronbridge.
The Scotch Brand’s Competitive Edge
Attendees were also invited to participate in an insightful mentoring session led by Dr. Walker, where they delved into the artful balance of blended Scotch whisky. The Johnnie Walker Blue Label Elusive Umami stands out with its distinctive flavor profile—marked by notes of sweet wood spice and complemented by hints of salt and pepper—setting it apart within the competitive spirits industry.
The interview with John O’Keeffe, Diageo’s president of Asia Pacific, sheds light on the evolving consumer preferences. “Younger consumers don’t want to be drinking something that their parents drink. This also applies to brands with long legacies like Johnnie Walker,” he said.
Dr. Walker guided a tasting of the Elusive Umami, presenting its ideal serving method—savored neat, paired with a spoon of Oscietra Caviar—to unlock the full spectrum of flavors.
Expert Pairings With the Johnnie Walker Blue Label Elusive Umami
Following this, Chefs Baldosano, Santos, Vilar, and Loh expertly paired the whisky with complementary numbers, while images evoking earth, wind, and water were projected on the walls—all of which inspired the menu.
Meanwhile, drink collaborator David Ong masterfully crafted specialty Johnnie Walker Blue Label cocktails that delighted guests, while the live music performed by the Manila Philharmonic Orchestra elevated the overall experience.
By collaborating with experts from diverse domains, Johnnie Walker not only elevates the craftsmanship of their products but also ensures that they’re at the forefront of the luxury beverage landscape.
This commitment to excellence underlines their aspiration to lead the way in enticing consumers to savor the finer aspects of drinking—reflecting a shift from quantity to quality and reinforcing their role in transforming the Philippines into the next luxury destination.
The limited-edition Johnnie Walker Blue Label Elusive Umami is now available in limited quantities in the Philippines—get yours exclusively at S&R through Diageo Private Sales Channel via [email protected] and Singlemalt.ph.