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Johnnie Walker Blue Label, Blended Malt Whisky (43%)
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Johnnie Walker is a brand of blended Scotch whisky, part of the Diageo drinks group. The name draws on the legacy of John Johnnie Walker, who was the first to sell whisky in his grocers shop in Ayrshire, Scotland, including his own production whisky under the name Walkers Kilmarnock.
In 1865 Johns son Alexander produced their first blend, Walkers Old Highland. From 19061909 Johns grandsons George and Alexander II expanded the line and introduced the colour names. Red Label is a blend of around 35 grain and malt whiskies. Black Label blends around 40 whiskies, each aged at least 12 years.
Green Label is a vatted malt whisky that contains 15 individual single malts, the signature malts being Talisker, Cragganmore, Linkwood, and Caol Ila , average age of 15 years. Gold Label represents an extremely rare blend of over 15 single malts, including the very rare Clynelish malt. It was derived from Alexander II's blending notes for a whisky to commemorate Johnnie Walker's centenary.
Blue Label is Johnnie Walker's ultimate blend. Every bottle is serial numbered and sold in a silk-lined box, accompanied by a certificate of authenticity. Although no age is declared, it is believed that the whiskies blended are aged for over 25 years.
Blended Whisky is made from a blend of whiskies from different distilleries. Ireland, Canada, Japan all produce blends, yet the most renown manifestation of this whisky type comes in the form of Blended Scotch Whisky. The term denotes a blend of one or more Single Malt Scotch Whiskies with one or more Single Grain Scotch Whiskies from different distilleries.
The typical proportion is 60% grain to 40% malt. The degree of complexity and smoothness in the final blend depends on the percentage of malt. Each whisky used in the blending will normally have been matured for about 5 years, although many other longer-matured versions are also available on the market.
The term should not be confused with Blended (formely known as Vatted) Malt Scotch Whisky, which comprises only Single Malt Scotch Whiskies (100% barley), which have been distilled at more than one distillery.
The practice of blending Scots malts trace its origins back to the Victorian times. The original family-run distilleries did not have bottling facilities. They used to sell whole casks of whisky to bottlers, blenders and merchants who then combined the product of various distilleries, to craft a consistent "brand style".
It is still true that a significant proportion of the malt whisky produced in Scotland is used in Blends, which constitute a large share of the market, although the recent trends in the whisky trade have brought Single Malts into prominence. Important style ambassadors include Bailie Nicole Jarvie, Chivas Regal, Dewars, Haig, Whyte & Mackay, Bell's Whisky, Compass Box, The Famous Grouse, Langs, Black&White (Buchanans), Cuttty Sark, Johnnie Walker, Stronachie