Whisky Magazine Issue 71
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The last time I tried falling off a log I nearly broke my ankle. It looks easy enough, the principle isn't hard to understand but doing it gracefully is another matter. And doing it day after day is even harder.
So I've deduced that whisky blending is like falling off a log – rather harder than it looks. I reached this startling conclusion after a morning in the company of Charlie Smith of Diageo, one of their team presenting what they rather grandly call the Johnnie Walker Blue Label Bespoke Blend Experience.
Essentially, this involves an experienced whisky expert meeting you at a date and place of your choice.
There, he conducts a very exclusive tasting of some of the rare and old whiskies in Blue Label and then sits with you to talk you through the creation of your very own blend. Then, when you're satisfied with your handiwork he blends a small sample right in front of your eyes.
You carry that off in triumph to share with friends, together with a bottle of Blue Label.
During the tasting itself you'll try such rarities as a 25 Years Old Royal Lochnagar, 20 Years Old Rosebank, 36 Years Old Glenury Royal and even an 18 Years Old grain whisky from Cambus. Another time, Charlie's handsome portmanteau might contain Linkwood or some aged Millburn from the now closed distillery in Inverness.
By now the thought will have occurred that such an indulgent experience can't be cheap. And you'd be right, so let's get the question of the cost out of the way at once.