By Stefanie Collins, editor b&c

Johnnie Walker is releasing a range of limited edition, experimental whiskies under the Johnnie Walker Blenders’ Batch banner, the first of which is the Red Rye Finish.

Led by master blender Dr Jim Beveridge, the ongoing flavour experiments are a crucial part of the distilling team’s work and focus on developing and understanding alternative flavours including wine, coffee and chocolate.


Beveridge says: “At any one time, there are hundreds of experiments into flavour being carried out by our blenders which involve making adjustments to atmospheric conditions, the types of wood and grain used, cask finishes and other elements of whisky-making in the pursuit of exceptional new flavours.”

The first release in the series, Johnnie Walker Blenders’ Batch Red Rye Finish, is reportedly the result of the distillers investigating the influence of bourbon and rye whiskey flavours on Scotch, and inspired by the time Beveridge spent blending bourbons and ryes in Kentucky in the 1990s.

According to Beveridge, the team wanted to focus on the sweeter notes available in American-style spirits.

“For the first release, we wanted to focus on what happens when the intensely sweet flavours that can be found in bourbon and rye whiskies are brought together with the depth and subtlety of carefully crafted Scotch,” he says.

Available in limited quantities Red Rye Finish features whisky from the now-closed Port Dundas distillery and also uses an incredibly small number of malt and grain whiskies, exclusively drawn from first fill ex-bourbon casks. The whisky was then finished for up to six months in ex-rye casks for “a perfect balance of intense sweetness, layered fresh fruit and spice”.

The release of other whiskies in the series will be announced in the coming months.

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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