To see how the ‘other half’ lives we sent Neil Hennessy-Vass to the press launch of Johnnie Walker’s Christmas gift campaign – a cocktail party at the Queen’s jeweller, Asprey no less – for a gift set that retails at (ahem) a mere £2,750.
Johnnie Walker Blue Label has something special in store for Christmas. But you might have to start saving up for it now.
As incongruous as it may seem, last week I had a glimpse into the future. This coming Christmas to be precise, and it’s blue, that’s right the future might be bright but it’s blue, not orange.
Let me explain.
On what turned out to be the hottest day of the year so far I was ushered into the hallowed halls and deep plush carpets of Asprey, established in 1781, jeweller to the Queen and many other notables, for an exclusive cocktail party.
This place is so posh that nothing has a price on it and the stock has a lot of room to manoeuvre in the cabinets. They just don’t need to sell much of it to stay in business, that’s all.
The bar was small but perfectly formed and there was a Christmas tree in the corner. Really. Outside the temperature was touching 36 degrees.
And there was also a buzzing noise coming from a different corner created by a man with a magnifying glass and a handheld device like Dr Who’s sonic screwdriver.
A special tipple
I was attending the launch of a rather special tipple from makers Johnnie Walker in the form of Blue Label and an exquisite handblown Asprey whisky decanter which comes with two crystal tumblers and a 70cl bottle of the blue stuff.
The gift set is a limited edition, available from October, selling at a mere £2,750 available from Harrods, Selfridges and a few other quality retailers.
So, I hear you ask, why all the fuss? Well this is Johnnie Walker’s premium product we are talking about with a bold multi-layered palate, rich and smoky. Blended from the finest of whiskies… only one in 10,000 barrels is good enough to make the blue grade.
A long finish is guaranteed – wander along the way and you’ll meet chocolate, hazelnut, honey, sherry and orange amongst others (kumquats anyone?) to keep you company. Before an impossibly long, lingering, smooth finish of perfectly balanced, soft smoke.
It’s best drunk neat (recommended serve is 45ml a time) with a chilled glass of water on the side. The advice is start with the water and then alternate between the two to unlock its full complexity.
So as Christmas clearly did come early for me this year I left the cocktail party with my spirits high (sorry couldn’t resist that one). I was handed a blue box. Inside was a bottle of this soon-to-become legendary whisky with my initials perfectly engraved on the glass bottle.
Father Christmas’ elf had been working all evening in the corner of the room making sure the presents were ready in time for ‘Christmas’.
- This is the latest in a series of exclusive and limited edition releases by Diageo to help celebrate the uniqueness of Johnnie Walker Blue Label. It has even been given the big screen treatment with an on-going series of films with actor Jude Law called the Gentleman’s Wager Part One and Part Two. See below:
And Part Two
Neil Hennessy-Vass is one of the UK’s leading food and drink photographers as well as having a particular liking for fine whisky. See more of his work here