Trying the Johnnie Walker Master’s Cut

PR invite // All thoughts and opinions are, of course, my own. 

Johnnie Walker has released a new whisky under the name of the Master’s Cut and I had the opportunity to walk up to Johnnie Walker Princes Street to try it!

I had the pleasure of meeting Jim Beveridge, the now former Master Blender for Johnnie Walker, just before his retiring from the industry. After that event I thought I’d most likely never get to meet him again, as he was retiring to enjoy life on his sheep farm in the highlands. But that was not the case, as Jim made a reappearance to make the Master’s Cut. This whisky is a blended scotch whisky, but uses only whiskies from two distilleries: grain whisky from Cameronbridge and single malt from Roseisle.

For the event we were greeted with a lunch, where I had the pleasure of sitting next to Emma Walker (no relation to John Walker or his sons) who is the current Master Blender and has been working with Jim for years on his blending team. She has so much knowledge and it’s always fascinating to listen to her. For the lunch we enjoyed little bowls of tomato salad, lamb and rhubarb & custard paired with some beautiful cocktails. The food and cocktails have always been so lovely when I’ve visited Johnnie Walker Princes Street that I’m always so happy to come back and experience new flavours. The team behind the cocktails are known for their experimental nature so you never know what might pop up on the menu. This time one of the cocktails was a haggis spice and dark chocolate one and the other was buttered brioche and Aleppo pepper. The haggis one was my favourite as it was really rich and indulgent! We were assured, however, that there was no actual haggis in the cocktail…

Following lunch we went downstairs to the whisky makers cellar for a tasting of the new whisky. We got to try the Master’s Cut as well as samples of both the Cameronbridge and Roseisle. It was really interesting to see how the combination of both whiskies, brought out strengths in the other. The Cameronbridge was lovely and sweet on its own, but lacked just a touch of texture, whereas the Roseile was fresh and green fruits but lacking a bit on the finish. The finish itself was the outstanding character of the Master’s Cut whisky. It was well-rounded, rich and had that golden characteristic that I struggle to put words to, but is often found in older whiskies. The nose and palate was floral and fruity with some grassiness and fresh oak and then it really grew and blossomed into orchard fruits on the finish.

A 1000 bottles will be available of the Master’s Cut and it retails at £1000 so unfortunately a tad outside of my budget, but I feel very lucky to have tried this whisky and to have met both Jim and of course also Emma again.

At the end of the tasting the room opened up for questions and many people were curious to find out more about Jim’s long career and recent retirement. When asked what his biggest achievement through his career was, Jim simply answered that it was putting together his blending team, assembling the knowledge he now possesses and being able to pass it on and grow it further. I’ve only met Jim twice, but there is something about him that is so likeable and humble. He seems to take great pride in his work – and especially his team, but doesn’t need to shout about it. When asked questions he answers simply and gently and if you’re lucky he had a story to go along with the response. I couldn’t resist asking to take a photo with him (especially since the photo I got last time, I looked HORRENDOUS) and thankfully I looked okay this time around. I love meeting people like Jim – they are the main reason I want to stay in whisky. Flavour experience are only so much, but it is the people that really make them special.

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Moa Nilsson

Adventurous Swede with a fondness for castles, snow and vintagesque experiences.

Scandinavian Abroad

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