The John Walker & Sons Private Collection 2017 Edition is the fourth annual, limited release and once again showcases the craftsmanship and innovation of John Walker & Sons blended Scotch Whisky. Called Mastery of Oak, it is another master class from Johnnie Walker master blender Jim Beveridge who combined flavours from over a hundred casks to produce our most complex blend to date with the help of blender Aimée Gibson.
The whisky is a combination of three unique blends, each selected for their ability to display different oak characteristics.
The first vatting is a mix of malt and grain whiskies that have been aged in active American oak, together with a “handful” of whiskies aged in rejuvenated casks. The liquid was sourced from a number of distilleries and was selected to add rich caramel flavours.
The second vatting in Mastery of Oak consists of Highland and Speyside refill casks – mostly American and some European – that have been aged for longer than the first vatting. It is said to have a “rich fruit distillery character with a mellowness and smoothness”.
The third and final vatting consists of “experimental” malt and grain whiskies aged in American oak casks (mostly new oak) that had been toasted to varying degrees; casks filled with spirit of different alcoholic strengths; and ‘salt cured’ casks.
Beveridge claims that preconditioning the casks with salt allows to oak to evolve at different temperatures, and so produce different flavours.
These three vattings were then re-casked into blending puncheons before bottling.
Rich and complex with light sweetness, dry spice and notes of orange, leather, ginger, tobacco and berries, Mastery of Oak is limited release of 5,588 bottles which are now available at an RRP of £550 ($685) from specialist retailers.