2012 has been an exciting year in the drinks industry, there has been exciting new products launched as well as some sad good buys.
The first piece of exciting news was the announcement that Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey was coming to the UK in January. I was lucky enough to be invited to the Jack Daniels distillery in Tennessee mid 2011 to see the production of Jack Daniels and attend an exclusive private concert staring B21 amongst other stars. Unfortunately Jack Daniels
Tennessee Honey was delayed by a few months however Jim Beam Honey was launched in the mean while to see us through our honey shortage and provide us with our first taste of honey bourbon in the UK. Some people like to drink these bourbons mixed with coke or lemonade however I think it is perfect over ice after a satisfying meal.
This year we also said a sad farewell to Johnnie Walker Green Label. Diageo announced early this year that it was withdrawing the spirit from the UK Market. Diageo also have discontinued their Johnnie Walker Gold label. Industry sources have said that with the demand increasing for whiskey most distillers are struggling to cope with demand.
Despite this slightly sad note, Diageo has announced two new whiskeys to replace the Green Label and Gold Label. The first is Johnnie Walker Gold Reserve which, on first tasting, I must say is exquisite. The industry sources I have interviewed have indicated that it was a similar blend to the discontinued Gold Label however it was blended with whiskies that came from a wider age spectrum. This gives the distiller more flexibility and a wider pallet to work with when creating this wonderful blended whisky.
The other new whiskey launched by Diageo is the new Johnnie Walker Platinum Label. All the whiskeys in this blend are left to mature in barrels for a minimum of 18 years to ensure refinement and maturity. This wonderfully refined blended whisky has been specifically created with those special moments in mind. It was a blend previously reserved for the lucky few. Drinking this wonderful whisky I have to admit I really did feel this was a special occasion. I was lucky enough to be given a sample by Diageo to review just after my wedding and opened the bottle while celebrating with a group of friends. Johnnie Walker Platinum label has now become my choice whisky for celebrations.
This year we also said a farewell to Mcallan Sherry Oak and Mcallan Fine Oak both 10 year old whiskys. A Maxium representative told me at a launch even for the replacement Macallan Gold that the reason for making this decision was because there was simply not enough liquid to meet the demand. He went on to echo the reasons that the industry source gave me regarding the Johnnie Walker Gold label saying that by not restricting the year of the single malts that go into Macallan it gives the Master Distiller more of a range of flavours to make a more refined blend.
Has this become a trend across all companies? Should we be stocking up on our specific aged single malt and blended malt whiskey? Either way as long as the result is more verity and better blends I’m not complaining.
Until then I would like to wish a fond farewell to those whiskeys we have lost this year. You shall be missed my malty friends.