It’s easy to argue with the superiority of single malts over blended Scotch, but is that viewpoint truly accurate? In general, when comparing an 18-year-old Macallan to a cost-saving blended batch, then yes. But let’s really look at the origins of blended whisky. Long before you could acquire the world’s best single malts with the click of a button, blenders like Johnnie Walker would aggregate the best whiskies around for a top-shelf spirit that was expertly created. When done well, the results are unlike anything you’ve ever tasted, owing to the unique combination of spirits from different distilleries. Today, the king of blended Scotch is still at it, with a new expression that honors the craft by paying homage to its former master blender.
Retiring from Johnnie Walker back in 2021 after four decades in the industry, Dr. Jim Beveridge is readying to release his final blend, called Master’s Cut. Looking to both the past and the future, the whisky combines a single grain whisky from Cameronbridge and a single malt from Roseisle — the former distillery being one of the oldest in Johnnie Walker’s family of blends and the latter one of Scotland’s newest whisky makers. Transparent in its composition, the new legacy blend was made alongside the team, now led by Beveridge’s successor Emma Walker.
Benefitting from the combination of just two whiskies, Master’s Cut is both simple yet unique, with a sweet nose of vanilla, apples, pears, banana, caramel, molasses, and milk chocolate, leading into a palate of caramel and butterscotch notes with an oak-filled finish featuring elderflower and cherry blossom. It’s capped at 40% ABV.
Limited to just 1,000 700mL bottles, Johnnie Walker Master’s Cut blended Scotch will be available later this year for £1,000 (~$1,243) from the Johnnie Walker Princes Street store in Scotland. After that, it will be released to the global market.