Born of humble beginnings, Johnnie Walker has taken blended Scotch whisky from the four corners of Scotland to the four corners of the world and boasts almost 200 years of crafting heritage. The iconic slogan ‘Keep Walking’ has been adopted and embraced as a rallying cry for progress and a joyful expression of optimism,perfectly reflecting the pioneering and innovative spirit at the heart Johnnie Walker.
The Johnnie Walker story begins in 1820 with John Walker who opened a small grocer’s store in the Scottish town of Kilmarnock, where he started to apply his tea blending expertise to craft whiskies to suit the palate of his clientele. After his death, his son Alexander took over the business and as a true pioneer he exploited the ships coming from various parts of the world bringing exotic goods to take his whisky back and sell it on his behalf. He introduced the iconic square bottle with slanted label to improve standout and reduce breakages. By 1886, the name of Walker was known worldwide.
In due course, the company passed to Alexander’s sons, Alexander and George, who began the tradition of naming the whiskies after the colour of the labels, starting with Johnnie Walker Red Label, which went on to become the world’s best-selling whisky. Leading illustrator of the day Tom Browne was asked to capture the progressive attitude of the brand and created the famous striding man motif. In 1934 John Walker & Sons was granted a Royal Warrant by King George V and, as the 20th century progressed, the pioneering brand established itself as part of the global culture.
The same pioneering spirit is relevant today, as the Johnnie Walker whisky makers spend their days in their Whisky Room with the biggest library of malts available. Led by Dr. Jim Beveridge, Master Blender of the Year in 2015 and 2016*, a small team of blenders continue to create iconic, quality whiskies. The pinnacle of their blending efforts is Johnnie Walker Blue Label, a rich and rounded liquid made from some of Scotland’s rarest and most exceptional whiskies. Only 1 in 10,000 casks are handpicked and expertly blended to create this ultimate luxury whisky and perfect gift.
Personal taste differs and therefore there is no ‘correct’ way to enjoy Johnnie Walker. If you’re looking for inspiration, Johnnie Walker Blue Label, is delicious served neat alongside a glass of chilled water. Or try a Johnnie & Ginger – a spicy mix of Johnnie Walker Black Label and ginger ale, served over ice and garnished with a slice of orange.
As Johnnie Walker prepares for the next 200 years, the brand remains committed to crafting rich and vibrant whiskies for people to enjoy during quality time with friends and family, all over the world. Keep Walking.
*International Whisky Competition® 2015 and 2016