As the Queen celebrates her 60th Jubilee, John Walker and Sons have bottled their Diamond Jubilee blend; a specially crafted blend of rare malt and grain Scotch Whiskies distilled in, and maturing since, 1952 - the year Her Majesty acceded to the throne.
Whisky is enjoyed the world over, the first Whisky was distilled by the Babylonians in the 2nd Millennium BC and was quickly adapted around the world. There are now over 14 countries that excel in blending using a range of ingredients from malt to corn.
Whisky is an art form, and it should be celebrated as such -it can take years before the finished product is on the shelf.
Scotch Whisky has long been thought of as the best blend in the world. The Scotch Whisky Association defines a true blended Scotch whisky as; a blend of one or more Single Malt Scotch Whiskies (distilled at a single distillery from water and malted barley by batch distillation in pot stills) with one or more Single Grain Scotch Whiskies (distilled at a single distillery from water and malted barley with, or without, whole grains of other malted or unmalted cereals).
In order to be described as Scotch Whiskies, both Single Malt and Single Grain Scotch Whiskies must also be produced at a distillery in Scotland and matured in an excise warehouse in Scotland, for no less than three years.
John Walker & Sons can boast traditional Scotch Whiskies and has gained international credence for its brands. As the distillers By Appointment to Her Majesty The Queen, they have released a Diamond Jubilee special blend in celebration of the event.
There will be only 63 bottles available worldwide, with one bottle being presented to the Queen herself, collectors should be quick to snap up one of the £100,000 bottles - which contains a diamond and has been lovingly crafted by more than 60 fine artisans.
The diamond shaped Baccarat crystal decanters stand on a crystal base - with six radial legs to reflect the decades of The Queen’s enduring reign. Each bottle is adorned with Britannia silver, selected for its purity, a collar set with a half-carat diamond and a John Walker & Sons monogramed and individually numbered seal.
The creation of Diamond Jubilee has been a once-in-a-lifetime privilege for Master Blender Jim Beveridge and his apprentice Matthew Crow who have overseen the search, selection and expert blending of the Whiskies from the beginning. The final, traditional step of marrying has been carried out in casks using oak provided by kind permission of The Queen from her private Sandringham Estate.
Jim believes that he has been lucky to have worked on the entire range of John Walker blends, and “most recently, I have been working on Diamond Jubilee, which has been a true highlight of my career so far. I feel an immense sense of pride to be involved in this project, it is such a unique and special creation. An extraordinary amount of care and attention has gone into every stage; there was a great sense of excitement building towards the bottling of the liquid, when the full character and flavours of Whisky was revealed for the first time.”
Jim has been with the company for 32 years, starting his career as a chemist and investigating the flavours you find in the Whisky and how Whiskies mature. “I studied the fundamentals of flavour – how flavours are actually created. I later moved from the laboratory to the blending table itself and became a Blender. My passion is Whisky and how individual variants are made.”
The key building blocks for crafting a great Whisky are good malt, good grain and good wood. But Jim says, “in terms of the perfect blend, it really depends on the occasion, the design and operation of the distilleries, the nature of the casks in which the Whiskies are matured, and the time taken to mature.”
© John Walker Diamond Jubilee