Johnnie Walker Blue Label is one of the most recognizable scotch whiskies on the planet, and it’s a reliable answer to anyone who knocks blends as inferior to single malts. It’s not a one-and-done expression, however, as the brand has just announced Johnnie Walker Blue Label Elusive Umami, a new, limited edition whisky that leans into the enigmatic flavor of umami.
To make it happen, Johnnie Walker Master Blender Emma Walker teamed up with Kei Kobayashi, the chef behind three Michelin-starred restaurant, Kei, in Paris. He’s an expert in flavor pairings and combinations, so he was a valuable partner in the project.
Walker explained the Elusive Umami expression as more than a blending experience, calling it a gastronomic exploration. “Getting acquainted with the intensity of the umami flavor was the key to creating this exceptional Scotch whisky,” she said.
The whisky was created with select casks from inland and coastal distilleries, hand-picked at the height of their maturation and chosen for their unique umami character. Only one in 25,000 casks was deemed fit for the job.
“Umami possesses a mysterious quality that ignites our senses, revealing sumptuous taste, complexity, and depth,” said Kobayashi. Johnnie Walker Blue Label Elusive Umami encapsulates that flavor, and lets drinkers immerse their palate in a unique and subtly rich whisky.
Brand-provided tasting notes describe the whisky as having sweet and savory aromas, with notes of red and green apples, plus confectionary sweetness, cashews, and salt brine. The palate brings apples, white peaches, blood oranges, and red berries. There’s also sweet wood spice, a touch of smoked meat, and a hint of salt and pepper leading to a long, sweet fruit finish.
As for how to drink it, Walker says that Blue Label Elusive Umami is best served neat with caviar to unlock the full depth of the unique sensory experience.
Blue Label Elusive Umami is currently available at Johnnie Walker Princes Street in Edinburgh, but you’ll soon be able to find it on store shelves and online. Pre-sales begin on October 2, and bottles will be available to buy globally starting on October 16, with a suggested retail price of $400.