The bottle: Johnnie Walker Blue Year of the Dog commemorative bottle, $258.
The back story: Johnnie Walker is the blended Scotch of many colors. The brand, owned by the spirits giant Diageo
has long distinguished itself with different versions that have an individual hue in the name and labeling, as in Red, Black or Blue (the liquid itself varies little color-wise).
But in recent years, the brand has gone a step further. Hence, this annual limited-edition release of its Blue bottle, considered Johnnie Walker’s high-end expression, with a theme tied to the Lunar New Year. And for 2018, that means honoring the Year of the Dog.
The brand partnered with Taiwanese artist Page Tsou on this year’s bottle design, which features an image of a Shar Pei, a dog breed once raised for Chinese nobility.
What we think about it: The packaging is a clever way to give Johnnie Walker some timeliness and relevance. The bottle also dovetails smartly with the brand’s broader efforts to woo the all-important Chinese market.
As for the liquid itself, we’ve always been fans of Blue — it’s about as smoothly seductive as a blended Scotch should be. The Johnnie Walker team says to sniff around for notes of smoke, sherry and fruitcake.
And we don’t care what the single-malt snobs say: Blue is a living testament that the art of blending Scotch — that is, mixing different whiskies to make a new product — is a glorious thing.
How to enjoy it: Blue isn’t the sort of Scotch you mix into a cocktail. The brand suggests having it neat or on the rocks.