If you’re tasting whisk(e)y, umami probably isn’t your first go-to descriptor. But that mysterious savory tasting note is front and center on the just-announced Johnnie Walker Blue Label Elusive Umami, available now in Edinburgh and globally starting in October.
The blended Scotch is a collaboration between Johnnie Walker Master Blender Emma Walker and Chef Kei Kobayashi (of the three Michelin-star Paris restaurant Kei). “When we set out to create Johnnie Walker Blue Label Elusive Umami, it wasn’t just a blending experience, but a gastronomic exploration,” Walker said in a press release. “Getting acquainted with the intensity of the umami flavor was the key to creating this exceptional Scotch Whisky. Best served neat with caviar to unlock the full depth of this unique sensory experience.”
“Umami possesses a mysterious quality that ignites our senses, revealing sumptuous taste, complexity and depth,” Kobayashi said. “Encapsulating that alluring flavor through Johnnie Walker Blue Label Elusive Umami allows you to immerse your palate in an exquisite Scotch whisky of subtle richness.”
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According to the brand, roughly only one in 25,000 casks from Johnnie Walker’s inland and coastal distilleries featured the right umami profile. The final result is supposedly a balance of sweet and savory flavors, with notes of blood oranges, red berries, sweet wood spice, smoked meat, salt and pepper with a long, sweet fruit finish (we’ll be trying this next month to confirm).
We’ve seen umami pop up when describing Japanese spirits (most recently in Hakata whiskies), but its use in other whisky products has been more experimental. If you want to try it for yourself, you can pre-order a bottle on Drizly here.
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