The Spice Road. No, not the colloquial name for an Edinburgh street full of Indian take-aways and curry houses, but rather the latest release from Johnnie Walker. The name of this whisky takes inspiration from one of the famous trade routes frequented by the travelling merchants of yesteryear, such as the Walker family. The Spice Road was a route between Europe and Asia while other trade routes were the Royal Route from Europe to Persia and the Gold Route of the Americas and the Caribbean. Incidentally, Johnnie Walker will be releasing a further two expressions in this trade routes series; no prizes for guessing what they’ll be called! Legend has it that tales of exploration from far flung lands were passed from one travelling merchant to another in Alexander Walker’s Travellers’ Room in London (above) and this then inspired the master blenders at Johnnie Walker to create blends to reflect these exotic stories.
Steve White, Marketing Director of Diageo Global Travel and Middle East, said, “Travel is in the DNA of Johnnie Walker and it is these credentials that we feel will resonate with today’s travellers who are undertaking bold journeys of their own.” I’d have to agree; anyone who regularly travels with Ryanair certainly knows that every journey is a bold journey. Anyway, I digress. Johnnie Walker “The Spice Road” is now available as a travel retail only bottling (they’ve really gone to town on this travelling theme, eh?) for the eyebrow-raisingly low price of £29.99. Time to see if I should pick one up in the departure lounge…
Johnnie Walker “The Spice Road”
Explorers’ Club Collection
Travel Retail Only
£29.99 (1 litre) from here
Nose: Church candles, orange oils, balsa wood and Turkish delight to begin with. Then the smoke gently creeps in along with dark treacle and honey. It’s a very dark and rich nose, really quite intriguing.
Palate: Up first is a treacle toffee sweetness, then a wave of dry wood smoke really hits. A lot of oak – almost like chewing a twig with the bark still on it. There’s some vanilla, faint citrus and hazelnut praline notes balanced by hints of tobacco and coffee. A full on flavour.
Finish: The oak, wood smoke and rich sweetness linger around for a fair while.
Overall: Not sure if this is a travelling-the-spice-road whisky, more of a travelling-on-board-the-Death-Star whisky. We see some of Johnnie Walker’s dark side here with a full on hit of oak, waves of smoke and some rich dark chewy notes. As the entry level whisky in this series it’s a steal considering you can get a litre for under £30, particularly because it’s something not available on the full UK market. It’s possibly not the most well balanced whisky I’ll try this year but sometimes no-nonsense, straightforward whiskies just hit the spot. Look out in the future for Johnnie Walker releasing the other two bottling in this series, I know I will.