Johnnie Walker – The Spice Road

Travellers' Room

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
40% ABV
£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.




  1. Shame its not available in regular shops as I would like to try this one being a fan of johnnie walker (particularly black label)

  2. I am very disappointed with this whisky. It is absolutely not complex or spicy as the description alleges. The nose is very closed. The taste is one-dimensional – a malty caramel taste (maybe from the added caramel?). The smoke is very slight and you’ll be struggling to get any cinnamon or spices in the mouth. There is nothing memorable or distinctive about this whisky. The only redeeming feature is that it is quite smooth. It has no oomph in the middle palate. The finish is like dropping off a cliff – gone in a second. A very boring drink.

  3. Good morning, I received a bottle of Johnnie Walkers The Spice Road as a gift and I would love to try it but I cannot get ant out of the bottle. I got the cap off but there is a plastic top with what appears to be a ball bearing in it stopping the amber nectar from coming out. What have I done wrong?

  4. Invert it, Jim. You can’t pour it like a Diet Coke at slight angle. You have to turn it completely on it’s head, then it will flow effortlessly.

  5. Sorry for the delay in thanking you. Would never have thought of that. I am presently enjoying a wee dram

  6. Received this lovely scotch as a gift, absolutely gorgeous, and as I generally don’t prefer JW, was pleasnntly surprised how tasty it is.

  7. Saw 3 bottles in a case on ship board. Can this be purchased in the US. Big fan of JW. Just bought 21 yr old on ship board plus Blue

  8. Something is wrong with the quality control of this whisky. Got one as a gift and the taste blew my mind !! All the spices and aromas were there as described … awesome !! Needless to say it went down very well and very very fast !!
    Picked up a second bottle from Stanstead airport (UK) and the spices and aromas weren’t there anymore … don’t know what happened.My only guess is that they either changed the recipe or something went wrong with that batch.
    I will get another bottle and if the spices and aromas are not present as in the first bottle .. I will not touch it again.

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