It’s not often I feel compelled to write about an event that I haven’t actually attended, but the Johnnie Walker tasting sessions are an exception. I hope that this type of consumer education will become a firm fixture that might replace the standard flashy parties or point of sale brochureware that are often the extent of a brands outreach in this market.
If you’re lucky enough to secure a seat, you’ll arrive to a Johnnie Walker red label cocktail and an introduction to your host for the night, an ambassador from Diageo who lives and breathes this iconic Scottish brand. I spoke with Sven Almenning, who hosted the session I had missed and is also the proprietor of my favourite watering hole in town, Eau de Vie. He had obviously enjoyed getting back in front of a consumer audience and the interaction it provides. The ambassadors spend much of their time training bar teams across the country, improving service and knowledge behind the bar, so it seems fitting to get them making a contribution to those who sit in front of it.
You’ll get a chance to experience whiskies from around the world, covering Canada, the States and Ireland. As well as some instruction on the different experiences you’ll have with Singles and Blends. A sensory kit should give you a few different elements to try and discern for yourself. You’ll learn about the regions of Scotch production and get a crack at the Red, Black and Green label variants of the Johnnie Walker brand. Capping the tasting is a chance to learn a few more international takes on the Johnnie Walker brand; the Rob Roy from New York, the Blazer from London (or Sydney’s Victoria Room) and a carved sphere of ice from Tokyo, Japan.
For once at least, this is not a program limited to the Metro’s on the East coast. Whichever state you live in, there is an option for you.
· The Loft – King Street Wharf, Sydney
· Eau de Vie – Darlinghurst
· The Union Hotel – North Sydney
· The Mean Fiddler – Rouse Hill
· Macquarie Hotel – Surry Hills
· Verandah Bar – Sydney CBD
· Long Room – Melbourne
· Galley Room – Melbourne
· Exchange – Port Melbourne
· Imperial Hotel – South Yarra
· Baden Powell Tavern – Collingwood
· Baranows – Hawthorn
· Port Office Hotel – Brisbane
· Fox Hotel – Brisbane
· Ice Works – Paddington
· Melbourne Hotel – West End
· Cellar (Cloudlands) – Fortitude Valley
· Story Bridge Hotel – Kangaroo Point
· General Havelock – Adelaide
· Lakes Resort – West Lakes
· Maid and Magpie – Stepney
· Tiger Lils – Perth
· Burswood International Resort – Burswood
· The Flying Scotsman Bar (Defectors) – Mount Lawley
Head to the Johnnie Walker Australian website to see this list, with the added bonus feature of being able to book yourself a session as well. Signing up to the site will also give you the chance to win some pretty amazing stuff related to the sponsorship properties Johnnie currently maintains, F1 or the Ashes anyone?