Proof of Life from the Mediterranean Ghost Ship

Diageo Reserve World Class Global Final 2013 - Day 1 - Welcome Reception

If you’ve been trying to follow along the fun on the World Class cruise, you might have noticed updates are almost non-existent and photos, unless you’re talking Tim Philips eating jamon and sucking down cava, are rarer than hen’s teeth.

Apparently, despite having state of the art radar and electronics, fully automated blinds in the stately dining rooms, a luxuriant pool deck and space to conceal a Tanqueray speakeasy, the Azamara Journey has approximately zero internets.

It’s day 5, but these two photos are the only evidence aside form the group shot I posted earlier that Luke Ashton even made it on board ship.

Diageo Reserve World Class Global Final 2013 - Day 1 - Welcome Reception

For those of you not following Tim Philips on facebook, Luke made it through to the top 16, and tonight that number will be reduced in half again. It sounds like he’s doing great, so fingers crossed Australia, although if the last few days are anything to by, you’ll need to look out for Britain.


Straight flowing on a boat on the deep blue sea

Diageo Reserve World Class Global Final 2013 - Day 1 - Photo Call

It’s World Class time again, and this time it’s on a boat flitting between 5 destinations around Europe. My only disappointment outside of not being on the boat myself, is that there isn’t a single nautical-themed pashmina afghan in sight. 44 bartneders are competing this year, including our very own Luke Ashton.

Tim Philips is there, sipping Johnnie Blue and giving interviews to hungover journalists and bloggers. News is a bit thin on the ground as yet, but the welcome drink of Talisker Storm, served by a guy who went through a storm in a boat named Talisker was a pretty cute brand integration, even if the Mediterranean sun was somewhat less evocative and somewhat more a juxtaposition.


I’ll be tracking down pics of Luke’s Drinks and news of his progress, as soon as someone starts returning my emails.

Follow the fun for yourself on facebook https://www.facebook.com/GlobalWorldClassFinals and Twitter https://twitter.com/WClassGlobal

Spirit, Sydney

Johnnie Walker Blue. New.

This year Diageo has decided to tell a new story with Johnnie Walker Blue.

Jonathan Driver, the stately and superb ambassador for the brand will travel the world to introduce a new bottle, take the opportunity to tell the story of the brand once again to their most valued audiences and perhaps most importantly, meet out a few drams of frankly excellent whisky.

My good friend has scooped me to much of the news on this one, and you should really read his post to get the skinny.

The bottle has changed, and that certainly makes me value my old botttle more, but there is good reason for a break with tradtion.

The world is different now, mere products have evolved to brands and the perhaps the best now, as experiences. Johnnie Walker wanted to improve on the experience of owning a bottle of Blue Label. Holding it in your hands, pouring it to enjoy and sharing a whisky, and the story with others. The design has always been full of meaning, it now speaks with perhaps a firmer voice.

The blue tint, still present but much lighter than the traditional bottle. It has colour enough to be visually distinct from the rest of the Walker family, while allowing the golden hue of the necatrous liquid inside a much grander chance of shining through and standing out.

The bottle too, has kept four corners. The solid base of blue tinted glass sets your eyes more sharply, some lessons learned from the Gold Label bottle are trotted out again. The Walker family is all topped off in bottles with four corners. A nod to a rather poetic historical intent, first exercised in much rougher terms and language, in Old Highland; the first attempt at a saleable blend that bought the best of Scottish whisky tradition, manifest in glorious flavour nestled down together.

Spiritually, the blend changes in every batching. Whiskies from various distilleries are selected for extremely specific anomilies, but always with the same intent; to bring together the best of four corners of Scotland to your glass. There was made mention of Talisker barrels lucky enough to exhibit a peppery character, approximately one in every ten thousand.

Little surprise then that this not an experience that comes cheaply. Many would comment on your ability to get a great single malt for the same price point, and they’re right.

However, those game enough to lift a dram to their lips will not go unrewarded. It is quite simply sensational liqour; Citrus through stonefruit to toffees and buttery caramel, it delivers a textural finish with the smoke of Western coast subtle but deliciously present.

You might be able to dismiss this as mere marketing hype. The claims that are made, these stories told, this history professed; they are all warranted by the whisky inside the bottle.

It is delicious.

Dan Murphy’s has it for $169.