Following the introduction of the new Johnnie Walker Gold Reserve and Platinum whiskies, Johnnie Walker have a new collection of whiskies to unveil: The Explorer’s Club Collection. Inspired by the historic expeditions of the Walker family, the collection combines the exclusive and exotic nature of international travel in centuries past with characteristics of particular travels. The first series in the collection is ‘The Trade Route’, which consists of three whiskies: The Spice Road, The Gold Route and The Royal Route.
The first to be released, The Spice Road, was very kindly brought home from a trip to Kentucky by DTS (it’s currently a travel exclusive, only available in Duty Free shops). It’s inspired by the thriving markets of Asia and comes in a lovely, slightly understated box.
On its own
Nose: Warm and rich: the heavy, sweet fruit of fruit cake and brandy, before a gradual transformation to a lighter, savoury spice, more akin to mild chilli and black pepper, and the freshness of lime. A hint of charred-wood smokiness at the end.
Taste: At the beginning there’s a sweet woodiness that has a dough-like quality to it. This quickly develops into a smooth, but seemingly playful spiciness – a combination of chilli, pepper and ginger – that lasts on the finish, giving it a warm and interesting texture that’s long, but not at all heavy. The end of the finish is warm, dry and ever-so-slightly bitter, reminding me of bark.
Intriguing – oddly sweet for a majority, before transforming to a savoury finish. There’s a subtle, creamy vanilla note throughout. Unlike some other Whisky Gingers, where the ginger ale and whisky flavours are quite separate – you get the sweet ginger and then the whisky quite distinctly at the end – the two integrate particularly well in this drink; maybe its the ginger in both? Regardless, it’s lovely.
Savoury and sweet at the same time – the dryness of the whisky and the rich fruitiness of the vermouth seem to be expertly combined. Rich, red wine to start, followed by the distinctive, dry spiciness of the Spice Road. The vermouth highlights more wintery spices in the whisky, like cinnamon and cloves. This has an excellent, interesting flavour profile, whilst remaining smooth and refreshing.
This whisky really does exactly what it says on the tin: it’s full of colourful, spicy flavours, combined with a brilliant smoothness and freshness. Although it doesn’t have the weight and comforting smokiness of the Black or Double Black Labels, it’s unique character, along with the concept behind the series, makes it definitely worth a try.
– Mrs. B.
Johnnie Walker Spice Route is available from World Duty Free for around £30 for a litre.