New Johnnie Walker Blue Label Whisky Celebrates Umami Flavor
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Johnnie Walker Taps Talents of World-Renowned Japanese Chef to Honor ‘Enigmatic’ Umami Taste For New Spin on Blue Label Whisky

Johnnie Walker

Johnnie Walker’s latest expression celebrates the umami flavor profile. (Photo: Johnnie Walker)

There’s a new Johnnie Walker Blue Label scotch whisky strolling into town: Johnnie Walker Blue Label Elusive Umami. The brand announced on Monday the latest riff on the ever-popular Blue Label that pays homage to the enigmatic umami flavor profile. It will be available starting Oct. 16 until supplies run out.

Master Blender Dr. Emma Walker joined forces with internationally acclaimed Japanese chef Kei Kobayashi in an attempt to recapture the mysterious flavor profile that encapsulates umami.

Kei Kobayashi is the first Japanese Chef to have three Michelin stars in France, according to the Michelin Guide. The native of the Nagano prefecture’s father was a chef, and Kobayashi found an interest in French cuisine. His restaurant, Kei, in Paris, earned the highest distinction of three Michelin stars in January 2020, according to Lifestyle Asia.

Together, Kobayashi and Walker made an effort to capture umami in scotch form.

One out of 25,000 casks was chosen to recapture the profile of umami. Johnnie Walker Blue Label Elusive Umami hosts a suggested retail price of $370 for a 750-milliliter bottle, and the liquid clocks in at 43% ABV.

The Diageo-owned brand recommends serving the whisky neat and suggests pairing it with Sturgeon Caviar to heighten the “umami and mineral character.”

According to NPR, Oxford psychologist Charles Spence, who is an expert on taste perception, claims that umami only “comes alive and becomes delicious when it’s combined with an aroma.”

The actual flavor of umami blends flavors of protein and salt with sour and sweet.

In 1908, a Japanese chemist named Kikunae Ikeda isolated a chemical compound called glutamate from seaweed, per NPR. Ikeda identified it as the source of the elusive flavor profile and called it “umami.”

Johnnie Walker Blue Label Elusive Umami Tasting Notes,  Via the brand

Nose: The nose is sweet and savory, with fresh green and red apples. There’s a sweetness with whisps of cashew nut, touches of salt brine and savory qualities accentuated without losing freshness.

Taste: Apple and white peach are the initial flavors on the palate. There’s balance to the scotch with savory flavors of blood orange and berries, coupled with a touch of smoked meat, warming salt and pepper with a long sweet fruit finish.

Finish: Sweet fruit with sweet wood spice.

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Cynthia Mersten is a writer/editor for Whiskey Raiders and has worked in the Beverage Industry for eight years. She started her career in wine and spirits distribution and sold brands like Four Roses, High West and Compass Box to a variety of bars and restaurants in the city she calls home: Los Angeles. Cynthia is a lover of all things related to wine, spirits and story and holds a BA from UCLA’s School of Theatre, Film and Television. Besides writing, her favorite pastimes are photography and watching movies with her husband.