By Jeremy Azevedo
|So the other day I get an email asking me if I want to learn how to blend Scottish whiskey with Johnnie Walker’s Master Blender, Andrew Ford, at Montage in Beverly Hills.|
For me, this is the equivalent of asking Charlie Sheen if he wants to learn how babies are made at the Bunny Ranch in Las Vegas or asking Lindsay Lohan if she’d be interested in a nasally ingested chemical buffet at MyHouse (the club, not my actual house) in Hollywood. So of course I accepted, and poured myself a glass of scotch to celebrate my good fortune! …Which everyone else in the office thought was weird because it was only 11am. F**king squares, man. Amirite?
The intern delievering my morning "coffee". (I suspect she's been sampling my stash.)
So I arrive a at the hotel later and there’s all these stuffy food critics and one or two other young boozehounds like myself standing around eating delicious appetizers and drinking Old Fashions. I was a little underdressed but made up for it by having a sweet beard, which, as we all know, let’s everyone know that you mean business. Which I totally did. Before long we were herded downstairs into some kind of weird library inexplicably located underneath the hotel restaurant, and seated before what looked like a chemistry set from the 1950s. Only instead of all the beakers being filled with vinegar and sulfuric acid and shit like that, they were each and every one of them filled with regional Scottish whiskies.
Johnnie Walker's Master Blender, Andrew Ford, hamburgling a vial of my secret recipe.
The reason for our being here, if I haven’t got to that already, is that Johnnie Walker Black Label was celebrating 100 years of getting people hammered. People with discerning taste in fine blended Scotch whiskey. 100 years! If you think about it, that means you’re getting schnockered on the same hooch that your granddad did back in WWII, or the ‘Nam if you’re a little younger, or Desert Storm if you’re even younger than that, to which I would say: “Dude, are you even old enough to drink?” Their master blender, Andrew Ford, had come all the way from Scotland for the first time ever, and would now go on to give us a little history about the brand and a little lesson about the crafting process.
Grandad getting smashed and pimpin' hoes back int he good ol' days.
The first and most awesome part of blending a fine Scottish whiskey is the tasting part. Before us were stacked 8 different bottles of regional Scottish whiskey that each had their own unique flavors and characteristics. Each one was produced in a different part of the country and with a different process, resulting in a wide range of flavors that could at times be more or less smoky, and more or less smooth. I mistakenly read the word “smoky” as “short”, which got big laughs from those assembled at the table with me. Little did they know that I would have the last laugh when my whiskey turned out to be the most delicious blend since chocolate and peanut butter, since celebrities and reality television, since wrestling and soap operas!
Me, hard at work crafting the most delicious whiskey blend in the known universe.
Like a mad scientist, I carefully measured out a formula based on the unique characteristics of the various whiskey stocks. To the uneducated tongue, they probably all tasted quite similar to one another, but this was not my tongue’s first rodeo with whiskey, and as a result, I was able to concoct what Andrew Ford referred to as “A very sensible blend”. (…Before having his minions photograph my secret recipe and send it back to the lab for analysis, no doubt!) The experience gave me a greater appreciation for what Johnnie Walker is and how it’s made. If you are a whiskey drinker, I urge you to pick up a bottle of Johnnie Walker Black Label Centenary Edition, pour yourself a little glass with a “water back” and enjoy one for all your hard work, reading articles like this one while you’re at the office pretending to be working!
Two of the best whisky varietals on the market.
The Johnnie Walker Black Label Centenary Pack is available now and retails for around 50 crispies. The Jeremy Azevedo Limited Luxury Edition is also available in my bathtub and retails for 10 American dollars, 5 if you bring your own jar!