Last weekend my son and I attended a tasting event in San Francisco sponsored by Johnnie Walker. Held at Dogpatch Studios in Potrero Hill, we were in the company of over a hundred other people curious about scotch and the Johnnie Walker line. The view of the city’s skyline from the top floor studio and terrace of the building made me envious of the location, as did the view of the Bay Bridge.
The evening started with a cocktail party and a choice of one of three drinks: a scotch-and-ginger, an old-fashioned or straight scotch. We selected straight Johnnie Walker Black, neat. One particularly interesting and flavorful appetizer was the mini filet burger with blue cheese. The pours at the bars were quite generous and we left a bit of our drinks behind as we were invited to progress to the structured tasting program on the building’s ground floor studio.
The structured tasting took us through a history of the brand and the products. In a fashion similar to wine tastings, we were invited to sniff, sip, breathe in, and discern scents and flavors. In each of the five scotches presented (Red, Black, Gold, Green, and Blue) we and other tasters found varying amounts of smoke, vanilla, caramel, citrus (!), leather, and fruit.
Here’s what I walked away with that evening:
- I prefer Johnnie Walker Red is in a mixed drink than by itself.
- You can chill Johnnie Walker Gold and enjoy it in a completely different light than before.
- When faced with a dilemma of choosing a single-malt scotch, a reasonable and simple default could very well be Johnnie Walker Green.
Thank you, Johnnie Walker, for a pleasant Saturday evening.