Sacha Walters-Gregory, Staff Reporter
Nosing a Johnnie Walker whisky's full-bodied flavour more than hints at the sheer potency of the line, and Arturo Savage, Johnnie Walker's Reserve Whiskies regional brand ambassador, is in Jamaica to spread the news of the historic brand by showcasing two of the label's new products.
The Johnnie Walker Gold Reserve and Johnnie Walker Platinum label are new expressions in the premium alcoholic drink line.
"They are both brand new globally," said Savage, who is from Venezuela, which has the leading consumers per capita of whisky.
Although from a land where whisky is king, Savage said he never really respected the drink until he visited Scotland, learned the story of the Johnnie Walker brand, and fell in love with it.
"We're talking about three generations of passion, hard work, and an obsession with quality. The whole story of the brand is about doing better all the time. So this is my brand," said Savage, who was plucked from his profession as an industrial engineer, by a similar passion for food.
"I decided to follow my heart, as people say, and I became a chef," he said. It was on the job that his passion collided with the Johnnie Walker passion.
"Suddenly, I had a visit from the people of Johnnie Walker, the restaurant I was cooking at and I made a presentation on food and the guy said, 'I like the way you talk man, you should come and join us'," he recalled.
Since then, Savage has been spreading the passion of Johnnie Walker through training sessions with bartenders and generally allowing persons to learn more about the brand, which is a part of his reason for being on the island.
MASTERS OF INNOVATION
"It's a brand that reinvents itself all the time and we're masters of innovation and that's a really great feature of Johnnie Walker since the very beginning we have grown with our consumers. As they have evolved in flavours, occasions and tastes, we evolved in our blends, always having a blend for a drinking occasion," he said.
This evolutionary approach represents the move to introduce two new flavours which will replace two existing expressions, the Jhonnie Walker Green and Jhonnie Walker Gold.
"We will retire them to the hall of fame," said Savage. Both versions are now collector's items and will no longer be made, so once the current stock is depleted, they will be finished.
The brand, which will turn 200 years old in 2020, is distributed locally by Diageo, which wants to expose Jamaicans to consuming more whisky.