Following the release of the John Walker & Sons XR21 The Legacy Collection in October 2020 – which featured the unique traits of the Cantonese, Hakka, and Hokkien clans – the brand has expanded this exciting collection to now include the Foochow, Hainan, and Teochew clans.
With bottles and its packaging featuring designs the cultures and traditions of the three Malaysian Chinese clans by local creative duo, Loka Made, this addition comes after receiving overwhelmingly positive feedback from the three association federations and the public.
“As we further explore the rich and intriguing cultures, values and traditions of the Malaysian Chinese communities, we continue to see that they are strongly rooted in their beliefs and practices across their festivals, cuisines and mastery of their unique crafts,” said Rajesh Joshi, the Marketing Director of Diageo Malaysia. “We believe that it will inspire the new generations to celebrate their rich heritage and craft for years to come.”
The most noticeable element on the Foochow Pack is the Sibu Foochow Association in Sarawak, which is home to a portrait statue of Huang Nai Shang, a scholar and community leader who brought in the first group of Foochow immigrants to help develop the settlement and build a successful port in Sibu. The bottle also features the Three Heads and Three Knives that represent the Foochow community’s contribution and skill sets used to make a living after settling down in Malaysia.
Other prominent illustrations include the Foochow traditional food – such as red wine noodles, Foochow kompia, and Lo Qu Biang that represent longevity and auspiciousness. Finally, this expression depicts the Aojiu Festival, which represents the worshiping of ancestors through the preparation of Foochow porridge on the 29th day of the first Lunar month.
The Hainan pack features the Hainanese traversing the seas to pan for gold, which is a common phrase known as “Gia Ti Bo Lai Huan”. During their time at sea, the Hainanese worshipped the Goddess Shui Wei for protection, whom they believed travelled across the ocean with them when they immigrated to Southeast Asia. They also paid their respects to the Goddess Thean Hou to bless their livelihoods and keep them safe, which can be seen at the Thean Hou Temple in Kuala Lumpur.
The bottle also features portrayals of food, representing the opening of coffee shops where Western cuisine influences their cooking styles – leading to the creation of dishes such as the Hainanese chicken chop, French toast, Hainanese coffee and bread, as well as the famous Hainanese Chicken Rice which can be found in the streets on Malacca, Penang, and Kuala Lumpur.
The last addition to the expanded XR21 The Legacy Collection illustrates the Teochew people’s belief in Xuan Tian Shang Di (God of the Profound Heavens), as they greatly value their beliefs and uphold a tradition of public service to the community. This can seen through many century-old temples in Malaysia, including the Johor Ancient Temple that was founded by local Teochew people.
This bottle also presents the community’s arts and crafts, such as embroidery which was widespread throughout China in the Qing Dynasty. Prized for its meticulous beauty and three-dimensionality, Chaozhou embroidery is a type of Yue (short for Guangdong) embroidery, which originates from Chaozhou, that can be found as decoration by the Malaysian Teochew during religious activity and festivals. To represent the community’s folk opera, the iron stick puppet is also featured. Finally, staple dishes such as Teochew fish balls and porridge are seen on the pack design.
The John Walker & Sons XR21 The Legacy Collection can be purchased at Johnnie Walker Malaysia’s Bar on Shopee, Stay Thirsty, and Boozeat, as well as leading retail chains such as Village Grocer and Jaya Grocer.
Photos: Diageo Malaysia