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It’s the harmonious depiction of cultural art and whisky-making that brings a rare side of Malaysia to life in the Johnnie Walker Blue Label Limited Edition Penang design.
In the past few years, Johnnie Walker has often looked to Penang for inspiration. Once in 2017 for a bottle design in collaboration with artist Ernest Zacharevic, whose famed murals colour the streets of the island, and again in 2018, through a masterful pairing dinner with the John Walker & Sons XR21.
Now, its fascination with the Pearl of the Orient is displayed once more with the new Johnnie Walker Blue Label Limited Edition Penang bottle and pack illustrations, designed in collaboration with London-based illustrator Shan Jiang.
Unveiled earlier this month at the city’s Majestic Theatre, the limited-edition pack pays homage to the rare character of the state by highlighting its deeply rooted Chinese cultural influences interwoven with its historic UNESCO World Heritage sites.
Appearing across three flanks of the iconic square bottle is the cultural Dragon Dance, recognised as an emblem of Penang thanks to the Chingay Parade that takes place in the state every year. Meanwhile, the majestic Kek Lok Si temple, the largest Buddhist temple in Malaysia and one of Penang’s most popular architectural sites, adorns another facet of the bottle. Striking red lanterns symbolising happiness and good fortune (often dotting the city streets during Chinese New Year) also nod to cultural symbolisms of the local Chinese community.
These key elements come together in a seamless design that artistically reflects the rolling waves of flavours that are synonymous with the Johnnie Walker Blue Label. Just as the Dragon Dance symbolises strength and elegance, so does this whisky embody a balance of rich flavours – including hints of sherry, dried fruit, nuts, dark chocolate and honey – with a smooth, elegant finish that lingers delicately on the palate.
And just as it took time and skill to build the many decorative features of the 7-storey Kek Lok Si, so does it take Master Blender Jim Beveridge and his team of 12 expert whisky masters immense effort to develop every small batch of the Johnnie Walker Blue Label. To paint a picture, only one in 10,000 casks of perfectly aged rare whiskies maturing in Johnnie Walker’s reserves has the quality, character and flavour to make it into this blend.
It’s this harmonious depiction of cultural art and whisky-making that brings a rare side of Malaysia to life in the Johnnie Walker Blue Label Limited Edition Penang design, making it a collector’s gem to share with those who keep walking by your side.
Only 3,600 bottles are available at participating outlets at AEON, Jaya Grocer and through staythirsty.com.my.