Not two hours ago, I had the good fortune to meet Tom Jones, the Johnnie Walker Global Brand Ambassador at The Balcony Gastropub in Legaspi Village, Makati, and interview him about Johnnie Walker Red Label. As a scotch drinker, this is the holy grail of interviews, possibly only to be surpassed by interviewing John Walker himself, after raising him from the dead or getting a press pass into heaven).
As a bit of a background, Johnnie Walker Red Label was the original scotch whisky pioneered by the Johnnie Walker family. Originally called ‘Special Old Highland Whisky’ it eventually became known as Johnnie Walker Red Label in 1909. It was originally mixed by Sir Alexander, John Walker’s grandson, who wanted a scotch whisky with a depth of flavor that made itself felt even when mixed with ice, water, or soda. It was designed to be perfect any way one wanted to drink it. The fact that Johnnie Walker Red Label is the world’s No.1 scotch whisky is a testament to that goal, with over 12 million cases sold each year. Johnnie Walker Red accounts for the majority of scotch whisky sold by Johnnie Walker.
The best part? Now in a 750ml bottle, Johnnie Walker Red Label is available in the Philippines for less than 500 pesos!
Interview with Tom Jones, Johnnie Walker Global Brand Ambassador
WIM: Why is the majority of Johnnie Walker sold happen to be Red Label?
TJ: I think it mixes really well. When you look at whisky consumption around the world more people enjoy it with a mixer than neat or on the rocks.
WIM: You obviously can’t go to every country in the world each year, so why has Johnnie Walker selected the Philippines for a visit from the Johnnie Walker Global Brand Ambassador?
TJ: I decided to take an 8 week tour of Asia because Asia is an enormously important market to JW. Last year 42% of our profit came from emerging markets, and next year we expect to see that increase to over 50%
WIM: Is there really a right way to drink scotch? I’ve heard purists say “neat with 6 drops of icewater,” and others say “one large ice cube,” but I want to hear it from the Johnnie Walker Global Brand Ambassador.
TJ: The best way to drink scotch is with friends. After that its how you like it. People are going to have their own opinions about water and ice, but that’s exactly it: they are just opinions. You should drink it the way you like it best. I personally like it on the rocks.
WIM: What makes different Johnnie Walker brands different prices? Red, black, gold, platinum, blue. Its obviously the economic and opportunity investment you make in each, but is it the aging? Ingredients? Something else?
TJ: Fundamentally it’s the whiskys that go into each and the storage time, but in reality, its not so much the cost of warehousing, but more about supply and demand. Because Johnnie Walker Red Label is our best selling brand, we want to keep it affordable.
At the event, Tom had me try Red Label with two shots of ginger ale, as well as with two shots of Coca Cola. “Mixing it with ginger ale highlights the spices, and mixing it with Coke highlights the sweetness,” he advised. Of the two I preferred the ginger ale, but my favorite is still on the rocks.
The Ambassador Speaks about Johnnie Walker Red Label