Johnnie Walker debuts 2 new high-end blends

Johnnie Walker may be the world's top seller of blended whiskies, but the company isn't resting on its laurels.

The Scottish distiller, best known for its Red Label and Black Label versions, has unveiled a pair of pricier blends -- Gold Label Reserve and Platinum Label.

The target market is affluent Scotch drinkers, many of whom are single-malt purists who like such brands as Lagavulin and Talisker, which Johnnie Walker also makes. Market research says that consumer group has steadily been growing by about 5% per year.

Gold Label Reserve will be priced at $78.95 a bottle, Platinum Label at $119.95.

Ewan Gunn, Diageo's global Scotch whisky ambassador for Diageo which owns Johnnie Walker, "To make a good single malt, you make one good product, you distill it, you mature it, you bottle it and your job is done.

"When you're making a good blended Scotch whisky, you have to do that 30, 40, 50 times with entirely different whiskies. Then you have to bring them together in perfect harmony and only then is your job done. So for me, it's a testament to true skill to be able to make a really good blended Scotch whisky."

The Gold Label Reserve blend is highlighted by the inclusion of malt whisky from the casks of the Clynelish Distillery, which traces its roots to 1819. Platinum Label contains single malt and grain whiskies from all parts of Scotland for a blend matured for at least 18 years.

The new expressions replace the Green Label and Gold Label 18.

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