House of Walker
When you’re Johnnie Walker, one of the oldest, most well established whiskies in the world, staying fresh in a rapidly changing world of distilled spirits and marketing your product to the next generation of loyal consumers isn’t always easy – especially to hipsters with their hands clasped firmly around cans of PBR.
Still, with its well-earned reputation for creating fine spirits (and deservedly so) Johnnie Walker is a favorite amongst whiskey drinkers today, and has been since the 1800’s. Now Johnnie Walker has taken its name and reputation on the road with a unique branding campaign called “House Of Walker.” This particular Saturday’s HOW event took place at a beautiful South Beach South Beach residence called The Temple House.
The event was gratis, so we Wanderlushes made our way down to South Beach and pulled up to the front of the Temple House where a valet (sporting all black and a heavy Russian/Eastern European accent) gave us directions where to park (strange, but doesn’t valet involve someone parking your car for you?). After a few turns down some side streets we finally found the parking lot, dropped the car off with the next “valet” (who proceeded to drive the car two spaces back) and made our way back the three blocks to the event with trepidation.
Black Label Wild Scot Cocktail
Upon entering we were greeted by several young women who gave us wristbands and four “tickets for each of the whiskies we would be sampling during the night. We were then seated in a small room and told we would be watching a brief introduction video featuring actor Robert Carlyle (“Johnnie Walker: The Man Who Walked Around The World) focusing on the history of Johnnie Walker. After the video, we were ushered into a small room with about eight bar-height tables containing two small glasses of Johnnie Walker whiskey, ice and water. The host for the evening, Stephen Wilson, Johnnie Walker Ambassador, entered the room and spoke briefly about Johnnie Walker the whiskey brand, how and where it’s made – but most importantly, tasting and appreciating this famous whiskey.
Black Label Tasting
When the tasting was over we were led into a large concrete-floored room with a high ceiling and a loft area on the far end. It was here where we redeemed our tickets for various samples of Johnnie Walker whiskey (Red Label, Black Label and the top-shelf $200 a bottle Blue Label). All were delicious and went down smooth. As for the venue, Temple House (www.thetemplehouse.com) was perfect for this type of event. The residence is chic, tastefully designed and offered more than an ample amount of room for the 75 or so attendees who were there this particular Saturday. There were bottles of Johnnie Walker signature whiskies on display, including a bottle dating from 1808 that was for sale at the budget-friendly price of $30,000. And yes, that price is in dollars, not pesos, in terms of whiskey currency. Ouch.
The event ran until around 11 p.m. The event staff wasn’t shy about letting everyone know it was time to drink up and get out. They weren’t out and out rude about it, but this clearly was a case of being told in no uncertain terms, “You don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here.” All in all, we Wanderlushes enjoyed the “House Of Walker” experience. I personally am not a huge whiskey drinker, but I do appreciate Johnnie Walker more after learning its history and sampling some of its amazing offerings.