Johnnie Walker: a Grand Voyage from Oblix East
A tour of the world in eight whisky cocktails
Staring out the window of Oblix East, on the 32nd floor of the Shard, is bound to stir up wanderlust. Who could resist the broad railway lines striking out from London Bridge, the Thames winding out towards the old trade routes and, over the docks, planes climbing sharply as they set out from City Airport?
It’s the right setting, then, for the Johnnie Walker Grand Voyage, a collection of cocktails built on far-flung flavours from five continents.
The centrepiece of the experience is an elaborate whisky dispensary consisting of eight casks, each made from wood picked to complement the blend of Johnny Walker it contains. Double-charred chestnut, for example, lends a deep smokiness to the Black Label blend used in the Tiberian Bounty, a sazerac-style cocktail with a Middle Eastern hit of ras el hanout from a rinse of flavoured absinthe.
The range is intended for whisky novices and enthusiasts alike. A more sceptical drinker might start with the Golden Utopia (below), representing Madagascar, in which creamy, coconutty Gold Label whisky is spiced with American oak and sweetened with ginger ale.
More experienced hands will reach for the Kilmarnock, based on Double Black, a smokey, Talisker-rich variant of Black Label, intensified in charred ashwood and mixed with vermouth and bitters.
The drinks are available in a range of packages, from £35 per person for a cocktail and a bar bite each - think deep-fried squid or caramelised pork skewers - to £100 each for four drinks and three plates of food. Each tasting is guided by a senior member of the bar staff, and must be booked at least 24 hours in advance.
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