The media was on Saturday evening hosted to an evening with Johnnie Walker where they attended a whisky mentorship session at Panamera Bar.
The event, which was organised by Uganda Breweries Ltd and Johnnie Walker, was held to help the media understand more about Scotch whisky and the difference between a blend and a single malt.
At the event, participants were treated to the full story on Johnnie Walker’s origin and tastings of Johnnie Walker Red Label, Black Label, Double Black and Gold Reserve. Participants were also given advice on responsible serving and cocktail suggestions.
“Holding this mentorship session is a great opportunity for Uganda Breweries and Johnnie Walker to tell our story and to get more people enlightened so that they can interact with our brand. It was important that we have this session with you, the media, because you are our ambassadors,” said Lois Aber, UBL’s Brand Manager for Premium Spirits.
Lois Aber also noted that “the mentoring sessions are a whole new approach to consumer education. We see the importance of engaging with our consumers directly to show our craft.”
The story of Johnnie Walker started way back in 1827 with a 14 year old boy who was orphaned at that tender age. Having grown up on a farm, his experience grew from serving different mixes of tea to loyal customers to experimenting with scotch. Two years later, Old Highlands Scotch Whisky, which we all know today as Black Label was formed. It was also the first whisky in the Johnnie Walker family. It did so well in Scotland that he decided to take it to the rest of the world. Owing to the fact that different people from different parts of the world have different colors and tastes, Johnnie Walker created other whiskies and came up with Red Label, Blue Label, Double Black, Platinum and Gold Reserve. To date, Red Label is the favorite and fastest blended scotch whisky in the world with an average of 7 bottles being consumed per minute.
During his teaching session, Marcus Kwikiriza, one of Johnnie Walker’s ambassadors in Uganda ensured his audience appreciated Johnnie Walker whiskies saying, “One of the worldwide problems we have is that people do not appreciate what they drink as much as what they eat. We put a lot of pressure to ensure we are eating right, but when it comes to drinking, nobody pays as much attention.” Marcus urged the participants to appreciate Johnnie Walker blends before every sip. “For every sip, you taste different flavours,” he added.
Marcus also noted that the mentorship would help to dispel misunderstandings about single malts, blended whisky and the perceived differences between the two. “There’s a desire for people to learn more. But everyone should know that there is no such thing as the right way to drink a Johnnie Walker blend. Whatever your palate dictates is what will work for you.”
One of the Johnnie Walker serves that worked wonders at the mentorship session as it has worldwide was ‘Johnnie Ginger.’ Johnnie Ginger is a magical mix of Red Label and fresh ginger, which can also be substituted using Stoney, “an advantage Ugandans have over the rest of the world”, noted Marcus. This serve excited the participants and left most of them vowing not to go back to their staple drinks.
Some of the responsible drinking tips that were given at the mentorship were to space or dilute scotch with water and to eat spicy snacks during drinking sessions.
Social media didn’t miss out on the hype of the evening. The highlight of the event was the competition for one litre of Black Label, which was eventually won by Phyllis Wanjiru. Phyllis emerged winner with a combination of over 393 likes, shares and comments on one of her Facebook Posts that carried the evening’s hashtag #JohnnieGinger.
“We are very excited to say that the whisky mentorship sessions like the one we had today will be held weekly for the rest of the Financial Year 2016/17,” said Lois Aber.