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Diageo brings back Johnnie Walker Green Label to drive Scotch growth

Published:  02 March, 2016

Diageo Reserve Brands is to re-introduce its Johnnie Walker Green Label blended malt to the core Johnnie Walker range worldwide.

The blend is designed to offer the character and depth of a single malt but with a wider flavour profile.

It is created using malts from the Talisker distillery on the Isle of Ske, Linkwood and Cragganmore on Speyside, and the Isle of Islay's Caol Ila.

All the whiskies used in the Green Label blend have matured in oak casks for at least 15 years.

Jim Beveridge, master blender at Johnnie Walker, said: "The challenge of Johnnie Walker Green Label is to have a wide flavour spectrum from malts matured for 15 years in American and European oak, ensuring that those flavours really complement each other and work in harmony to create a blend of great complexity which, at its heart, is true to the Johnnie Walker style of big and bold flavours with a signature smokiness.

"Crafting this blend is all about making the aromas more pronounced and vibrant, allowing us to shape a blend that has the depth of character which just isn't possible from one malt whisky alone."

Nick Temperley, head of Diageo Reserve GB, said: "Johnnie Walker Green Label is an exceptional Scotch and a reflection of the craftsmanship, skill and care that goes into producing the world's favourite whisky. We're delighted to be able to re-introduce Green Label to our core UK range."

Diageo chief executive Ivan Menezes described the group's Reserve Brands porfolio as "a jewel" within the business at a rare investors conference last November.

"It used to be less than 5% of our business. It's 13% to 14% now, growing fastest, highest margin," he said.

Within Reserve Brands, Menezes identified Scotch as central to Diageo's growth.

"A lot of this is Scotch," Menezes said. "We're doing some amazing stuff now, selling really rare malts. We've got customers paying millions of dollars right now, right? And we're just early in that game."

Scotch is Diageo's largest and most profitable category, he revealed.

The group sells over 33 million cases of Scotch which generates around £2.5 billion of net sales. That is equivalent to about a third of Diageo's profit.

Johnnie Walker Green Label is available from specialist retailers, including Master of Malt and Royal Mile Whisky, with an rrp of £40.39 for 70cl.