On Wednesday I was invited to experience the Johnnie Walker Whisky Profiler first hand. I have been to a number of whisky tasting and, to be honest, was expecting more of the same. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy the tastings and will never pass up the chance to partake in quality whisky if I can help it, but I was expecting to be part of the usual presentation to a room full of press, full of tasting notes and words like "undertones". I was wrong.
First I was pleased to be greeted by the familiar face of Bernard Gutman. At least I knew the presentation would be entertaining as well as informative. But aside from him and a few agency representatives, I was the only one there. It turned out this was a one-on-one, and I was led into a room with a curious large leather-bound box.
The lid was opened to reveal a selection of various tastes and aromas. I was required to select my favourite two of each and place them in special slots. I then had to put on a set of headphones to choose my preferred drinking occasion, each represented by a different musical beat, and press a button that would reveal the Johnnie Walker expression best suited to my taste profile.
The cynic in me wanted to write off the process as gimmicky, but I must confess I found it most engaging, and importantly, accurate! The machine decided that Johnnie Black is best suited to my palate, and while I enjoy all the variants, it is my favourite. So kudos to the team for developing a fun and interactive way of getting people to consider the delicate nuances in different whiskies.
As Brandon Weaver, the Johnnie Walker Brand Manager explains, "We understand that every offering from the House of Walker is as distinct as the people who drink it. From the spicy tingle of Red Label to the sweet and honeyed tones of Gold Label Reserve, each one is unique. With this in mind we set about creating Meet your Match to help whisky enthusiasts discover their taste profile and identify their perfect match."
To this end they enrolled the expertise of SA's Top Chef of 2013, David Higgs, to deconstructed the big bold flavours of Johnnie Walker using molecular gastronomy, and create the whisky profiler. There is also a clever online version on The King of Flavour website (www.meetyourmatchsa.co.za) that uses visual stimuli and sound to identify the users preferred mood, aroma and serving to ultimately reveal a personalised Johnnie Walker flavour match.
There is an added incentive to go online and try out the profiler: Once users have identified their match, they will receive a special offer voucher on their next purchase of Johnnie Walker and a chance to win tickets to the exclusive King Of Flavour Experience for themselves and three friends.
"This is a unique opportunity for guests to discover their Johnnie Walker match by tasting flavours without knowing what they are," says Higgs. "That way we get an honest opinion of their likes and dislikes in a fun and accurate way which allows us to identify as close to a perfect match as possible."
Before this profiler was unleashed on the public, they decided to trial it on four celebrity guinea pigs, namely Bob Skistad, DJ Fresh, Jeanie D and Mokena Makeka. See how that went down in the below video.
Article by Grant McDonald