Johnnie Walker House
Johnnie Walker began its ascent up the international liquor ladder in 1820, when its namesake founder began selling his Scottish blend in the local Kilmarnock grocers. Almost a century later, it was named an official supplier to the Queen in 1934, and needless to say the brand’s popularity continued to spread globally. A further 77 years on, and China’s love-affair with the amber nectar saw the 2011 opening of the first Johnnie Walker House in Shanghai (described as a temple to whiskey and wealth), followed by a second palatial House in Beijing last December.
Spanning 1500 sq ft, the Beijing locale is cloaked in leather and dark wood with a low-lit ambience as rich as the blends themselves. Spread over four floors, it houses a JW museum (including reconstructions of the original grocers and wall constellations depicting the brand’s history), and the Distillery Bar fitted with 10,000 copper pipes designed to simulate a working distillery. Open to the public, they serve all malts from the smoky Red Label to smooth-honeyed Gold Reserve, while aficionados might opt for the 30-year-old Master Series. For 200 exclusive members, there’s even whisky-inspired dining, bespoke blends crafted by the aptly-named master blender Jim Beveridge to be stored in private whiskey vaults, and concierge-arranged VIP trips to their Scottish distilleries and golf courses. ‘Keep Walking’, indeed!