The whisky house blends a culinary experience inspired by the coasts of Japan and the Scottish highlands for the debut of the Elusive Umami
The act of eating and drinking is a basic instinct, and is the foundation for our survival. Since then, it has evolved into a social experience and has further cemented itself as its own artform. Different blenders and chefs from all over the world have continuously tried to paint pictures and display vivid images through the palate.
To capture these visceral emotions, the Scotch Whisky producer Johnnie Walker sought the help of master blender Dr. Emma Walker and chef Kei Kobayashi, founder of “Kei”, a restaurant based in Paris. In their discussions the two culinary experts hoped to formulate a flavor that would ignite all five senses. The Johnnie Walker Blue Label “Elusive Umami” was a byproduct of this partnership, being a marriage between two distinct masteries.
“We started from two very different realms of expertise, but realized we still shared the same world,” says Walker. Throughout their journey, the pair wanted a mutualistic relationship between food and the Elusive Umami. “The whisky should bring out elements of the food and the food should unravel new things about the whisky,” she adds.
In commemoration for the launch of the Elusive Umami, Johnnie Walker hosted an event for its debut in the Philippines. Held at Shangri-La Makati, guests were treated to various cocktails infused with their latest concoction. Dr. Emma Walker gave a brief overview of the flavor, discussing her experiences behind its conception. Walker also invited guests to take a sip of the Elusive Umami, asking them to describe the notes and sensations evoked by the whisky brand’s newest addition.
The experience included a six course meal, provided by local chefs Edwin Loh, Nicco Santos, Don Baldosano, and Quenee Vilar. The dining area was accompanied by the sounds of the Manila Philharmonic orchestra, with music highlighting each course. Every meal is meant to symbolize a return to the elements, with each course being fashioned in the themes of wind, earth, and water respectively. Visuals on the walls of the dining experience changed with each theme, transitioning from the fall of autumn leaves, to lush forests, and the depths of the ocean. The whisky was paired with each course, made to bring out the flavors of each ingredient of the Japanese cuisine.
Nico Bolzico, Dr. Emma Walker, and Angelo Comsti
Lights and projections displaying scenes throughout the dinner
The Manila Philharmonic Orchestra
Mint Ocean Kohakutou with a Chocolate Sphere and Buko Foam
Edwin Loh, Don Baldosano, Nicco Santos, Quenee Vilar, and Dr. Emma Walker
JW Blue Label Elusive Umami is available only in limited quantities here in the Philippines. Available now at Single Malt website.