Johnnie Walker’s Whisky Temple
Johnnie Walker House, a temple to whisky in Shanghai, tells us much about the new elite in China. An invitation to this exclusive exhibition is proof you’ve made it.
An evocatively-lit ceiling made of whisky tumblers.
If you want to persuade China’s ultra-rich to part with some of their mountains of cash, it’s no longer enough to deliver a “bling” product, or even a brand with great heritage. These days it has to be exclusive, to be out of everyone else’s reach, to be in other words, more than even all that money can buy. What you need, in fact, is knowledge, and an invitation.
Rarity and exclusivity are the key words in satisfying jaded consumers, and what could be more rare and exclusive than your very own bespoke blend of Scotland’s finest whiskies.
The interactive blending room.
At Johnnie Walker House, which opens this month, a Scotsman welcomes you to a leather and wood clad shrine to “uisge beatha”, the Gaelic name for whisky, meaning “water of life”. It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a man in possession of a fortune, must purchase peat-scented water.
The House aims to educate the new elite in whisky connoisseurship, while handily promoting sales of uber-exclusive blend “The Johnnie Walker” at $3000 a bottle. Only a select few will be admitted to the upper floors where they will be taught about whisky making and blending, before being invited to create their own.
A sculpture depicting the art of distillation.
Scotch whisky sales in China have risen nearly 12 fold in the past decade, from 142,000 cases in 2000 to 1.6m in 2009. Johnnie Walker, a Diageo brand, hopes China will be its largest market within five years.
It is proof positive that China is deep in the throws of capitalistic envy, hungrily devouring all things Western. So if you want to know where the new financial frontier is, look no further than China, the money and the whisky don’t lie.