Aesthetes, rejoice! Johnnie Walker Blue Label has brought forth a new limited edition blended whiskey: Elusive Umami. The luxury beverage encapsulates the enigmatic taste of umami and was crafted by Master Blender Dr. Emma Walker in collaboration with three Michelin starred Chef Kei Kobayashi.
Inspired by the mysterious taste profile umami – an earthy, savoury flavour present in mushrooms, cured meats, green tea and fermented products – the whiskey’s release has been celebrated with a new track, ‘Earthly Delights’, crafted by legendary DJ and former GAY TIMES cover star Honey Dijon.
Using PlantWave™ technology to create the track, Dijon took inspiration from the Johnnie Walker Blue Label production process, where only 1 in 25,000 selected oak casks is used to mature the liquid and add a sweet wood spice flavour. Using technology that extracted vibrational waves from oak, transforming the tree’s biorhythms into sound. These sounds were then converted by Dijon into the melody of the euphoric track to be played whilst savouring the liquid in a true feast for the senses at golden hour.
The track is available on Youtube @Johnniewalkerwhisky and can be listened to with a visualiser created by the creative collective SHOWstudio. To celebrate its launch earlier this autumn, the musician caught up with GAY TIMES to discuss the collab and taking inspiration from nature.
Hey Honey, great to chat to you! As a first question, how do you approach story-telling in your work?
It really just depends upon the narrative and the culture of the project I’m working on. I have so many different expressions musically that there’s no formula. I always approach projects with all that I’ve experienced in my life and a lot of those things touch on joy and love and overcoming obstacles and celebration.
What was your creative process for crafting Earthly Delights?
The whole idea of the project was that it was all based on things that are organic. It was about taking the frequencies of nature and thinking about how that would sound musically. It was really an interesting way to approach creating music, because a lot of where I come from is very organic and very authentic. I always talk about vibration and about the universe, or how we’re all connected through dance. I thought it was really great to work on the distillation process from nature, and we created the soundtrack from the frequencies and vibrations of how actual nature talks to each other. It was a really great project to work on.
How did you work with Johnnie Walker’s master blender Emma Walker?
When working with Emma Walker, she basically gave me her approach to creating this blend, and how Johnnie Walker blends different whiskies together. We had a conversation about her creative process and it was just the merging of two different worlds. It was really exciting to hear how she approached the creation of Elusive Umami. It was earthy, it was organic. Umami touches upon all the senses, which is very similar to music, so it was a really great marriage.
With this project, you unite the worlds of sound and taste – more generally, what would you say is the connection between these two senses?
I don’t believe in borders. Taste, style, touch, steel, smell, emotion – it’s all connected to me in the creative process. I don’t really think there is a difference. We’re all here to have this incredible experience and we’ve been given these senses. People always ask what is the point of life and life is the point, to have all these different experiences and taste, smell, experience joy and dance. It’s all part of the human experience and they all add to the richness of life and creativity. Taste and sound are very similar to me: they’re all experiential things and are part of the creative process. We always think that creation is this sort of grand thing but with every decision that you make, you’re creating a life experience. I’m really a proponent of joy and a proponent of bringing more beauty into the world.
It’s been great chatting with you – what can we expect from you next?
I’m working on my next album, I’m designing my next collection for Honey Fucking Dijon. I am getting ready to do a US tour called Transmutation where I do a tour of North America. Lots of incredible projects are coming up and that’s before the end of 2023.