[EXCLUSIVE] Interview with Simtholile Mnisi.
Johnnie Walker recently relaunched the Single Malt Green Label Whisky back into the local (and international) market. This to me is great news! 🙂
I had the opportunity to interview Simtholile Mnisi, Reserve Portfolio Brand Ambassador at Diageo South Africa. Part of Sim’s portfolio includes the exceptional Scotchish whiskies of Johnnie Walker. This was the perfect opportunity to ask him more about himself and the return of the glorious Green Label.
K: Simtholie, what is your first memory of drinking whisky?
Sim: I studied Hospitality management in Varsity from 2010 – 2012 and we had a whisky tasting session. It was my first time having a sip of the great liquid. They walked us through the tasting and when the tasting finally came, I saw a lot of, what I call Tequila Faces, and heard a lot of moaning from the rest of the class. Clearly no one enjoyed their first sip of whisky neat except me and one other young gent. That could either have meant two things, I really had love and passion for fine spirit or I was a liker of things, but I definitely think it was love at first sip.
K: How did you become a brand ambassador for Johnnie Walker?
Sim: I studied hospitality management with hopes of becoming a Chef but unfortunately I discovered that I will only be cooking 10% of the time but instead I would be doing 7 other Modules. Out of those 7 modules Beverage studies was one of them and on our first lecture we did a whisky making course. That’s where my love began. I didn’t know how I was going to get into the industry so the closest thing was to work in a hotel as a Food and Beverage Manager. I worked pretty closely with Diageo and other suppliers. This is where I was spotted and got offered the great opportunity to represent the best brands in the world.
K: What about the JWGL makes it different from any other Single Malt on the market?
Sim: JWGL is not a single Malt, however is a blend of just Single Malts. This beautiful blend was made to highlight all the corners of Scotland and bring them into one bottle. When drinking JWGL you get to experience a vast flavour profile from the great malts that were used to create this blend.
K: What is the key signature styles that one can pick up in the JWGL?
Sim: The individual malt characteristics of the mature malt whiskies in Johnnie Walker Green Label are perfectly balanced, bringing intense aromas of crisp cut grass and fresh fruit with wood smoke, pepper, deep vanilla and sandalwood and a depth of character that just isn’t possible from one malt whisky alone.
The unique flavour profile is a result of the careful balancing of four key signature styles, represented by Talisker™, Linkwood™, Cragganmore™ and Caol Ila™. Talisker from the Isle of Skye, with its wood smoke, pepper, oak and rich fruits, gives the blend power and depth of character. Linkwood, a distinctive Speyside malt, adds the finesse with its light garden fruits and flowers and cedar wood notes. Cragganmore, a sweet and fragrant Speyside malt, gives the blend an exceptional malty heart and hints of sweet wood smoke and sandalwood.
Finally, Caol Ila – the Isle of Islay’s best kept secret – is a very special malt which brings an element of maritime mystery through its notes of rich fruit, drying sea salt and peat smoke, each adding to the natural intensity of Johnnie Walker Green Label.
K: If I am having a sophisticated dinner with friends, what would you recommend pairing with JWGL?
Sim: A very nice Springbok Carpaccio as a starter. Main – Smoked Salmon which will be complimented by the peat of the whisky with some fresh asparagus to go with the freshly cut grass notes. You can end it off with an orange and almond infused dark chocolate Rocher (Deconstructed Ferrero Rocher, I use to be a chef so I love experimenting with both my drinks and food)
K: That smoked Salmon & fresh asparagus paired with a tot of Green Label on ice, sounds perfect!
K: What’s your preferred choice? Neat, on the rocks or with some water?
Sim: I ALWAYS take my whisky neat. If you find the whisky a little too harsh, that would be because of the high alcohol content so you can add just a touch of still water.
K: JWGL is a mixed blend of single malts, is there a standard mixture or do the blends vary per batch?
Sim: Our Master Blender, Jim Beveridge prides himself in creating consistency in every single batch. All the batches come out exactly the same, blended to pure perfection.