Supersonic Johnnie Walker Blue Label
A special day, heralding a special whisky
This was going to be a red-letter day. Rocked up at Heathrow airport looking pretty dapper, as I was going to hobnob with the celebs. Ticket in hand (they used to have paper tickets in those days) it had a fancy pouch emblazoned Concorde... destination JFK. Check in had pile carpet and flowers that would put most florists to shame. Clearly another world!
It’s really quite a small aircraft. One narrow aisle with not a lot of headroom and my seat was a window seat right at the back... what did you really expect?
As I was getting into the seat, I noticed that the carpet in the isle was ridged and innocently asked about it. Cabin crew explained it covered over the expansion joint. I didn’t know who was kidding who here, until the carpet was pulled back to reveal a small gap just visible which ran across the floor. “This will close up when we go supersonic” I was assured.
Any other surprises? “Well we don’t have any flaps, like all other aircraft, as they would get torn off with the speed. That’s why we land like a swooping eagle with the famous droop nose as the whole of the wing is being used as a giant flap.”
Into the blue sky, getting ready for a dram
Settle down, sit back, and enjoy the experience.
“Good morning Ladies and Gentlemen, our flight time to New York this morning will be 2 hours and 59 minutes” a very crisp announcement, with an accent that could cut glass.
Concorde turned into the wind at Heathrow and wound up its mighty Olympus engines to a shattering roar and leapt down the runway like a greyhound. Some sixty seconds later the steep climb became a gentle ascending curve as the nose was lifted into flight mode and the English countryside disappeared below.
After crossing the Cornish coast, the mighty engines reheat was on again and it was like a second take off but at 20,000 feet. The Mach meter on the bulkhead slid quickly 0.6… 0.8 and finally 1.0 and on… no sound, and virtually no movement, yet we were through the sound barrier.
Up and away as the earth's curvature slowly became evident as the cruising ceiling of 60,000 feet was attained and the machmeter registered 2.2 - over twice the speed of sound!
What a way to travel. Now what would put the icing on the cake?
Johnnie Walker Blue Label
Johnnie Walker Blue Label was naturally the whisky of choice and the only dram available on this amazing aircraft. Sipping Blue Label while staring out at the jet black ink of space and the curve of the earth below, which was an azure blue as befits the blue of the whisky label, was very special.
This is part of the legend of Blue label and how it became the World’s premier luxury whisky. What an experience… what a whisky!
These monthly blogs reflect some of the bonhomie & inspired moments I have enjoyed over the years in various countries and continents with some very talented and amusing folk. Individually the blogs are, hopefully, humorous and entertaining. Together, they represent my personal journey that led to Firkin Whiskies. And, if you found this story interesting, you may also enjoy my story about making Johnnie Walker Green Label here.
Written by Mike Collings, Founder, Firkin Whisky Company.