Dreaming Of: Johnnie Walker House in Beijing

Johnnie Walker Distillery Bar in Beijing

Johnnie Walker Distillery Bar in Beijing

Years ago, when Mama Jolie died, I promised myself that I would start traveling to destinations unknown: exploring the world beyond my repetitive circuit of LA-New York-Paris-London.

My 30s have been big steps in that direction. This year saw first-time visits to New Zealand, South Africa, Austria and St. Martin (plus repeat jaunts to old favorites Montreal, New York and, yes, London.) But the year is coming to a close, I’m doing my annual “taking stock,” and it’s time to start dreaming of 2013.

Where should we go?!

Johnnie Walker House in Beijing: VIP locker

Johnnie Walker House in Beijing: VIP locker

My “must-visit” life list is getting shorter and shorter, but Southeast Asia remains at the apex. Shanghai, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Chiang Mai, Kuala Lumpur–there are so many faraway places I’d like to experience in person. A good place to start? How about Beijing, at the brand new, four floor, 1,500 square foot Johnnie Walker House?

It’s been less than a year since I discovered whiskey, and my interest has gone from passing fancy to passionate love affair. My browser is littered with whiskey blogs (For Peat’s Sake is a favorite), and I have a page of “Whiskey” notes in my iPhone, ready to be consulted when I’m out at a bar with a wide selection. My preferred whiskeys are actually whiskys–that is to say single-malt scotches–but I love bourbons and ryes and blendeds, too.

Johnnie Walker Green Label scotch

Johnnie Walker Green Label scotch: sadly discontinued!

The Johnnie Walker House in Beijing is a just-opened VIP whiskey temple, piggybacking off the success of last year’s Johnnie Walker House in Shanghai, featuring members-only vaults, private tastings and a working distillery. Sadly, Johnnie Walker Green, my favorite blended scotch (unlike other Johnnie Walker blendeds, it’s made exclusively from malts, rather than a mix of malts and grains) is being discontinued. Bottles are still available but they’re no longer being produced, so when you see one, snap it up.

Johnnie Walker House in Shanghai

Johnnie Walker House in Shanghai - yes, please

2013, I can’t wait to see what kind of adventures you have in store! Hopefully at least one of them will be whiskey-soaked in a foreign land.

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