Anyone who read my last post understands how I feel about the Fourth of July. The holiday is an emotional time for me, but this year was extremely nerve-racking, due to my blog. There are parties to attend, almost daily, and the amount of drinking that occurs is completely unnecessary. Why do we do it? I couldn’t tell you.
July 4th, 2011 was extra stressful for the simple fact that I didn’t have anything prepared for Tuesday. I do have ‘My Conversation with God,’ but I don’t want to post that entry until later on in the week. (The conversation is completely hypothetical and is what I think would happen if, upon my death, I discover that there is a “god.”) Left with little time to write, due to all the cookouts, I was scared that I wouldn’t be able to add a new post for Tuesday.
I wasn’t inspired to discuss any subject in particular, so I sat in my room and waited for a story to come to me. Thankfully, my procrastination paid off.
Johnnie Walker has been the exclusive drink of…Me (I refuse to speak in the third person), up until last summer. I no longer have the same dedication to the “World’s best tasting whiskey.” In recent months, my drink of choice has been Ciroc. I especially enjoy the Red Berry. When it comes to drinking, I prefer to fill up a glass and sip slowly, gentlemanly if you will. This is the reason why Johnnie Walker was so perfect…I like the taste. (In no way do I want anyone to think that I no longer drink Johnnie Walker. I still love being a Striding Man!) My problem with Johnnie Walker can be summed up in one word — CONSISTENCY.
Here are the events that led to me breaking the vow of exclusivity that I swore to Johnnie Walker:
Sometime in 2005 – I was introduced to Johnnie Walker by “Zep.” (We drank the Red Label, which I preferred over Hennessey)
Three weeks later – We decided to try the, more expensive and longer aged, Black Label. (There was no going back. It was as if the gods of intoxication had specially concocted the drink for us.)
A few weeks elapse – We tried the Green Label. Are you F-ing kidding me. Why isn’t this the only alcoholic beverage that existed in the world. Green Label is so smooth. I honestly believe that if a bottle of Green Label is personified and chooses to become a pimp, he would shut down the game; his bottom bitch would have a bottom bitch.
Two more weeks – We bought the Gold Label. Not what we expected. Back to the Green.
WHERE THE PROBLEM STARTED!!!
We began to buy the Green Label exclusively, but noticed the inconsistency from bottle to bottle. This was a completely new experience for us; nothing like this ever happened with the Black Label. What do we do? We only had two options, we could either buy a Green Label and risk getting Black Label quality, or we could just buy the Black Label and get our money’s worth – no point in spending the extra money on a bottle of Green Label we decided.
Decision was made. Green Label would only be for special occasions. (We knew the risks involved!)
Everything went swimmingly UNTIL…one random weekend in September 2009. That Friday was the day that will forever be remembered as the “Green-Red.” The night started innocently. We purchased a bottle of Green Label and poured it into glasses, as was customary.
Zep took the first sip. “What the FUCK!” He yelled. “This taste like a Red.” He continued.
“Yeah right?” I challenged. I picked up my glass and took a sip. “No fucking way!” I blurted out. “This shit has to be expired, let’s take it back.”
We tried another sip each — SAME RESULT.
The unimaginable happened, after realizing that we couldn’t return the bottle, we added coke to the Green Label. (When it comes to Johnnie Walker. It is imperative that you never mix it with anything – unless you’re drinking the Red Label.) We stopped drinking the Green and called for someone to bring over a bottle of Black. That was the last time we bought a bottle of Green Label.
I never felt so helpless in my life. How could we make the situation right? A few months went by and I discussed the incident with Emanuel, who suggested that I write a letter to the company.
Here is the actual letter that I mailed:
December 9, 2008
Johnnie Walker Consumer Relations
903 West 143rd Street
Plainfield, IL 60544
I am writing as a loyal customer.
Recently, after a long absence from drinking Green Label, and after semi-enjoying a bottle of Blue Label in August, my cousin Joe and I decided to go ahead and purchase a bottle of Green Label. It was probably the worst bottle we have ever had. It really was Red Label quality. We were certain someone at the factory made a labeling error. After half a glass, we put the bottle away and called for a friend, who was on his way over, to bring a bottle of Black Label. The rest of the green label, which was determined un-drinkable, was used in glasses mixed with coke. Using a bottle of Green Label to be mixed, is something we thought we’d never do. We don’t even allow people to mix the Black Label. Even using ice is frowned upon. We only share our drinks with people who appreciate the quality. We honestly almost returned the bottle to the liquor store, but realized they could not help us.
My friends and I began drinking Hennessey, Grey Goose and cranberry, and the occasional E&J or Courvoisier. Towards the end of 2005, Joe brought over a bottle of Johnnie Walker Red Label. He said it was a better alternative to Hennessey. We all agreed that the taste was better and there was no hangover, because we drank it straight. For three consecutive weeks, we continued to drink only Red Label. The more we drank it, the more we enjoyed Johnnie Walker. We all had stories of trying Hennessey at different events and we just didn’t enjoy the taste, and could never drink it without taking shots. Joe then told us that he tried the black label, which was a little more expensive, but worth the cost. The taste was a remarkably upgrade from the Red Label. Upon trying the Black Label, we were sold and from that day forth we haven’t looked back. Since then, we’ve purchased the Green Label, Gold Label, and Blue Label. We really look forward to drinking the King George V bottle on the next special occasion, hopefully this New Years.
This letter is the only way we could attempt to rectify the situation by reaching out to anyone who would be able to understand our frustration. We are looking for some kind of guidance as to how we can be able to determine the quality of a bottle, prior to purchasing one. Maybe there is some secret we don’t know about. We just feel like it’s unfair to spend the extra money for a Green Label, and not get the extra quality that we seek. It’s not a big deal when the Green Label is just not as good as we expect, but it should never taste like a Red Label. People at bars often tell us that Jack Daniels is more consistent, but we enjoy Johnnie Walker and are reluctant to change. When we get a great batch, we are completely satisfied but we just don’t like paying for something that we are not getting. With the holidays coming, green and blue label season, we would love to keep walking; we just want to enjoy every stride.
Actual response from the company:
January 27, 2009
Dear Mr. Peter Teixeira,
Thank you for taking the time to contact Johnnie Walker. Your feedback is important to us.
In regards to your communication, please note that we do recommend attending a Johnnie Walker Journey event. You can now be informed on upcoming events in your area by visiting and signing up at http://www.johnniewalker.com.
We value loyal consumers such as yourself and we appreciate your enthusiasm. Therefore, we have sent you a complimentary Johnnie Walker tray set. Please allow 10 business days for delivery. If there is anything else we could help you with now or in the future, please do not hesitate to contact us at 1-877-272-4009 seven days a week 8.30AM to 11.00PM CST and mention your case number: ###### (You didn’t think I would actually give out the case number did you?)
Once again, thank you for contacting Johnnie Walker.
Johnnie Walker Consumer Representative
Keep Walking at www.johnniewalker.com please drink responsibly
I actually received the tray set. I am thankful that the company took the time to respond, but I feel as if the letter was generic. There was nothing in there about the inconsistency, which is why I wrote the letter in the first place.
I still can’t bring myself to buy a bottle of Green. Neither can Zep.
I must say that on July 3rd, 2011, I attended a cookout and enjoyed a bottle of Green Label which was up to standards.
Who knows? I may actually call the number and follow up!