Friday, December 02, 2016

The Mystery Unravels Through A Journey Through Penang, THE JOHNNIE WALKER BLUE LABEL CHINESE NEW YEAR EDITION 2016, Starring Ernest Zacharevic

On the 8th of November, a few lucky members of the media and blogging community were invited on a road trip to Penang, for the unveiling of the mysterious limited edition of the Johnnie Walker Blue Label Chinese New Year Edition 2017.

And we got to eat famous street food....

Tah dahh.,....did that get your attention?


So, I was wondering, why Penang, and why a street tour of Penang, to launch a Chinese New Year Edition bottle.  Clearly, a  lot of thought had gone into this, and it wasn't just some random venue.  In fact, it was total genius.

Afterall, Penang is known as the "The Pearl of the Orient", and is one of the states that retains a strong Chinese flavour through its colourful culture, traditions, community, food and landmarks.  Whilst it may be a thorny issue in some circles, reality is the wealth of the history of Chinese ethnicity, and the Peranakans run deep in the veins of Penang.

And we all know that one of the main attractions in Penang in recent years has been the eclectice street art work who hitherto was just a name, the famous Ernest Zacharevic, a Lithuanian street artist who fell in love with Penang years ago, and who made is mark in 2012.

A fun bus ride starting at Solaris Mont Kiara took approximately 5 hours including toilet stops, with narratives on the way, including the brief history of Penang, before we arrived at Ah Leng Char Kueh Teow for lunch.  This iconic CKT has been around for at least two generations, and we all placed our individual orders, which must have been a major headache, all the different cockels, with cockles, with mantis prawn, without, big, small, extra egg....

The wormy looking thing on top the CKT is a mantis shrimp...

You'd assume the chappie is "AH LENG" himself, but actually, that is Teoh Yeong Hee, who is the successor of the stall which was established by his father, Teoh Koon Leng back in the 1970s. Yeong Hee who embodies the Keep Walking spirit, prides himself on the hard work and perseverance of his father in making a name for himself, and to date, he continues to maintain high standards of the delectable dish through the art of refining his recipe from time to time and upholding the secrets to serve the best Char Kuey Teow, similar to how Johnnie Walker meticulously crafts its whisky blends.

Loved the way JWB weaved that into the storyline.

The next item on the itinerary was rather unexpected and a rather pleasant surprise, a trishaw convoy to see the sights.

I learnt that the difference between a trishaw and rickshaw was that the latter was pulled by a person.  Like a human bullock cart.  Oh dear!!! But trishaws of course a pedalled by the trishaw man, and if it's just one passenger, be it fat or thin, it's quite manageable.

Meanwhile, our American friend was closely monitoring the US Election updates....

With the trishaw Mural.

The purpose of the trishaw tour was to highlight the murals of Ernest Zacharevic, as mentioned earlier, BECAUSE...

..... Ernest Zacharevic’s intricate design created for Johnnie Walker Blue Label 2017 Chinese New Year limited edition bottles stemmed from a love-affair with the rich heritage of Penang, and the contemporary work of art features a combination of graffiti and traditional mediums to depict the classic Chinese dragon dance with a playful twist. The blue dragon is especially inspired by the rarity of the Johnnie Walker Blue Label, in which only 1 every 10,000 casks are of sufficient character to deserve the Blue Label blend. The blue dragon moves gracefully in the mist as it is controlled by dancers, performing in tandem to bring it to life against the backdrop of historical and cultural Penang landmarks.

So the bottle of  Johnnie Walker Blue Label whisky is a slice of time and stature; a blending of prestigious histories, talent, and craftsmanship.

The tour continued to the last spot to quench our thirst (since there was no Blue Label in sight thus far) with the famous Penang Road Cendol.

The hotel where we did NOT stay in...enroute to Cendol...

This iconic stall was started 80 years ago by  Tan Teik Fuang and today is run by his 6th son Tan Chong Kim (in photo), who has expanded the business even out of Penang. On a side note, right across his stall is another chendol stall, which apparently is run by a feuding member of the family.

As they continue to embody Johnnie Walker’s Keep Walking brand belief of forward progression they have branched out nationwide in various locations, yet, still pride themselves on ensuring its quality excellence while remaining humble to their loyal customers.


As dusk approached, we were brought to Macalister Mansion, a gorgeous boutique hotel on Macalister Road,  and were greeted by this dragon dance, to complete the jigsaw we had been fitting together all day.

The exterior of Macalister Mansion, all lit up in blue...for obvious reasons.

Greeted at the door by Jeremy Lee, Brand Ambassador of Johnnie Walker Malaysia...

The banquet hall was set up with great aplomb, gorgeous place settings and high was the anticipation of a fabulous dinner ahead.

In line with the Keep Walking spirit to continue inspiring Malaysians to think about how they can make their tomorrow better than today, Rajesh Joshi, Marketing Director of Möet Hennessy Diageo Malaysia for Diageo Brands, announced that they will be hosting charity auctions in the first quarter of 2017.

The proceeds of the auction items which include three autographed sets of Johnnie Walker Blue Label 2017 Chinese New Year limited edition 1.75cl bottles...

and the Blue dragon a masterpiece by Ernest Zacharevic, will not only go towards the preferred beneficiaries of the successful auctioneers, but also to one of Ernest’s preferred charitable organization, the Sumatran Orangutan Society.

Together with renowned calligrapher from Penang, Master Wong, who was also featured in one of Ernest’s famous murals in Georgetown. Guests immersed themselves in the traditional art of Chinese calligraphy as they learned and wrote some auspicious Chinese characters including 春 (spring) , 福 (prosperity) , 财 (wealth) ,满 (abundance) , 喜 (happiness) ,富 (fortune).
My own piecing together of the jigsaw, taken from the different angles....

Q&A with Jeremy and Ernest....


Amuse Bouche...
I simply had to put in this statesmanlike pic of the Brand Ambassador...

Smoked Salmon with Watercress, Cauliflowere and Egg Mimosa

Foie Gras With Dark Chocolate and Orange....I could have had a few more slices of this, if it wasn't so rude to ask...

Palate Cleanser, White Snow Fungus, with Shaved Ice..

Black Cod with Miso and Blue Label Marinade...was wondering WHEN the Blue Label was going to feature in the food.  This was really excellent.

Wagyu beef....


Red Bean Crepe Cake....

JOHNNIE WALKER® BLUE LABEL™ CHINESE NEW YEAR 2017 LIMITED EDITION BOTTLES is exclusively available in Malaysia, in conjunction with the 2017 Chinese New Year festive occasion.

The Johnnie Walker Blue Label has a remarkable signature taste, where only one in every ten thousand casks has the elusive quality, character and flavor to deliver its unique notes. As rare as the blend itself, the partnership with Ernest Zacharevic is a one-off collaboration and there are only less than 4,000 bottles made available for the local market. Celebrate the 2017 Chinese New Year responsibly with your friends and family with Johnnie Walker Blue Label’s latest collector’s edition that is available for purchase at selected distributors only.
For further information, please visit:-
Official website :
Facebook page :
Official hashtags : #johnniewalkermy, #johnniewalkerblue

For media enquiries, kindly contact:
Olivia Chan / Aloshana Pandair
+603 7494 0292 /

For purchase queries, kindly contact:

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