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The West Wing's Leo McGarry on Scotch

01 February 2016 by

Scotch has a minor moment in The West Wing. In a flashback sequence, chief of staff and recovering alcoholic Leo McGarry recalls a moment on the campaign trail when he fell spectacularly off the wagon – thanks to the lure of Johnnie Walker Blue Label.

McGarry describes the whisky as a 60-year-old Scotch, except that it isn't. According to James Espey, who developed Blue Label precursor Johnnie Walker Oldest in the 1980s, the concept was born when a small amount of 60-year-old Scotch was blended with a much larger volume of 15-year-old. The label proudly proclaimed that the liquid was ‘aged 15 to 60 years’, and you can still occasionally find these old bottles for sale today.

Nowadays labels must either state the youngest whisky in the bottle or list no age at all. However McGarry's words underpin the lasting power marketing has, on both consumers and the media.

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