Diageo is extending its Johnnie Walker whisky portfolio, with a launch into the ultra deluxe Scotch segment in Europe and the Americas.

Johnnie Walker Blue Label King George V Edition has been launched across global travel retail outlets at London's Heathrow, the company said yesterday (10 April). Following its introduction in Asia in December, the launch marks the start of the global availability of this blend.

Johnnie Walker Blue Label King George V Edition celebrates the first Royal Warrant granted to John Walker & Sons Ltd to supply Scotch whisky to the British Royal Household in 1934.

The travel retail channel in Europe, the Americas and the Middle East will be the first to receive an allocation, with Paris and the Americas launching during this month. The product will be formally presented to key travel retail customers in the Americas at the IAADFS show in Fort Lauderdale in April and made available in selected retail accounts in May.

"Johnnie Walker Blue Label King George V Edition is particularly suited to travel retail where luxury items play an important role for consumers, many of whom are looking for the ideal premium gift" said Nick Robinson, marketing director for Diageo's global travel and Middle East.

Diageo said that some of its rarest whiskies - many from distilleries that no longer exist - have gone into the creation of this blend. "The blend is thus so rare that it is available only upon strict allocation," said Jonathan Driver, brand ambassador for the Scotch.