Whisky of the Future: Johnnie Walker’s Limited-Edition ‘Blade Runner 2049’ Release Is Here

Whisky drinkers swoon over aging. But have you ever imagined what the Scotch of the future tastes like? For that matter, have you ever suspected that you’re actually a replicant?

Well, wonder no more.

Timed to the long-awaited sequel Blade Runner 2049, Johnnie Walker has collaborated with filmmaker Denis Villeneuve on a limited-edition release: Johnnie Walker Black Label The Director’s Cut.

The new whisky pays homage to Ridley Scott’s visionary 1982 movie Blade Runner, which was set in 2019 and gave audiences a visual taste of a 21st century Johnnie Walker Black in a geometric bottle. Now Villeneuve and Master Blender Jim Beveridge have gone back to the future to produce a Black Label from 2049.

“Like many fans, I remember the Johnnie Walker bottle from the first film, so it was a unique privilege to collaborate with Johnnie Walker on designing a totally original, custom bottle for the new movie,” says Villeneuve. “It was also a once-in-a-lifetime experience to help create the limited-edition Director’s Cut blend, which perfectly captures the complex and mysterious world of Blade Runner 2049.” (The sequel, which opens on October 6, sees Harrison Ford reprising his role as Deckard, and also stars Ryan Gosling, Robin Wright, and Jared Leto.)

And make no mistake—this is not a merely a repackaging of Johnnie Walker Black in a fast-forwarded bottle. “What we have created in Johnnie Walker Black Label The Director’s Cut is something really special that fans will be able to relate to and whisky drinkers will love,” Beveridge says. “I was truly inspired by Villeneuve’s artistic vision for Blade Runner 2049 and how it could come to life in this new blend. I learned that filmmaking is much like blending—you have to constantly be committed to creating the best possible outcome. Johnnie Walker blending tradition dates back to 1820 and I’m honored to carry on the legacy and collective memory of our other past blenders to ensure that the same whisky enjoyed today can be enjoyed responsibly in 2049.”

Johnnie Walker Blade Runner 2049_Limited Edition Johnnie Walker Black Label The Director's Cut_01Photo: Johnnie Walker / Diageo

Johnnie Walker Black Label The Director’s Cut is not a merely a repackaging of Johnnie Walker Black in a fast-forwarded bottle. It’s smokier and clocks in at 49% ABV—compared to the 40% of Black Label.

The Director’s Cut contains more than 30 malt and grain whiskies from the most renowned distilleries in the world—and fits nicely into the Johnnie Walker universe. You’ll immediately notice that the Johnnie Walker Black DNA is there, but smokier and infinitely richer. And given the Blade Runner future has always been bleak, this expression is more intense—think of it as a cask strength Johnnie Walker Black. It clocks in at 49% ABV—compared to the 40% of Black Label. But the palatability of the pale whisky is not its only attractive quality. For a limited-edition expression, it’s priced modestly at $90 (SRP). The only down side? There are just 39,000 Director’s Cut bottles for the entire global allocation—27,600 of which are going to the U.S. in only 15 states.

Johnnie Walker Blade Runner 2049_Limited Edition Johnnie Walker Black Label The Director's Cut_02.jpgPhoto: Johnnie Walker / Diageo

For a limited-edition expression, The Director’s Cut is priced modestly at $90 (SRP).

As for the name, it’s a sly joke for Blade Runner fans. In 1992, Warner Bros. famously released a new version of the cult classic—the Director’s Cut—to great acclaim. (Ironically, it did not have Scott’s blessing or input.) Then in 2007, for the movie’s 25th anniversary, Scott released The Final Cut, which he considered the definitive version of the film.

However, Johnnie Walker Black Label The Director’s Cut will be the distiller’s only expression for Blade Runner 2049. Unless there’s a final cut.