A whisky from the future: Johnnie Walker and Blade Runner 2049

If you’ve seen Blade Runner 2049, you may have noticed the appearance of Johnnie Walker Black in one of the film’s key scenes…

Johnnie Walker Black The Director's cut was created in collaboration with Blade Runner 2049 director Denis Villeneuve
Johnnie Walker Black The Director’s cut was created in collaboration with Blade Runner 2049 director Denis Villeneuve and Love

A bottle of Johnnie Walker Black appeared in the original Blade Runner movie in 1982. According to website yourprops.com, director Ridley Scott personally signed off on its squared-off design and a very small number of replicas (replicants?) were made available.

Product placement these days is a very different business. For sequel Blade Runner 2049, Diageo developed a limited edition blend of Johnnie Walker Black in collaboration with director Denis Villeneuve as part of a wider campaign that saw a Johnnie Walker activation at ComicCon and a very prominent Diageo sign appear atop an LA skyscraper in one of the film’s opening scenes.

The 2049 bottle was designed by creative agency Love (who claim they had been suggesting the brand take advantage of their attachment to Blade Runner for years before the sequel came along) and features in a key scene in the film.

The bottle is filled with a special blend created by Master Blender Jim Beveridge. Johnnie Walker Black Label The Director’s Cut is 49% proof and Love says it is “filled with dystopian smokiness and neon sweetness”. Quite.

Villeneuve apparently chose the final design. “Like many fans, I remember the Johnnie Walker bottle from the first film, so it was a unique privilege to collaborate on designing a totally original, custom bottle for the new movie,” he says in a statement on Love’s website.

Sketches for Johnnie Walker Back The Director’s Cut. Love’s design was approved by Villeneuve and 39,000 limited edition bottles will go on sale worldwide

Johnnie Walker might have been slow to capitalise on its Blade Runner connections in the past but it hasn’t missed a trick this time around – 39,000 limited edition bottles will be on sale worldwide.

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