Johnnie Walker releases limited edition design for Chinese New Year
The premium whisky label has announced a new limited edition design created by Asian-American artist James Jean for the Lunar New Year
Johnnie Walker Blue Label is ringing in the Year of the Dragon in style by releasing a new limited edition design created in collaboration with visual artist James Jean. The Lunar New Year design features a dynamic interpretation of 2024’s Chinese Zodiac animal, the Wood Dragon.
Regarded by many as the mightiest of all the Zodiac animals, the dragon is symbolic of life and creativity as well as a portent of future prosperity in traditional Asian culture. In James’ layered visuals, the Wood Dragon emerges from surrounding flora and fauna, and bursts to life as a beacon of auspicious ambition.
“The dragon’s design derives inspiration from traditional depictions of Chinese dragons, and is composed of flowers and organic elements from which tendrils and arching lines emerge, evoking the idea of roots and connection,” explains James.
“With Johnnie Walker Blue Label Lunar New Year, we wanted to create a dragon that felt different, new and innovative — respect for the past but also looking into the future with optimism; in the same way that Johnnie Walker stands for progress through that incredible Keep Walking spirit,” he added.Renowned for his ability to work across different genres with an imaginative approach to image making, James fuses contemporary subjects with aesthetic techniques inspired by traditional Chinese scroll paintings, Japanese woodblock prints, and Renaissance portraiture.
For this design, he took inspiration from the layers of flavour that Johnnie Walker’s master blender Emma Walker and her team bring to the Blue Label — a whisky made using some of the rarest whiskies from the Johnnie Walker reserves of maturing scotch, including some casks sourced from long-closed ghost distilleries.
Likewise, James’s work includes hidden layers throughout, in hopes that the closer a buyer looks at the image, the more they will uncover.
“I included chrysanthemums with liquid gold flowing from them — inspired by Johnnie Walker whiskies — and hummingbirds sipping on the precious nectar,” he said. “I want the viewer to peel back the layers and discover more about the image. I want my work to function from far away but reveal more details the more closely you explore the imagery.”Speaking about the collaboration, Joao Matos, who is the global marketing and innovations director of Johnnie Walker said, “James Jean’s remarkable interpretation of the Wood Dragon for Johnnie Walker Blue Label Lunar New Year captures the essence of tradition and innovation. James has beautifully blended respect for the past with an optimistic look towards the future.”
“His dragon, crafted from flowers and organic elements, is a symbol of the power of creativity and connection,” he added. “We’re thrilled to celebrate the Year of the Dragon with this exquisite, limited-edition design.”