Johnnie Walker, a brand of Norwalk, Conn.-based Diageo North America, announced the release of the Johnnie Walker Blue Label Year of the Dog limited-edition bottle in celebration of the Lunar New Year. As part of the brand's Pioneering Spirit Series, Johnnie Walker continues to pay homage to the traditions of Asian culture and the lasting heritage of the Chinese Zodiac, the company says.

This annual limited-edition series, now in its fifth installment, honors each Lunar New Year with a commemorative bottle inspired by the Chinese Zodiac. The 2018 bottle artwork, created in collaboration with Taiwanese artist Page Tsou, follows the Johnnie Walker Striding Man as he celebrates the Lunar New Year alongside the design's Shar Pei, it says. Originally bred for Chinese nobility, the Shar Pei is renowned for its rarity, a key characteristic of Johnnie Walker Blue Label. With only one in 10,000 whiskies distilled by Johnnie Walker possessing the caliber required to craft the Blue Label blend, each bottle exemplifies exclusivity and prestige, it adds.

"It is an honor to have been commissioned to create the Johnnie Walker Blue Label Year of the Dog bottle,” Tsou said. “The precious design consists of a total of four dogs, all chosen for their special meaning in Asia. This unique design tells the story of the Johnnie Walker Striding Man and a loyal companion as they journey around the world bringing prosperity and rejoicing in the arrival of the New Year. The design also contains various symbols of wealth and prosperity, making this bottle extremely unique and the perfect gift to give this Chinese New Year."

Decorated with precious metals and a lacquered, ink-jet finish, the bottle itself depicts an ancient Chinese triptych design of lanterns, fireworks and dancing dragons, embodying emotions felt while ringing in the New Year: an eagerness for exploration to worlds unseen and an inspired sense of optimism and progress, the company says. Man's best friend also is pictured standing honest and loyal while traveling through this vibrant landscape, representing the best traits of human nature, it adds.

"The Lunar New Year is one of the most recognized Chinese traditions around the globe, and Johnnie Walker is thrilled to continue celebrating this iconic cultural moment with a limited-edition bottling of the rarest and most exclusive blend in our portfolio," said Sandhya Padmanabhan, senior brand manager of Johnnie Walker North America, in a statement. "As we look forward to the many special moments to toast with Johnnie Walker in this new year, we remind you to always enjoy responsibly."

The Johnnie Walker Blue Label Year of the Dog bottle comes in collectible packaging that features a front-and-back view of the bottle, a keepsake for any home bar or tablescape.

Johnnie Walker Blue Label Year of the Dog is available nationwide wherever fine spirits are sold with a suggested retail price of $258 for a 750-ml bottle. The spirit is 43 percent alcohol by volume.