Colin Scott, Chivas Master Blender
Guests were welcomed with a bespoke selection of whisky cocktails and canapés created to highlight the character of Chivas Extra.
L-R: Gentleman’s Agreement, Silver Fox Fizz, Sunset Boulevardier
The cocktails were created by Chivas Bros Global Ambassador, Max Warner and featured the new Chivas Extra. The Silver Fox Fizz was a take on the Fizz, a refreshing mix of Chivas Extra, lime juice, sugar, kummel, egg white and soda. Gentleman’s Agreement added a smoky flavour with Mezcal, Regal Rogue Vermouth Bianco (featured in our top 10 Australian craft spirits), Suze, ginger ale and peach liqueur. The Sunset Boulevardier was a delicious adaptation of the classic Rob Roy with Chivas Extra, Regal Rogue Rosso, Lillet Rosé, cherry liqueur with peach and orange bitters.
Oysters on Half Shell
A special canapé menu was created by chef Ryan Moulton which included oysters on the half shell with manzanillo mignonette, Atlantic salmon gravlax with preserved lemon, Thirlmere duck liver parfait, blue cheese & bacon gougeres, Kangaroo meat sliders and to finish, dark chocolate mousse infused with Chivas Extra.
Colin Scott at Eau de Vie Bar
The tasting began with a brief history of Chivas which was started by brothers James and John Chivas in Aberdeen back in the 1840’s. In 1909, the first Chivas Regal was introduced, a 25 YO expression aimed at the American market which came to an early demise due to the Prohibition. In 1938, Chivas introduced the 12YO expression back into America and hence forth the brand went global in 1949.
Chivas 12 YO became a “global icon” as termed by Colin Scott. Chivas 12 YO’s style of smoothness and richness highlights the harmony of complex flavours. The blend consists of Speyside malts which give smoothness and gentleness along with Highland malts that give it fruitiness and spice as well as whiskies from the islands with pungent smokiness. But it is the art of blending that hides the smokiness and gives it a harmony of flavours.
The tasting featured Chivas 12 YO, Chivas Extra and Chivas 18 YO which enabled a comparison of the three in succession.
Chivas 12 YO, Extra, 18 YO
Chivas 12 YO, the flagship blend, displays honey sweetness and fruitiness with fresh flavour of apples and pears, floral heathery notes and a hint of nuttiness which makes for easy drinking at any time of the day.
Laura Hay Demonstrating the “Legs” on Chivas Extra
Chivas Extra – which we reviewed with tasting notes earlier last month – was created as a tribute to James and John Chivas, and the early years of blending where blenders didn’t work to an age statement, nudging the boundaries the defy age statements. The whisky aged in ex Bourbon barrels, hogs heads and sherry butts with a higher proportion of sherry casks which give it spiciness, cinnamon and nuttiness while maintaining vibrancy.
Colin Scott likened Chivas Extra to a cake where aged malts go into the smooth icing, and sherry casks are like cherries on top. “When you take a slice of the cake, you get the smooth icing then the richness of the cherry, that’s the Chivas Extra”.
Chivas Extra Tasting
Chivas 18 YO was a return to the house style in 1997 made from predominantly Speyside malts from Strathisla, the cornerstone of all Chivas blends, with a full bodied, rich, fruity and nutty profile with a hint of smoke. Dries fruits, raisins, dark chocolate and buttery toffee go into giving the dram a long and warming finish.
Chivas 18 YO
Chivas 12 YO – fruitiness, freshness, fresh pears, honey sweetness, floral and heathery notes, smooth
Chivas Extra – viscous on palate, balance of fruitiness and floral notes with spice, predominately cinnamon with sherry notes and heat
Chivas 18 YO – rich and complex, dried fruit, raisins, dark chocolate, orange, long warming finish
L-R: Jamie Terrell, Colin Scott, Ben Davidson, Laura Hay
The work of a master blender may include roaming around the globe, regaling audiences with the story of Chivas but the art of blending is what is at heart. A team of seven blenders ensures consistency referencing samples from as far back as ten years. The blends have to be consistent and not “close enough” because by doing “close enough” five years in a row, you end up a mile away. Put simply and succinctly by Colin Scott, “We’re guardians of the quality and the consistency.
The tasting session with Colin Scott was held on Thursday 9 October 2014 at Eau de Vie Bar in Darlinghurst.
Photography © by Kevin Burke for Gourmantic – Copyright: All rights reserved.
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