Whisky Blending with Chivas Regal
Regardless of whether you drink whisky, or whiskey, when Chivas Regal comes to town and you’re invited – you don’t say no, you simply say when. On a bitter Sunday evening, John and I made the short journey into Manchester city centre to try something different, something to put hairs on our chest – whisky blending with Chivas Regal. Although I’m no stranger to whiskey- I’m certainly no expert. Discovering blended Irish whiskey on a trip to Dublin trip many years ago, it was years later that I decided to try Scotch. Single malt to be precise, so would I enjoy blended Chivas Regal? Well, I was about to find out.
This is a collaborative post with Chivas Regal. We were invited to try The Blend, free of charge.
Undoubtedly, if you’ve ever drank Scotch, you’ll have heard of Chivas Regal – an established whisky hailing from Aberdeen. Chivas takes its name from its founding brothers, James and John Chivas. Growing up on a Scottish farm, the entrepreneurial brothers left their idyllic home to find themselves working in a city full of hope and Aberdeen’s luxury goods store. Following years of supplying the royals, in 1893, a Royal Warrant was issued by Queen Victoria- and thus, the name Chivas Regal was born.
Fast-forward over one hundred years, and we’re walking along Manchester’s Quay Street about to discover Chivas Regal’s ‘The Blend’. Housed within ‘The Loft’, visiting ‘The Blend’ almost feels like going back to school. We enter the event space to discover rows of neatly prepared out desks adorned with flasks of amber liquid. Students are requested to sit in pairs and face the front but unlike school, we’re encouraged to drink what’s in front of us while our expert tutor guides us, his pupils, through the history of Chivas Regal and the skill of whisky blending. I can’t help think that if high school had been like this, then I’m sure I’d have listened a lot more.
Listening attentively, I started to consider the smorgasbord of labelled bottles in front of me: smoky, floral, fruity, creamy and citrus and which ones I’d mix to create my own personal blend of whisky. It sounded simple:
Decide in advance the proportions of each whisky you wish to use. Include grain whisky and some of the single malt whiskies with different flavour profiles. Blend, then use the nosing glass to evaluate your sample.
Simple, right? No. I’d discounted floral; delicate and sweet, I mean, does that sound like me? That was until I was told that a good whisky needs a floral base and that a whopping 50% of my blend should include this fragrant malt. But what type of learning experience would it be if we couldn’t test the theory ourselves? Without a floral base, the mix of smokey and creamy tasted anything but. It was bitter and flat. My teacher was right – he told me so.
So, I decided to apply practical (and basic) maths and picked up my measuring cylinder to measure 100ml of floral whisky, precisely albeit, begrudgingly. I’d already discounted smokey, those undertones were so powerful on the nose that I knew I didn’t want to taste that at all. By a simple process of elimination, I added equal measures of fruity and citrus. All that was left to do was to pop a cork in, label my signature blend and hope for the best -all while sipping on a well-earned Chivas Collins (whisky blending is thirsty work).
If you’re a fan of whisky and enjoy a tipple, you’ll love the blend. Your £15 entry fee entitles you to a free cocktail, a wee dram of whisky and of course, your 200ml signature blend to take away with you. It’s captivating and intriguing and certainly something that’s a little different! We thoroughly enjoyed our visit.
The Blend is located at: 13 Quay Street, Manchester, M3 3HN.
Tickets are available, here: Chivas Regal ‘The Blend’.
Can’t make it to The Blend but inspired to make your own whisky cocktails? Check out Chivas Regal’s interactive cocktail recipes here: cocktail recipes.