Creating a blend
PLAY makes learning fun, even more so when it involves alcohol. Marini's on 57, in collaboration with Chivas Regal, recently held a guided whisky tasting and blending session at the Marini’s on 57 Lounge in Kuala Lumpur. The event was held in conjunction with International Whisky Day and ended with guests taking home their own special blend of whisky.
The Marini’s on 57 “Chivas The Blend” event on 27 March 2019 was a hands-on masterclass where guests were given a quick insight into the history of the brand as well as the different processes that go into making grain whisky and single malts. The evening tutorial was led by Chivas brand ambassador, Jasper Epsom, who also shared the role each of these liquids and how their respective flavour profiles play in the art of whisky blending.
Upon their arrival, guests were served canapés and the evening’s whisky cocktail – a Chivas Regal 12 Years Old and Soda Highball with splashes of elderflower syrup and angostura bitters. Once it was time for the fun to start, they were ushered into the private room for the much-awaited Chivas blending experience.
Each guest was provided with a tasting mat that had seven whisky-filled glasses, a pipette, beaker, stirrer and an empty glass and 100ml bottle. Each of the filled glasses held a different type of whisky – the blended grain whisky (floral), the four single malts (fruity, citrus, creamy and smoky), the Chivas Regal 12 Years Old and the Chivas XV.
A quick introduction and brief history lesson later, it was time to taste some whisky. First up was the Chivas 12 which is an aromatic infusion of wild herbs, heather, honey and orchard fruits on the nose. The warm amber dram is creamy with notes of apples, pears, vanilla and honey in the mouth.
The guests needed very little urging to move on to the next dram, the Chivas XV, which is selectively finished in Grande Champagne Cognac casks. On the nose, the Chivas XV is rich and sweet with concentrated notes of stewed red apples, orange marmalade, honey, cinnamon and sultanas. In the mouth, it is a smooth and fruity mix of poached pears, butterscotch and caramel toffees, with a touch of vanilla on the finish.
Then it was time to get down to the blending basics. Jasper explained how the blended grain whisky and four single malts will bring unique characteristics and flavours to each individual’s special whisky blend. There was excitement and glee as the guests sampled the different core whiskies to decide which elements – floral, fruity, citrus, creamy or smoky – and amounts would go in their personalised concoctions.
Potions class, er, the blending session then went into full swing. Some chose to use the pipette and beaker to carefully measure the whiskies and taste their blend as they went along while some chose to follow their instincts and pour out what they felt was right. Meanwhile, a scant few had to start over after getting too heavy-handed with the elements they didn’t like.
Once they were done, the guests then bottled their final whisky blends, labelled the bottles and readied themselves for the last activity of the evening – the “graduation” ceremony. Each individual was presented with a Master Blender diploma and Chivas merchandise and the evening was eventually capped off with glasses of the multi-flavoured Chivas Regal 18 Years Old for the final toast.