Hollie Atkinson, a Chivas Regal’s local brand ambassador and whisky-enthusiast gives us the lowdown on everything you need to know about blended whiskies, and why they’re just so damn good.
What is the difference between a single malt and blended whisky?
When it comes to single malt and blended whisky, the difference is that single malt is a whisky created from malted barley from one single distillery, whereas blended whisky is crafted from a variety of single malts and also single grain whisky. As one of Australia’s most loved Scotch whiskies, Chivas Regal prides itself in being an incredibly smooth and generous blended scotch, loved by both experienced whisky lovers, and also those new to the spirit.
Why is there a misconception around single malt being better quality?
I think this misconception exists because there is a lack of awareness of what blended whisky actually is. There are some perceptions that blended whisky is ‘watered down mingle malts’, or simply whisky that’s a lesser quality, however blended whisky is simply a creation of different single malts and grain whiskies combined to create a smoother and richer tasting experience. Chivas The Blend experience is the perfect masterclass to help demystify the misconceptions surrounding blended whisky, as guests gain knowledge about the art of blending and take the reigns to have a go at crafting their own blended scotch using the finest Speyside single malt and single grain whisky.
What is The Blend by Chivas and what can people learn there?
Chivas The Blend experience is an interactive masterclass where guest deconstruct blended scotch whisky, trying a variety of single malt and grain whiskies that are then used to create their own blended scotch. The Blend caters to both whisky newbies and experienced whisky drinkers as they’re taken through the heritage of Chivas Regal and become the master blenders for one night. Chivas The Blend experience invites guests to taste some of Speyside’s finest single malts and grain whisky that align with the five key whisky flavour profiles; floral, fruity, creamy, citrus and smoky. The Blend surpasses regular whisky tasting sessions and guests get to taste a broad spectrum of whisky from blended to single malts and grain, and gain a depth of knowledge about the production of whisky, and craftsmanship of blending.
If people can’t make it to the event, what whisky would you recommend this festive season?
Given the indulgent flavour profile and characteristics of Chivas XV, this is the perfect whisky to reach for this festive season. Whether you like to stick to tradition and enjoy your scotch neat, or are open to some whisky experimentation, our 15-year-old scotch comes highly recommended. Creating a ‘Gold Fashioned’ is incredibly simple and can be done with ease from home. The balance of sweet butterscotch, spiced sultanas and almonds, complement each other beautifully with a dash of bitters and sugar with an orange twist – a classic old fashioned with a Scottish touch! Or if you’re looking for something more refreshing for the festivities, try out a Chivas XV highball with a fruity citrus twist.
How is it best enjoyed?
Although there are many different ways to enjoy scotch whisky, ultimately it comes down to your personal preference. I’d always encourage those who are new to drinking whisky to try it neat before adding a splash of water or ice. By adding a few drops of water, you lower the alcohol percentage and release the aromas in the whisky, which can make it softer on your palate. A refreshing and simple way to introduce yourself to whisky is to create a whisky highball. For example, combining Chivas XV and soda in a tall glass with ice and a citrus twist is a great way for whisky newbies to explore how they like to enjoy scotch.
Have you got any whisky drinking tips for newbies?
- Knowing where to start;
With so many scotch whiskies on the market, knowing where to start, or what you like, can take a bit of time to discover. When it comes to knowing what whisky to start with, I would recommend reaching for something with a lighter flavour profile that has a smooth finish. Being a Speyside whisky, Chivas Regal is a great place to start as the defining flavour characteristics are fruity, sweet and smooth. Chivas is a blended scotch whisky, meaning that is crafted form the finest single malts and gain whisky to create a taste that is indulgent and beautifully balanced. To help whisky newbies decide where to start, Chivas has created an online quiz alongside The Blend masterclass, where you can answer questions based on the five key flavour profiles of whisky www.chivas.com/en-AU/the-blend-masterclass]. Discovering what you are drawn to simply comes down to tasting a variety of different whiskies, however, beginning with one of our expertly crafted blended scotch whiskies, is sure to get you off to a good start.
- Go to different whisky tastings and masterclasses;
The best thing about whisky tastings and masterclasses is that you have the chance to try a variety of different whiskies, which is great way to get familiar with what you like and what you don’t. Tastings and masterclasses not only allow you to try whiskies, but you also gain knowledge about the production, heritage and craftsmanship of whisky. Chivas The Blend experience is an interactive masterclass where guest deconstruct blended scotch whisky, trying a variety of single malt and grain whiskies that are then used to create their own blended scotch.
- Don’t be afraid to experiment;
One of the most exciting things about whisky is its versatility. The perception that scotch is an older man’s drink to only be enjoyed neat is aging, and continuously we see the boundaries of whisky being pushed further. At the end of the day, whisky comes down to personal preference – so don’t shy away from experimentation when you drink it. When it comes to whisky cocktails, the Australian bar scene is showing exactly how exciting scotch can be, with an explosion of new whisky cocktails. The diversity within the range of Chivas Regal makes it the perfect scotch to create a variety of whisky cocktails. If you are drawn to something classic with a kick, why not try out a Gold Fashioned made with Chivas XV? Or if you’re looking for something more contemporary and refreshing, a Chivas 12YO Highball is the way to go. There is a style of drinking scotch for everyone!
Hollie Atkinson is Chivas Regal’s local brand ambassador and whisky-enthusiast. Hollie comes from the Speyside region in Scotland and as a result of growing up around the industry, has a very real passion for whisky. Completing intensive training in Scotland, Hollie learned from the global brand and heritage team and Custodian Master Blender, Colin Scott. Hollie continues to share her passion for the craftsmanship and rich heritage of scotch whisky as an ambassador for the Chivas Brothers brand.