The Best Blended Whisky?
Many whisky lovers will be familiar with Chivas Regal, a stalwart in the whisky space with a proud and interesting Scottish history, which adds some depth to their fine product.
In the 1800s, brothers James and John Chivas worked in an emporium in Aberdeen, and as time progressed, began to experiment with ageing and blending whiskies, to meet a demand for a smoother, more rounded whisky.
The experience from this initial process would feed into their later success in New York and their emergence as one of the first premium whiskies on the world market, a status that survived and even thrived throughout the American Prohibition.
The word regal means ‘fit for a monarch’, and one can easily imagine its origins. The Chivas brand gained a Royal Warrant in recognition of its regular provision to the Queen Victoria in the 1800s.
Experiencing the pinnacle of distillery
While stock in trade, popular and more affordable bottles of any given whisky brand may be well known, these do not represent the pinnacle to sample at your local whisky bar. They may or may not hint at the experience of drinking the most expertly crafted option, but it is just that: a hint. Not the real thing.
One of the most unique qualities in any given whisky is rarity. Here too, the old economic principle of supply and demand is in play. The more in demand a whisky is, the more valuable it is. The less whisky there is available, the more valuable it becomes again. In the case of the Chivas the Icon, this principle is clearly demonstrated.
The whiskies that compose the blend summon from distilleries that are no longer extant. This whisky, therefore, presents a potential once in a lifetime experience. It is a finite resource and only a certain amount of the liquid exists, and it is continually becoming lower and lower, both driving up the value, making it harder to experience, and retiring this chapter of living history to our past.
Just like a good captain needs a good vessel, and a cutting-edge painting requires an appropriately ornate frame, so too does the Chivas The Icon require a suitably lavish decanter. Accordingly, The Icon resides in a hand-blown decanter, precisely etched and adorned with fine metalwork.
What is the experience like?
This exquisite blend builds towards its long and lingering finish. On the nose, the experience commences with a deep, rich fruitiness; one can almost hear the buzzing of the bees around the hive, the pears ripening on the tree, the waft from the orange grove.
As it rolls over the tongue, these sweet flavours actuate, with new fruits and spices such as vanilla emerging, balanced by the cask-infused hazelnut character for a well-rounded dance on the palate. The last note is long and lingering, the denouement of a quality drama.
The Icon presents a unique proposition. With it and through it, one can sample the pinnacle of blended whiskies, which are said to take up 75 per cent of the market.