Chivas Regal has been a luxurious brand since its inception. They have been tied to both Royalty (Queen Victoria) and the rich and famous (Frank Sinatra). Chivas Regal just unveiled their first blended malt, Chivas Ultis, in tribute to the five Master Blenders who made strides in the brand’s history and style dating back to the 1900s. So much thought and precision went into the development of this whisky, making it as unique as the DNA of the Master Blenders who created it. These Master Blenders include Charles Howard, Charles Julian, Allan Baillie, Jimmy Land, and today’s Colin Scott.
This month, Alex and I got to sit down with a group of amazing people and learn about the release of Chivas Regal Ultis, and how to taste it in a way that engages the five senses. A big thank you goes out to the very talented Robert Carlo for beautifully capturing this experience and Chivas Brand Ambassador Alex Thaler for sharing his knowledge and passion for scotch with us.
Chivas Ultis Entices the Five Senses
Look at the color of the whisky by holding your glass up to the light. Color tells you what kind of cask it’s been in and how long it’s been in aging in the cask. There are different types of casks that whisky can be aged in varying in size, wood, and toasting methods. Less than 1% of Chivas’ cask inventory was selected to make this exceptional blend of five hand selected single malts. Each cask has been “nosed” to make sure that the right ones were chosen as the flavors of the cask are fused into the whisky during the aging process. It’s good to note that wood is porous, so only 25% of whisky is left in the cast after the aging process is complete. The alcohol evaporates into the wood over time, thus why a 25 year old whisky tends to be pricier than a younger one. Most of Chivas’ single malt whiskys are aged at lease 25 years, but they do carry younger whiskys as well. Chivas does not focus so much on the age of the whisky but rather on the exceptional flavor profiles. As I held my glass up to the light, I admired the gorgeous amber, golden-brown hue of Ultis.
Here, I’m referring to viscosity. How does the whisky touch the glass? Rotate your glass to a 90-degree angle and as you tilt your glass back upright, notice the “legs” that have formed on the side of your glass. The legs are the streaks you see on the inside of the glass. If you see many dense legs running down the side, it’s a good indication that there’s a high alcohol content which gives you a hot/burning sensation in your mouth. Viscosity not only tells you about the alcohol content but the fatty acids, lipids, and oils, as well. Ultis is very thick and viscous, so it takes a while for the legs to come down. This is an important step in the tasting process as it helps you know what to expect when it’s time to take your first sip!
The nose of the whisky may be the most important step in the tasting process. Position your nose directly inside the glass and the high 40% alcohol content will burn through. Instead, place the glass under your bottom lip and slowly breath in through your nose. Ultis has a very complex flavor profile which definitely manifests in its scent beginning with fruity and floral notes followed by caramel and toasted almonds.
Don’t think you will get the full tasting experience on the first sip. There are many things you will feel on your palate that evolve throughout the tasting experience so let’s get on with it, shall we? Take a small sip, swish it, swallow it, and exhale.
Ask yourself a few questions:
- How long does the whisky stay on your mouth?
- Where is your palate activated?
- How long does it linger?
- How thick does it feel?
The first sip may seem harsh at first, causing a burning sensation in your mouth. But remember, you cannot judge a whisky by the first taste. The second sip is the one that really counts. That’s when you’re really going to enjoy the flavors as your palate has been primed and is more comfortable. The notes start off smooth, fruity and floral. A hint of oak and caramel follow with long vanilla notes on the finish. Chivas Ultis has a BIG mouth-feel as it’s one of the richest and most viscose of whiskys, staying on your palate for about three minutes. Some people tend to think that they need to drink their scotch straight-up, but the truth is, the scotch has been aging in a barrel for a very long time. When a splash of water is added to your scotch, the bouquet opens up and brings down the alcohol content. Adding a bit of water makes the whisky more drinkable, and allows the flavors to really develop and shine through. You can also add one big ice cube and slowly enjoy the whisky as the ice melts down. Avoid adding lots of crushed ice to your glass because as it melts, you will have way more water than whisky in your glass and no one likes that!
Hear the sound of laughter of those gathered around, listen to the stories and experiences others are sharing, catch the sound of “Sláinte” as glasses clink together in a toast of celebration. Sláinte (pronounced Slawn-cha) is commonly used as a drinking toast in Scotland, home of Chivas Regal.
I definitely have a deeper understanding and appreciation for the experience that whisky offers. It’s been a tradition that’s been around for centuries and brings people together. I hope you enjoyed this post and will taste some Chivas Ultis for yourself. I’d love to know what you think! Cheers, until next time!