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I was recently invited to take part in The Blend, by Chivas Regal – a night exploring the history of the iconic whiskey, and learning why this blended spirit deserves more than the reputation it’s built up over the years.

Let’s fla-mingle!

I’m obviously not a whiskey drinker, mainly because I had a preconceived idea that the flavours would be too intense. The only whiskey I’d tried before my visit to a Dublin distillery earlier this year was a blended one. But if I’m being honest, I was kind of under the impression that drinking blended whiskey was somehow cheating?

Well, that’s what The Blend is out to reeducate us all about!

An introduction to Chivas Regal

The session took place in the stunning Royal Instituion building in Liverpool, in their own independent wine & spirit merchant – Whiskey Business. Out expert host for the evening was Paul, brand ambassador for Chivas Regal.

The Royal Institution, Liverpool
Our welcome drink – Whiskey Sour with a hint of Peach

He started by explaining that although in UK generally prefers Single Malt Scotch Whiskey, globally Blended Whisky is the preference, and the top 3 choices are premium whiskies.

The reason for the popularity of blended whiskey is down to that hybrid between the full flavour and smoothness, which was evident from our first taste of Chivas Regal! 

We started by smelling the whiskey – it comes across differently to each person. I’m not one for knowing much about smelling and tasting note, but I picked up on some definite honey-like scent – the sweetness of the blend really comes across in the nose. When it came to the taste, that sweetness still came across witha  very creamy texture – pro tip, when you’re tasting whiskey hold it on your tongue to get the flavours. To me it came across with a very spicy initial flavour, with a distinct apple aftertaste. Paul explained that a ‘long finish’ where the taste lingers in your mouth is the sign of a quality whiskey. 

We tried our whiskey neat and with water – I can’t say I’m much of a fan of whiskey and water, although I did prefer the smell! Paul did reassure us though that the only wrong way to drink whiskey is if you’re not enjoying it! 

The history of whisky

Paul gave us a really interesting overview of the history of the brand and a little about Scotch Whiskey – fun fact the old written record of Scotch Whiskey dates back to 1494! Back then it would be made by farmers from left over barley, as a very crude spirit. 

We also learned a little what defines a whiskey as single malt – it needs to be made from a single grain (barley), water and yeast – Scotland is perfect for all these ingredients! We learnt all about why distilleries are located where they are (near fresh water sources), how the drink is fermented and distilled from the ugly named wart, to the beer like wash, and then on into the final whiskey. 

Is Whisky gluten free?

You’ve seen here that there’s a ton of barley that goes into whiskey! Well, as with gin, I’d argue that it’s possibly down to the individual and how sensitive you are to the gluten containing allergens. According to Coeliac UK, the distillation is enough to render the spirit safe and gluten free. Drinkaware also have some interesting information on gluten free alcohol

Creating The Blend

We learnt so much from Paul about the history of Scotch Whiskey and the history of Chivas Regal, but eventually, it was time for us to have a go ourselves! We were provided with 5 small bottles of different Chivas Regals flavours to combine and blend to your preference – choose your favourite balance of Fruity, Floral, Creamy, Citrus and Smoky.

We used the floral as the base, and I personally blended it with a creamy and citrus flavour, with a tiny hint of smokiness! Once you’ve created your perfect blend, you get to take it home with you, after giving it the perfect name of course! Mine’s called “Sip Me Baby One More Time” (shamelessly stolen from Pinterest I’m afraid!) – I don’t think I’m one for drinking whiskey neat, so I’ll be enjoying it with ginger beer mixer! 

The finished blend!

Experience The Blend for yourself! 

Whether you’re a whiskey drinker or not, The Blend is a really interesting evening – our host was very knowledgeable and we all had a good laugh whilst learning loads! 

You can experience The Blend for yourself Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds and three venues across London. 

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