Neat. On the rocks. Shaken. Stirred. Which one is the proper way to drink a nice glass of whisky?
Answer: neat. For the liquor connoisseur, this comes as no surprise. But for the layperson, it’s often enough to mix the over-a-decade-old whisky with a tall glass of Coke. Besides the most finicky of drinkers, it isn’t that much of a big deal, but it always pays to know the proper way to drink liquor, if only for the snooty bragging rights. And the way to do it for Scotch whisky is neat. You might want to add pure water, too.
“Water?” I can almost hear you say it. Yes, one way to drink 18-year-old whisky is by mixing equal parts of the liquor and pure, room-temperature water. You might be wondering how credible I am. Last time I checked, I’m not a Scot or a liquor connoisseur. But last November 25, I was invited to take part in Chivas Regal’s mentoring and whisky tasting program at the Sage Restaurant in Shangri-La Hotel, Makati. The event was also to celebrate the award-winning Chivas Regal 18 blend.
Darren Hosie, the international brand ambassador in Asia-Pacific for Chivas Brothers, showcased the various malts and grains that mixed to form the award-winning blend: Islay, Grain, and Strathisla. He came straight from Scotland to show us how to drink a good glass of whisky.
No good whisky tasting session is without an introduction on how to drink the stuff. First off, pour an adequate amount into a whisky glass, preferably a tumbler. Sniff. (Go in nose-deep. Don’t just smell the aroma wafting around the glass.) Sip a bit. You’ll feel the hearty warmth trickling down from your throat to your chest. You would be focusing more on the sensation, rather than the flavor, understandably. Enjoying the flavor is when the water comes in. Putting in an equal amount of water releases the flavor of the whisky, making it stand out more. Don’t put in cold ice, as it locks in the flavor until the ice melts and returns to room temperature. Sip and enjoy the flavor.
On that particular whisky tasting session, we were treated to the three flavors that make up the Chivas Regal 18. These three are not available anywhere else. They are only presented during these sessions. We had the opportunity. Here’s what we tasted.
The Islay was the first whisky on the list. It had a smoky texture to it, almost like varnish. The sensation was apparent. Among the three, the Islay had the fieriest caress. You can feel the warmth gliding down from your tongue to your heart. The Grain was a smoother blend. It was very sweet. We could even taste candy as it went down easier and smoother. Finally, the Strathisla had a nutty quality to it. It was strong and robust, but it didn’t leave the throat burning.
Mixing all these blends produced the award-winning Chivas Regal 18. The top whisky had a strong dark chocolate taste. It was smoky, yet very smooth on the throat, as you would get from blending Islay with the Grain blend. This wasn’t just aged a few years older than the rest. Sure, it was aged 18 years, but in sherry casks, which adds the pleasant flavor that defines the Chivas Regal 18 and its various international awards.
At the prestigious International Wine and Spirits Competition awards in London, the Chivas Regal 18 took home the Blended Scotch Whisky Trophy. To celebrate this triumph, Chivas Brothers is rolling out a campaign for the modern gentleman with the tagline, “generosity in every drop.” This campaign which will pay tribute to Chivas Regal’s 85 unique flavors will run until October of next year. Events will include mentoring and whisky tasting program, like the one above.