Chivas Regal Extra with Colin Scott, Master Blender

Colin Scott, Chivas Bros Master Blender visited Sydney on his Australian tour to launch Chivas Regal Extra, the first Chivas expression released since 2007.

Chivas Regal Extra with Colin Scott
Colin Scott, Chivas Master Blender

The immersion session was presented by Colin Scott and Laura Hay, Chivas Brothers, Scotch Whisky Ambassador for Pernod Ricard Australia at Sydney’s Eau de Vie bar in Darlinghurst.

Guests were welcomed with a bespoke selection of whisky cocktails and canapés created to highlight the character of Chivas Extra.

Chivas Regal Extra with Colin Scott
L-R: Gentleman’s Agreement, Silver Fox Fizz, Sunset Boulevardier

The cocktails were created by Chivas Bros Global Ambassador, Max Warner and featured the new Chivas Extra. The Silver Fox Fizz was a take on the Fizz, a refreshing mix of Chivas Extra, lime juice, sugar, kummel, egg white and soda. Gentleman’s Agreement added a smoky flavour with Mezcal, Regal Rogue Vermouth Bianco (featured in our top 10 Australian craft spirits), Suze, ginger ale and peach liqueur. The Sunset Boulevardier was a delicious adaptation of the classic Rob Roy with Chivas Extra, Regal Rogue Rosso, Lillet Rosé, cherry liqueur with peach and orange bitters.

Chivas Regal Extra with Colin Scott
Oysters on Half Shell

A special canapé menu was created by chef Ryan Moulton which included oysters on the half shell with manzanillo mignonette, Atlantic salmon gravlax with preserved lemon, Thirlmere duck liver parfait, blue cheese & bacon gougeres, Kangaroo meat sliders and to finish, dark chocolate mousse infused with Chivas Extra.

Chivas Regal Extra with Colin Scott
Colin Scott at Eau de Vie Bar

The tasting began with a brief history of Chivas which was started by brothers James and John Chivas in Aberdeen back in the 1840’s. In 1909, the first Chivas Regal was introduced, a 25 YO expression aimed at the American market which came to an early demise due to the Prohibition. In 1938, Chivas introduced the 12YO expression back into America and hence forth the brand went global in 1949.

Chivas 12 YO became a “global icon” as termed by Colin Scott. Chivas 12 YO’s style of smoothness and richness highlights the harmony of complex flavours. The blend consists of Speyside malts which give smoothness and gentleness along with Highland malts that give it fruitiness and spice as well as whiskies from the islands with pungent smokiness. But it is the art of blending that hides the smokiness and gives it a harmony of flavours.

The tasting featured Chivas 12 YO, Chivas Extra and Chivas 18 YO which enabled a comparison of the three in succession.

Chivas Regal Extra with Colin Scott
Chivas 12 YO, Extra, 18 YO

Chivas 12 YO, the flagship blend, displays honey sweetness and fruitiness with fresh flavour of apples and pears, floral heathery notes and a hint of nuttiness which makes for easy drinking at any time of the day.

Chivas Regal Extra with Colin Scott
Laura Hay Demonstrating the “Legs” on Chivas Extra

Chivas Extra which we reviewed with tasting notes earlier last month – was created as a tribute to James and John Chivas, and the early years of blending where blenders didn’t work to an age statement, nudging the boundaries the defy age statements. The whisky aged in ex Bourbon barrels, hogs heads and sherry butts with a higher proportion of sherry casks which give it spiciness, cinnamon and nuttiness while maintaining vibrancy.

Chivas Regal Extra with Colin Scott
Chivas Extra

Colin Scott likened Chivas Extra to a cake where aged malts go into the smooth icing, and sherry casks are like cherries on top. “When you take a slice of the cake, you get the smooth icing then the richness of the cherry, that’s the Chivas Extra”.

Chivas Regal Extra with Colin Scott
Chivas Extra Tasting

Chivas 18 YO was a return to the house style in 1997 made from predominantly Speyside malts from Strathisla, the cornerstone of all Chivas blends, with a full bodied, rich, fruity and nutty profile with a hint of smoke. Dries fruits, raisins, dark chocolate and buttery toffee go into giving the dram a long and warming finish.

Chivas Regal Extra with Colin Scott
Chivas 18 YO

Comparative summary:

Chivas 12 YO – fruitiness, freshness, fresh pears, honey sweetness, floral and heathery notes, smooth
Chivas Extra – viscous on palate, balance of fruitiness and floral notes with spice, predominately cinnamon with sherry notes and heat
Chivas 18 YO – rich and complex, dried fruit, raisins, dark chocolate, orange, long warming finish

Chivas Regal Extra with Colin Scott
L-R: Jamie Terrell, Colin Scott, Ben Davidson, Laura Hay

The work of a master blender may include roaming around the globe, regaling audiences with the story of Chivas but the art of blending is what is at heart. A team of seven blenders ensures consistency referencing samples from as far back as ten years. The blends have to be consistent and not “close enough” because by doing “close enough” five years in a row, you end up a mile away. Put simply and succinctly by Colin Scott, “We’re guardians of the quality and the consistency.

The tasting session with Colin Scott was held on Thursday 9 October 2014 at Eau de Vie Bar in Darlinghurst.

Photography © by Kevin Burke for Gourmantic – Copyright: All rights reserved.

About the author

Corinne Mossati

Corinne Mossati is a drinks writer, author of GROW YOUR OWN COCKTAIL GARDEN, SHRUBS & BOTANICAL SODAS and founder/editor of Gourmantic, Cocktails & Bars and The Gourmantic Garden. She has been writing extensively about spirits, cocktails, bars and cocktail gardening in more recent years. She is a spirits and cocktail competition judge, Icons of Whisky Australia nominee, contributor to Diageo Bar Academy, cocktail developer and is named in Australian Bartender Magazine's Top 100 Most Influential List. Her cocktail garden was featured on ABC TV’s Gardening Australia and has won several awards. She is a contributor to Real World Gardener radio program and is featured in several publications including Pip Magazine, Organic Gardener, Australian Bartender and Breathe (UK). Read the full bio here.