Tuesday, 2 December 2014

A little more sherry for Chivas Extra (Tasted #144)

The Chivas Regal blended scotch family is one that has been known for its intimate yet quality expressions. The introduction of this new expression (the first outside the travel retail market in almost 10 years), aptly named "Extra", hinted that there would perhaps be something more to this release.

The launch of the new Chivas Regal Extra was held at the equally elegant and intimate Eau de Vie Sydney, with the tasting held in the private "whisky locker" room behind the main bar area. Upon entering the bar, the first thing I noted was the distinctly unique Chivas Regal Extra bottle. Both the bottle and the box were emblazed with the famous royal-esque Chivas Regal crest and notably finished in the distinct colouring reserved for the Extra, red and gold.


As our host Colin Scott, the Chivas Regal Master Blender attested, this new expression is one of the richest and most discerning offerings presented. The secret of this particular blend (and most other blends for that matter) would never be disclosed though Colin did suggest a composition of somewhere between 30-50 different whiskies. Similar to other Chivas expressions, the dominant, cornerstone whisky used in the Extra is the full bodied, nutty single malt whisky from the Strathisla distillery. The new Extra expression has been tweaked with a considerable portion of Oloroso sherry cask-matured whiskies to give the blend its inherent richness and depth.


I had the pleasure of tasting the Extra the night before at The Barber Shop and what a pleasant dram it was. It was smooth (as you would normally expect from a well-blended whisky), deep and rich and quite a remarkable contrast to the lighter 12yo. Although not officially tagged with an age statement, the Extra has been pitched to sit comfortably between the 12yo and the 18yo. Colin explains that the "Extra" relates to the "Extra" latitude that the expression profoundly exhibits from the collection of fine and rare single malts that have predominantly been matured in sherry casks and added into the blend. Personally, I believe that Chivas Regal has hit the mark with the Extra and it was definitely my pick from the three expressions offered on the tasting board on the day - 12yo, Extra and 18yo.

 

The Extra also proved to be an effective base for a number of Extra-inspired and infused cocktails. Curated by Max Warner, Chivas Regal's Head Mixologist, we were presented with three different cocktails that incorporated the Extra. This particular spring-fitting, Rob Roy-inspired Sunset Boulevardier combined a touch of the Extra, Regal Rouge, Lillet rose, cherry liqueur, peach and orange bitters, and was simple, warming and quite delightful. 


So, with all that Extra talk, how did it really pan out on its own?

Chivas Regal Extra (40% ABV, NAS, Scotland, $54.95AUD / not yet available in HK)
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Colour: Dark toffee
Nose: Dates, sweet, fruit, honeydew, pear
Palate: Subtle, balanced warmth, pear, cinnamon, vanilla.
Finish: Medium.
Rating (on Hendy's very non-scientific scale): 90/100

- Hendy.

Ed (Martin): Despite missing out on the above launch (I was back in Sydney that week, but missed the event by one day!), I managed to taste the Extra thanks to a bottle kindly being sent to me by Pernod Ricard Australia. For comparison, here are my notes:

Colour: Deep, orange copper.
Nose: Rich, oranges, some cherries. Perfumed.
Palate: Spicy, drying (slightly tannic). Raspberry jam on toast. Some cinnamon. Rich in taste but initially a bit "thin" on the palate.
Finish: Medium to long, smooth, nutty with a hint of spice - paprika?
Rating (on Martin's very non-scientific scale): 90/100. Seems great minds think alike.

Cheers,
Martin.

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