I only recently discovered that Chivas had a pop up whisky blending event in Manchester (since February!), with events on selected weekends until the end of June.
Located on Quay Street, you go to a basement entrance to the old Walkabout Bar building. An elevator ride up to the 4th Floor and you’re in the Loft, an events space. It’s really nicely decorated, a mixture of industrial (bare walls) and luxe (Biba scatter cushions). There is a bar where you can buy cocktails, Chivas whiskies and other drinks.
We arrived at 7pm for our 7:30 session. When you check in, you get a welcome cocktail. I had some guidance from the very helpful South African bartender who suggested that I might like to try a Colony, which is quite like a sweeter old fashioned. MrKitty had a Chivas Sour, which was very refreshing on a warm evening
At 7:30 we were led into the blending room and seated at little tables. In front of us were the main ingredients for our blending
- ‘Floral’ .
A dram of Chivas 12 (for comparison) and the mixing equipment, and the 200ml bottle for us to fill with our product.
Scott our whisky ambassador talked us through why blended whisky is not necessarily a poor relation to single malts, the character of the ingredients and showed us how to taste and test the individual whiskies to get a feel for how we liked each one.
Then it was our turn to try blending these individual flavours into a whisky we liked, with Scott around to help us and offer guidance.
All too soon our session completed with a discussion about the history of the Chivas brand.
After that we could adjourn to the bar, where we could buy more cocktails or whiskies.
We tried two additional drams. Chivas Extra, which has a much stronger sherry cask than the standard Chivas 12. I quite liked it, though the casking meant it really had a strong ‘boozy’ christmas feel. MrKitty however, ticked off something from the Ian Buxton ‘101 Whiskies to try before you die’. Chivas 25. Wow, that is really something special. Floral, light sweet and fruity. A slight smoke and creaminess. Beautiful. Shame it’s over £200 a bottle.
I’ve always been a bit sniffy about blends, caused by Famous Grouse, but the premium blends can be a thing of beauty.
Run don’t walk to get to this event before it finishes