The Art of Blending Whisky and why we love Single Malts too

Let’s start with the basics, if a bottle contains whiskies that all come from the same distillery, it is referred to as a Single Malt. Blended Scotch whisky on the other hand, balances the flavours of different single malts and grain whiskies that can come from different distilleries.

There are many attributes to the whisky making process that can impact the flavour of your dram. Maturation in oak casks is probably the most significant of these. Back in the day, our founding brothers James and John Chivas understood the importance of ageing whiskies and they kept casks of single malts in their grocery store cellar. Did you know that in order to legally be called a ‘Scotch’ the whisky must not only be made in Scotland but be aged for a minimum of 3 years in oak casks? For Chivas Regal 12, every drop of whisky in the bottle - both malts and grains – has been matured for a minimum of 12 years.

Traditionally Scotch whisky is matured in either American oak casks, giving a golden colour and creamy vanilla oak flavours, or European oak casks which used to contain sherry, and bring rich, fruity sweetness, with a red amber colour.

All across Scotland, each distillery produces a style of spirit which has its own unique character, influenced by the shape of their copper stills and the maturation in oak casks. It’s for this reason that we love Single Malts, each and every one of them adds something special to our Blend. Strathisla Single Malt, with its signature rich, floral and fruity notes, is at the heart of every bottle of Chivas Regal. Grain whiskies are valuable too, and are equally aged – their smoothness and creaminess provide the perfect canvas to unite the single malts.

If you think about it, all Scotch whiskies are made from only three natural ingredients: cereals, water and yeast - and yet your favourite dram might perhaps remind you of cosy winter days, with flavours of dried fruits, oranges or chocolate dancing on your palate. From a simple process and natural ingredients, develops a complexity of flavours and characters.

Our blenders, who do all their work on nose, must intimately know every single malt and grain whisky in our stocks: understanding their individual characters, how they will evolve over time in the cask, and how they will interact together to create magic in the blend - a result greater than the sum of its parts. James Chivas started experimenting with the art of blending in the 19th century, and found that he could create a much smoother and consistent spirit to cater for the palate of his growing clientele.

Chivas Regal today is sold in over 150 countries and maintaining consistency across our blends is our top priority. Our expert blending team ensures that each bottle tastes the same today as it did yesterday, and will do tomorrow. But that’s no simple task – what if one of the whiskies runs out, a distillery closes, or a dramatic weather change hits the warehouse? We have a whole team of experts who are in charge of this, overseen by our Master Blender Colin Scott. His experience and craft that he’s passed on to his team ensures that every single bottle has a smoothness and generosity of flavour that belongs to Chivas. And only Chivas. Wherever in the world it’s enjoyed.

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