30 minutes work and that’s the finest Cut The Cap could come up with; we’d just blended our own scotch whisky thanks to Phil Huckle’s advice and inspiration down at Gaucho Broadgate for their ‘Art of Blending’ tasting event.
A little word play and a nod back to Scotland’s glory years was nothing compared to the taste of our first attempt at blending; 140ml of grain whisky combined with four 12-year single malts: islay, highlands, lowlands and speyside. Tasting each malt individually, Phil Huckle of Chivas Regal UK walked us through the characteristics of each scotch whisky.
The Islay malt (think: Laphroaig) packed the largest punch: smoky, with a heavy peat flavour. Just a small addition makes a big difference. Phil tells us: “You’re looking to balance the smoothness of the grain with the flavour of the single malts”
The Speyside (think: Glenlivet) added a richness and sweetness to our blend, whereas the Lowland (think: Auchentoashan) provided a lighter feel to the blend.
Last, but not least we tasted and added the Highland malt: aromas of malt and dried fruit came through and added a malt edge to our blend.
All combined, Cut the Cap and fellow connoisseurs made a bottle worth savouring, getting the nod of approval from Phil himself.
In addition to the blending (“You won’t need a chemistry PHD for all of this!”), Phil walked us through the history of scotch whisky and the sheer size of the market that still exists – “We have a global shortage, we simply can’t produce enough right now”.
Gaucho & Chivas also laid on a tasting of their lighthouse products: the Chivas Regal 12-year premium blend as well as the finer 18-year blend. There’s a lot going on: spicy, fruity yet still incredibly smooth – we strongly recommend the 18-year as a premium choice.
The venue seemed fitting – the familiar cowhide of Gaucho’s restaurant adorned not only the chairs but also the walls. They stock Chivas Regal and even sell by the bottle. Any readers who enjoy a steak and scotch combo this is simply a must.
But one thing was missing – what about the cigars? “I wouldn’t advise pairing your cigar with an Islay Malt of anything too smoky” Phil advises, “take a lighter scotch whisky that will complement the cigar nicely”. Good advice for any cigar aficionado.
With Burn’s night just around the corner, this was the perfect way to wind down January and get in touch with Scottish roots…