People often say Scotch whisky “puts hair on your chest.” But honestly, if you drink the right brand it goes down easier than a beer in an Irish chugging contest. I’m talking about Chivas and Glenlivet. If you haven’t tried them yet, shame on you. But don’t fret; I was also a newbie up until recently. I’m going to share with you a little bit about the history behind each brand and why they should be your next choice at the liquor store.
WB Liquors, located next to Costco off of the North Dallas Tollway in Plano, opened its doors to a scotch tasting. I’m not mad about it either. Yes, I’ve been a whiskey drinker for years, but Scotch and anything that has to do with that word has made me want to run out the door in fear of…well, I’m not sure really. But it always seemed like an intimidating liquor choice. So, when I found out I would be taste testing Scotch whisky the nerves hit.
History. What a beautiful thing, especially when it involves alcohol. Did you know that a “blend” indicates liquor from one distillery and liquor from another are mixed together? The two or more distilleries are key to the creation of a blend. I learned this and more from Craig Vaught, Master of Scotch from Pernod Ricard USA.
Chivas traces back to 1801 when the Chivas Brothers established a grocery store that offered the highest quality malt whiskies. Chivas Regal 25-Year-Old launched in 1909, was shipped to New York socialites and quickly became a famous brand. After the impact of the Prohibition, in 1938, Chivas Regal came back as a 12-year-old Scotch whisky, and the Chivas brand took off.
In 1824 everyone’s world turned for the better when liquor was legally produced. Twelve permits were given and this really cool man named George Smith got permit #9. Smith was a local farmer in the parish of Glenlivet and began to produce the style of whiskey which became the heartland of Scotch malt whisky production.
At the tasting, I tried three types of Chivas: Chivas, Chivas 18 and Chivas Regal 25-Year-Old; and three types of Glenlivet: the 12-Year-Old, the 15-Year-Old and the 25-Year-Old. The best of Chivas, in my opinion, was Chivas 18 which is a uniquely rich and multi-layered whiskey with a French oak flavor. As for Glenlivet, my favorite was the 15-Year-Old that held a dry, spicy, oak flavor.
Vaught suggests everyone, “Take a bite of dark chocolate salted caramel after a taste of Chivas 18.” Perhaps this is why Chivas 18 was at the top of my list. He also adds that “Americans love single malts, but most around the world, especially Europeans, love blends.” I think the Europeans are onto something–go out and try more blends. There won’t be any disappointment.
I also learned something new that is important for all who purchase liquor. Candy Lewis and Ken Castillo, Store Manager and Assistant Manager of WB Liquors, respectively, informed me that liquor prices can fluctuate from day-to-day, but not at their store, which you don’t have to be a member of Costco to enter. WB Liquors offers “consistent pricing year-round,” according to Lewis. Their prices aren’t the only great thing there. Castillo mentioned, “Our number one priority is customer service,” which is obvious from the knowledge and passion that they reveal when speaking about what they offer.
I’m sure you’re thirsty now. So, go grab yourself a bottle of Chivas or Glenlivet…whichever your poison. Throw some ice in a glass, pour, sip and savor!
Special thanks to Republic National Distributing Company for supplying the liquor for the tasting.