We got the exclusive invite to Chivas Regal Extra's launch, the new family addition to the award-winning premium blended Scotch blends.
Night’s slowly dropping down over a peach-coloured Nile in this early summer evening at Sofitel Cairo El Gezirah as we gear up to take a first sip of the newly launched Chivas Regal Extra. Entering the courtyard facing the mythic river, we spot Peter Prentice, a Scottish exemplary of chivalry and charm, and brand ambassador of this trademark label that’s become a synonym of whisky.
With a rocketing ability to grip us with his storytelling, Prentice teleports us back to the 19th century, when brothers James and John Chivas pioneered the art of blending in a context that saw the Highlands and Lowlands of ghostly old Scotland battling against each other for the finest blend against the backdrop of an outlawed national trade.
But as we approach this fine man after his speech, the storyteller reveals himself to be a holder of countless secrets, a talented Elephant Polo player and “a member of Keepers of the Quaich,” he says. We are left speechless. This intriguing group, a Scottish exclusive - almost secret - society named after the two-handled cup that is Scotland's traditional drinking vessel, is filled with traditions that we only thought existed in Medieval fairy tales. Picture Scottish quilts, royal banquets, and a grey-stone castle perched on the top of a hill: that’s where our imaginations went.
Composed by a select group of men who gather twice a year in a banquet ceremony infused with folklore at “the spiritual home of the Keepers” in Perthshire, Blair Castle, the society is composed of patrons who hold achievements in spreading the word about this national heritage that is Scotch Whisky. Prentice did it himself in Asia, where he played a pivotal role in introducing the award-winning house style to the Chinese market.
No sooner has Prentice finished his speech than we find ourselves wrapped around a tantalising whirl of smoke that hints a sweet almond scent followed by toffee, cinnamon, and a note of ripe pears and melon. We've been taken over by these fruity, sweet scents that blur both our scent and sight. The sensorial experience, a carefully crafted intervention that has stopped us on the dance floor, is shattering all of our five senses as Harfoush teleports us to France with his dazzling sounds. Talkers are talking, dancers are dancing, and a profusion of gentlemen fills the bar in request of their Chivas ‘on the rocks’.
The first new expression since 2007, this ‘Extra’ version was developed by Colin Scott, a master blender who has elevated his expertise in crafting unique and outstanding blends to another level, taking the popular Chivas Regal 12 one step higher.
What makes this blend so special? Sherry casks, which hail all the way from the Oloroso bodegas in Spain and are used to mature this fine blend distilled at the heart of Strathisla, the oldest and most picturesque distillery in the Highlands of Scotland. Sipping a glass on the rocks, the spiciness of cinnamon and nuttiness of almonds blends with the fruity scents of pears in syrup. We are hooked.