What is it? The latest member of the Chivas family is their most transparent release to date. It’s made with single malts from five Speyside distilleries – Longmorn, Strathisla, Allt A’Bhainne, Braeval and Tormore – as a tribute to the five men to hold the title of Chivas master blender – Charles Howard, Charles Julian, Allan Baillie, Jimmy Lang and Colin Scott – and balancing the characteristics of each whisky is by no means easy.
How does it taste? On initial evaluation one is greeted with thick cut Seville orange and apricot marmalade with additional citrus zest on the top note on the nose. Dusty pine nuts, fudge, honey, toffee, milk chocolate and vanilla also follow through. This has substantial weight and depth which I suspect is driven more from the old stocks of Strathisla and Longmorn. A distinct nuttiness continues on the palate along with fresh apricot, creamy vanilla and marmalade leading to a chocolate covered hazelnut and vanilla finish. Subtle European oak can be detected but by and large this is American oak matured, with layers of flavours and identifiable input from the five distilleries – the heavily malted Strathisla, the soft fruitiness from Longmorn, lightly dressed citrus from Tormore and spice from Allt A’Bhainne – to create a complex masterpiece and a tour around Speyside.