While a new lockdown looms over us, we still have to take out all the samples accumulated during last spring: fishing once again from our Blind Sessions, today we focus on two bottlings from the Pernod Ricard group. We start from the northernmost distillery in their portfolio, and offer you a review of Scapa Skiren, a NAS aged exclusively in ex-bourbon first-fill barrels. This is followed by one of the most famous blends on the market, Chivas Regal 18 years old. As always in the case of Blind Sessions, please remember that we drank it all blind, writing the tasting notes, assigning the grade and only then discovering what we had in the glass. Be indulgent.
Scapa Skiren (2019, OB, 40%)
N: very interesting! The nose seems to be divided between a hypermature and acidic tropicality (we would say: starfruit, star fruit – but also a dehydrated pineapple – even if a friend who drinks with us speaks explicitly of ‘axillary tropicality’) and a grandmother’s drawer that had contained something fragrant, years ago… Gummy candy, but also absolutely gummy (some people say ‘Superga nuove’). Kumquat, something argumato a bit strange. A little bit of licorice and vanilla, after a while.
P: remains quite consistent, certainly to a reduced degree, and has those tropical hints that remind us of certain Bowmore… Sweaty yellow apple, still a mix of fruit; a fresh, very herbaceous grain. Simple and fresh, quite pleasant even if not without imperfections…
F: short, fresh and pleasant, citrus scents (lemons).
It has the tension of citrus, but not the acidity. Very easy to drink. One of us voted Irish, some said Scapa knowing he was lying, others tried an evocative “Glenburgie gone bad”. And instead, it was the Skiren… 84/100. Without infamy and without praise, but no, well, a praise is deserved: it’s a devastatingly easy to drink…
Chivas 18 yo (2019, OB, 40%)
N: very elegant and fat, with juicy strawberries and cooked apples, caramel, carob. Only after tasting it comes a slightly sulphurous, dirty note, consistent with the panorama of the palate.
P: grill residue, burnt fat, some German salami a little spicy… Here the panorama changes, and it seems to look almost towards Campbeltown (some whisper… Glen Scotia?). Of course, first there is some coffee, some chocolate (or rather, cocoa powder); a slightly acidic sweetness, still carob-like. Peach and cooked fruit. The route is the opposite: you start from the sweetness, you go towards the chocolate and then the pig explodes….
F: long, pork fat, peppery. Caramelised apple. A trickle of smoke.
Surprising, very pleasant, honestly we would have said quite the opposite: blindly we did not recognise the fact that it was a blended. Really very good indeed, a confirmation of how Chivas always remains a very good drink – and by now, it is highly competitive in price compared to most single malts.. 84/100.
Recommended soundtrack: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Spinning Song.