“You’re here to taste the new Chivas Regal Extra,” explained regional VP of Chivas Regal, Peter Prentice, as a troupe of Cairo Gossip staff started to get comfortable at a special pre-launch event for Chivas’ first new expression since 2007 at Sofitel Cairo El Gezirah. It was an evening that set the scene for what transpired to be a spectacular Cairo launch; one that continued into the next night at the hotel’s bar and club, Le Duplex.
While it’s widely considered one of the most popular scotch whiskies in the world, you’d be forgiven for raising an eyebrow at the notion that it also enjoys the same popularity in Egypt. Historically, the Chivas name has been synonymous with an intangible sense of grandeur and has been one of the most iconic and distinct scotch whiskies. But as the modern Egyptian drinker has come to evolve and seek the finest things in life, Chivas Regal has come to take prime place at many bars and in many a liquor cabinets, as Prentice went on to explain.
“Chivas Regal has no trouble in marketing their 12 and 18 year bottles in this part of the world; in the land of great history, Egypt.”
And history is important to Chivas Regal; Prentice took us on a journey that started off in 1801 in Scotland, where the Chivas Brothers first plied their trade at a modest store selling coffee, spices, brandies and rums, and ended at the moment that Chivas Regal arrived on these shores. In between those points in time, Chivas Regal received a royal stamp of approval from Queen Victoria, championed by Frank Sinatra as his favourite whisky and, more recently, picked up several awards at the likes of the International Wine and Spirit Competition.
Chivas Regal’s love affair, so to speak, with Egypt is set to get even steamier, and Prentice is confident that Chivas Regal Extra will please local palates, thanks to its rich, generous blend and intricate, complex flavour profile – something that was immediately obvious on our very first sip.
Using some of the rarest malt whiskies in the Chivas inventory and matured in Oloroso cherry caskets, Chivas Regal Extra touches on a number of flavours, with chocolate, toffee, almonds, dark fruits, herbal honey, cinnamon, vanilla and spicy ginger just a few of the responses that Prentice received as he went around the exclusive group asking, “what did you get?”
The varied, and sometimes very different, answers confused the group, but brought a sly smile to Prentice’s face as he explained that, so rich is the Chivas Regal Extra blend, that different palates would pick up on different flavours. One thing that all the tasters agreed on was that it certainly was one of the most unique whiskies to have arrived in Egypt.
The hope for Chivas Regal Extra is that it introduces the celebrated Chivas family to a wider audience and, based on the tasting, it should have no problems, especially moving into the summer; whisky is not necessarily a spirit you’d associated with the hotter months, but this new blend presents drinkers with plenty of character and pizzazz.
“The Egyptian market is promising,’ Prentice announced. “We’re looking forward to the success of our newest addition to the family.”
By Kalam El Qahaira