I’ve always been fascinated by the way a taster demystifies a drink – the color, the aroma, the notes, the taste, etc. Drinking is one thing, learning to appreciate a drink is another. When our group of CBC friends heard about the Chivas Tasting session & Dinner being organized by The Westin, Chennai, at their rooftop restaurant Sunset Grill, we immediately decided to go. Even if we would leave aside the enthusiasm for Chivas for a minute, the price of INR 2000, all inclusive, was an absolute steal for what was offered – tasting of Chivas 12, XV, 18 and 25 and an elaborate spread for dinner! What more could one ask for at that price!
The event was supposed to start at 19:00 hrs, our group of friends reached around that time. Apparently, there was some slight delay, but we had a quick look at the different food stations, different blends on display, clicked a few pictures and settled down on a spacious table good enough for ten of us. A few of our friends were on their way.
Meanwhile, we were served a cocktail, didn’t quite get the name rite, perhaps it was Skewers Collins, but was mild and refreshing. Looked like it was a deliberate attempt to mildly intimate the liver as to what was going to follow. 🙂 Slowly short bites were served. The waiters came over to each table with different starters and you could take a piece of it using the toothpick. We started with a plate of dry fruits, cheese and grapes. Fish fingers, Chicken Tikka, Tomato Tartar Kalamata Olives Ciabatta, Paneer Tikka, Fried Momos, Chicken Liver Patte, Brushetta with asparagus, Sun-dried Tomato Arrancini Balls, Smoked Salmon, and a few more. I tasted quite a few of them and they were wonderfully tasty! Tried Chicken Liver for the first time, it was a struggle. I’ll remember to stay away from it the next time. 🙂 Paneer was amazingly soft and flavorsome.
By this time Mr. Declan McCrossan, the brand ambassador of Chivas, kicked off with the tasting session with a brief introduction. We headed to the Chivas 12 station and he briefly explained what nosing a drink was, what Angel’s Tears meant, how a drink must be tasted. He elaborated on the ‘swirl-smell-sip-swallow’ process and what one could expect out of Chivas 12. I’ll not be elaborating on the notes for each blend. We paired this with fruits, dry fruits, nuts, and cheese and it was lovely. We did have a few pours of this, I liked it better when diluted with chilled water. The flavors were more prominent, needless to say, easier to sip too.
Similarly a short tasting of Chivas XV followed. I loved the Burmese Khowsuey that was served as a pairing to this drink, it was more like make-your-own-dish from the food station. Loved the neatly arranged ingredients that were meant to go into the soup.
What was initially meant to be ONE pour of Chivas XV, 18 and 25 didn’t seem to be a limitation anymore. We had two drinks of 15. In fact, they served more if you wanted and that was super awesome!
Chivas 18 was clearly a class apart, it tasted better than the 12. Not sure if it was because unanimously all of them around agreed that it did ! 🙂 Along with this, I tried Burnt Garlic Fried Rice, a couple of variants of momos – Chicken Siu mai, Celery and water chestnut, and another couple of them. Loved the accompaniment to the momos, the chilly infused oil. Meanwhile we were served a coffee-based cocktail and were relishing the food with Chivas 18.
Finally, the showstopper of the evening – Chivas 25 ! Oh my ! The bottle did look classy with the outer box. This drink got people quite excited. Food pairing was quite interesting -Two types of flattened breads called Baquarkhani and Sheermal. The former with Nalli Nihari and latter with Haleem. I liked it. There was also Dum ka Paneer which was wonderful with these breads.
Moved on to a rather elaborate section of desserts. Tasted almost all of them – Callebaut Dome was the most eye-catchy of them all, Whisky sauce Tiramisu, Red Velvet Pastry and Churros with blueberry compote. Without exaggeration, we were so stuffed that another drop of whisky was just impossible to have. We took it slowly, gave it some time, chatted away and had another pour of Chivas 25. 🙂
Finished it with some group photos and a chat with Mr. Declan McCrossan. Special mention to the staff of The Westin, who were very courteous and made sure that we had all that we needed, at all times. An absolutely awesome evening, wonderful blends of Chivas, almost unlimited pours, amazing company, I guess we couldn’t have asked for anything better! Thank you Chivas and The Westin 🙂
I’ll end with saying what’s most important – Drink Responsibly !