Chivas explores additional cask maturation with the Chivas Extra 13 collection; Chivas Extra 13 Oloroso Sherry Cask and American Rye Cask to be available in Singapore.

For the longest time, blended whisky was about delivering consistency. That is, year in and year out, your Johnnie Walker, Chivas, or Dewars should taste exactly the same every time you drink it. For this reason, some hardcore whisky aficionados can consider blended whisky boring.

But things are beginning to change. In recent years blended whisky brands have taken a leaf from the single malt whisky playbook and moving away from just age statements to create new expressions.

For example, blended Scotch whisky brand Chivas recently unveiled Chivas Extra 13, a collection of four whiskies that explore the idea of cask finishing using different cask types. The idea was simple: take its signature (and very popular) Chivas Regal 12 Years Old, and stick it into different oak casks that previously held a different spirit (or wine) for up to a year (hence, Extra 13). The result was four different expressions – the Chivas Extra 13 Oloroso Sherry Cask, the Chivas Extra 13 Rum Cask, the Chivas Extra 13 American Rye Cask, and the Chivas Extra 13 Tequila Cask.

As you can imagine, each of the different additional cask finishes impart their own unique combination of flavour characteristics to the signature Chivas house style.

The Extra 13 Oloroso Sherry Cask is the least unusual; casks that once held Oloroso sherry are widely used in the whisky industry. Here the additional maturation adds a richer, more robust texture, bringing flavours reminiscent of boiled sweets and figs poached in syrup to the mix.

Rum cask finishes are also getting increasingly popular, as master blenders and distillers get their hands on more used rum casks thanks to a recent rum boom. Here the Extra 13 Rum Cask supposedly garners a rich sweetness from the rum cask, delivering flavours of juicy ripe citrus, apricot jam, and undertones of sweet baking spices.

And while the use of bourbon casks is incredibly common in the Scotch whisky industry, casks of its American rye whiskey cousin is decidedly less so. The Extra 13 American Rye Cask obtains rye whiskey’s characteristic peppery spiciness and a vanilla sweetness from the additional maturation. The last time we saw something similar in blended whisky was the Johnnie Walker Blender’s Batch Red Rye Finish, launched back in 2017.

Finally there’s the Extra 13 Tequila Cask, possibly the collection’s most interesting expression as tequila cask-aged whiskies are few and far between. According to Chivas, this selective cask finish delivers a sweet and round finish, with hints of grapefruit and pineapple.

Each of the expressions in the collection features artwork by renowned street artist Greg Gossel, in a very different approach to pack design with contemporary designs that celebrates each finishing cask’s heritage. For example, the American Rye Cask features a design that blends American and Scottish history with elements of the Prohibition period. The stars, stripes, and colours of blue, red and white is a hat-tip to the US.

“The Extra 13 collection represents new territory for Chivas as we continue to open up the world of Scotch whisky to new audiences and fresh experiences. At Chivas we believe that blended is better – and nowhere is this more evident than with our new collection, which blends exceptional Scotch with a diverse, internationally-inspired palette of flavours,” shared Sandy Hyslop, Director of Blending at Chivas.

The Oloroso Sherry and American Rye Cask will be available globally in domestic markets, while the Tequila Cask will be available exclusively in Mexico before launching to other domestic markets later this year. The Rum Cask will only be available via travel retail outlets.

In Singapore, the Oloroso Sherry and American Rye Cask will be available from 13 January 2021 from Pernod Ricard’s Official Shopee Store at S$84. In addition, to celebrate the launch of this collection, 13 cocktail bars across Singapore will be creating exclusive cocktails using these additional cask matured blended whiskies over a period of 13 weeks. Participating bars include Smoke & Mirrors, Ah Sam Cold Drink Stall, No Sleep Club, and Miss Fitz, among others.

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