The recipe for success is a blend of many components. It doesn’t just take one thing to ensure success, and nobody knows this better than Chivas Regal. After all, the scotch brand is known for its blended whisky best. Chivas Regal recently took this one level up by setting up Chivas The Blend, a three-day pop-up dome at the Bukit Kiara Equestrian Club last October.
Chivas The Blend comprised exciting events that revolved around the world of blended scotch ranging from mixology to nightlight, football (thanks to its partnership with Manchester United Football Club) and gastronomy. We got to experience the Gastronomy+ event for ourselves, an enhanced fine-dining affair in collaboration with Beta KL’s head chef Raymond Tham.
No stranger to the Chivas Regal 18 whisky, Tham previously created a dish that paired beautifully with this complex blended scotch. This time around, he upped the ante by developing a 15-course canape menu designed to complement the Chivas Regal 18 whisky again, focusing on the 85 flavour notes in the spirit.
Not content with just fine food, the entire presentation of Gastronomy+ had also been given a theatrical setup. Tables with mood lighting danced with colours and animations with each dish that was presented – and at the finale, a musical performance to accompany our final dish of the tasting menu.
Gastronomy+ had five segments, each one highlighting the key flavour profile of the whisky: Citrus, Floral, Fruity, Smoky, and Creamy. The tasting started off with Citrus – marbled salmon filling the insides of a citrus fruit, topped with little bubbles of ‘caviar’ filled with Chivas Mizunara whisky. On top of the citrus fruit sat an edible crispy leaf, a symbolism that not everything is as it seems – be adventurous.
From Citrus, we segued to Floral, where we were presented with a trio of canapes. We started off with the winged beans and banana blossom small bite, a locally-inspired treat that packed a punch in both spice and flavour. But not to worry, because the following canape in Floral helped alleviate that – a single crispy prawn atop a light lavender espuma that balanced out the spice of the first dish. Floral was finished off with something sweet: compressed watermelon with an aromatic osmanthus cream.
Next, the dining theme transitioned to Fruity – also another iconic flavour profile of the Chivas Regal 18 whisky. On the plate was a medley of canapes representing this profile: foie gras torchon with vintage 2015 cranberries, duck rillettes croquette with prune compote, and apple jelly dressed in raisins soaked in Chivas XV whisky. On paper, none of these canapes sounded fruity. Yet, that particular character was brought out by accompanying elements in the dish, making a point that achieving something is always a blend of many things.
The Chivas Regal 18, although not a peated whisky, also has some smoky elements in its profile – thus leading us to the next dish of the same name. Smoky comprised a lamb loin with bak kut teh jus, spiced chicken with charcoal, and aubergine with smoked fermented black beans. Finally, desserts were given a Creamy rendition and look like a garden of treats. Tham presented a wooden log made of milk chocolate, lemon ‘snow’, and moss made of pickled cucumber.
True to what the brand preaches, success truly is a blend – it’s evident with this tasting menu that Tham put together for Gastronomy+ during Chivas The Blend.
(All images: Pernod Ricard Malaysia)