Food & Drink

The whisky revolution: Teaching Manchester how to drink, one dram at a time

While the Irish may lay claim to having invented whisky, it was the Scots who made it famous.

The first written mention of whisky in 1494 refers to it as ‘aquavitae’, literally the water of life, and in 500 years the drink has evolved into a worldwide phenomenon, breathing life into economies in Scotland and far further afield.

England is, despite its proximity to the source, a relatively abstemious consumer of whisky compared to other parts of the world, as the US and the Far East dominate the sales charts of the world’s biggest exporters.

ON THE ROCKS: Whisky comes in a variety of forms from many regions

One of those companies, whose business is now worth nearly £5billion to the UK economy, is Chivas Regal, who, having sold scotch whisky to the world, are now trying to crack a whole new market: Manchester.

I think that most people who tell you ‘I don’t like whisky’ are either lying or haven’t tried enough of it.

There’s so much variety within whisky, from the invasively peaty malts distilled on the island of Islay to the darker, almost fruity whiskies from the lowlands.

THE BIG BLEND: MM dabbled in the art of whisky blending

At a Chivas Art of Blending evening, you have the advantage not only of being able to sample malts from every distinctly unique region while being guided by an experienced hand, but you also get the chance to blend your very own whisky, before comparing it to the real thing, a Chivas 12-year-old.

The real pleasure is learning to fully appreciate the heritage and history of a whisky, and the years of craftsmanship that have gone into what you find yourself sipping.

Creating your own is no mean feat.

The best blends will feature a strong base of whisky made from grains, typically smoother and more drinkable, combined with strong but not overpowering notes of malt whisky from the Lowlands, Highlands, Speyside, and Islay.

NO MEAN FEAT: There’s a real science to whisky blending that doesn’t involve drinking all the ingredients

MM’s two own blends, innovatively named Mancsky and #selfie, may not have scored well with the experts, but they certainly went down well with us.

They are unfortunately, not on sale anywhere in the world. Probably for the best.

However, you can make your own at one of the Chivas Art of Blending evenings from May 26-29 at Gorilla Bar, kicking off at 6:30pm.

Tickets are only £10, which includes tasting as much whisky as you need to, and a 250ml bottle of your own blend to take home for those dark winter evenings.

To get your tickets click here

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