[Best Whisky in Cyprus]
A GUIDE TO THE BEST WHISKY IN CYPRUS
– BY CHIVAS REGAL –
- CHIVAS REGAL MASTERCLASS & WHISKY DINNER
- MEET PARAS SEHMAR, MENA BRAND AMBASSADOR, CHIVAS REGAL
- HISTORY OF CHIVAS REGAL WHISKY
- CHIVAS REGAL AWARDED TITLE OF ‘SCOTCH WHISKY OF 2020’
- OTHER RECOMMENDED WHISKIES BY CHIVAS REGAL
- COMPETITION – WIN A BOTTLE OF CHIVAS REGAL 18 FOR CHRISTMAS
At Cyprus in Style Magazine, we were delighted to have been invited, earlier this year, by the Chivas Regal Brand Ambassador for the Middle East and North Africa, Paras Sehmar, to promote their Chivas Regal whiskies to all lovers of the brand across Cyprus. In this article, we cover some of the history behind the Chivas brand, recall the plans for the forthcoming Chivas Regal Masterclass and Gastronomic Whisky Dinner, in 2021, and introduce you to the Chivas Regal Brand Ambassador himself, Paras Sehmar. Due to travel restrictions, he has been marooned in Cyprus for the last few months. Normally, he would be travelling across North Africa and the Middle East from his home base in Cyprus, but due to Covid-19, his travels have been severely restricted.
CHIVAS REGAL MASTERCLASS & WHISKY-PAIRING DINNER
The first part of our collaboration involved the launch of an Exclusive Chivas Regal Masterclass, where selected guests would taste the product range and learn about the history of the brand, and Scotch Whisky. Following the Chivas Masterclass, we had planned for a Gastronomic Whisky Dinner at the five-star Annabelle Hotel in Paphos, where a larger audience would be welcomed to enjoy some of the finest whisky paired with a gourmet menu. Sadly, like so many events, this has been postponed until early 2021.
SELECTING THE RIGHT WHISKIES
During a meeting, at the Annabelle Hotel, where we all met to discuss the Chivas Regal Whisky Dinner, Paras proposed a selection of Chivas labels: Mizunara, Chivas Regal Ultis, and the luxurious Chivas Regal 25.
The whisky tasting took place with Razvan Bordea, the General Manager, Laurent Brun, the Head Chef, and Brand Ambassador, Paras Sehmar. None of us had any problem tasting some of the best whisky available in Cyprus! The idea was to get together, taste the whiskies, and pair them with a gastronomic menu of the highest level. By pairing the whiskies, we were able to look at the distinctive characteristics of each one and match them to the right dish.
The first whisky we tried was Mizunara, a whisky which has been developed over the last couple of years. With Japanese whisky coming to the fore all over the world, Chivas Regal sent their former Master Blender, Colin Scott, to Japan. He was very impressed with the whisky which is aged in casks made of the Mizunara tree, a tree that is native to Japan. According to him, it added spicy notes to whisky, which is how the Mizunara in the Chivas Regal range was born. We all loved this whisky, and agreed it could be perfectly matched with something smoky. It had flavours of peaches, honey, red apples, hazelnuts and pears, all with a hint of spiciness. It was light, mellow and not harsh to the taste. We went on to try Chivas Regal Ultis and the luxurious Chivas Regal 25. All the whiskies were exceptional, but we decided that the Chivas Regal 25 had a profound intensity.
PERFECTING THE WHISKY & FOOD PAIRINGS FOR THE MENU
Together with the expert advice of Paras and Chef Laurent, the whiskies were matched to a menu, which included Home Smoked Red Tuna to start, followed by Caramelised Black Cod with infused honey, slow-cooked Beef Cheeks with Roasted Maize Polenta, and a dessert of Valrhona Dark Chocolate Bomb, with a crunchy praline and orange reduction.
The event was planned to the finest detail, but then Covid-19 developed further, the numbers started going up, and all parties agreed, it would be better to postpone until early 2021. In the meantime, we wanted to let you know the plans, and find out more about Paras and his life as a MENA Brand Ambassador for Chivas Regal.
Limited Availability – To secure your space at the Gastronomic Whisky Dinner in 2021, or to find out more about it, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
BRAND AMBASSADOR FOR CHIVAS REGAL IN THE MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA.
How are you enjoying your time in Cyprus? What have you become most fond of?
Cyprus, for me, has been a considerable change of pace. Having lived in the UK and moved from a small island to an even smaller island, I experienced a stark change. But, during my time here, Cyprus has attained a very special place in my heart. I love the people, the culture and the landscape. A specific and unexpected highlight of ‘Cyprus Life’, is that I have become an halloumi pie fanatic! However, I’m not sure how well it pairs with whisky!
What does your job involve? Have you always been a whisky lover?
The role of a Chivas Regal MENA Brand Ambassador requires a keen taste for whisky, and a passion for expanding the brand in any shape or form, which may present itself, and, of course, a willingness to travel frequently, something which, until recently, I was doing!
I was brought up in a family of Indian heritage and whisky lovers. My father had a great reverence for Chivas as it was, and still is, a symbolic and aspirational luxury spirit, not only in India but globally. Therefore, I was always intrigued by the whisky industry. When the opportunity arose to develop and grow the brand in a region I had not visited before, I leapt at the chance.
Please tell us about your training in Scotland.
Other newly-appointed Brand Ambassadors and I conducted a month-long training in Scotland, travelling around Speyside, learning the craft of whisky production from the Master Blenders, Master Distillers, and the day-to-day staff, who ensure the flawless quality of the well-renowned Chivas Brothers. It was a magical experience, absorbing all of the knowledge from these figures, who have devoted their working lives to extending the boundaries of Scottish Whisky, all whilst retaining its premium quality and consistency.
There is just something special about the Scottish Highlands, which makes it such a magical place. I am always eager to head back there whenever I get the opportunity.
Where do you usually travel to with your job to promote whisky?
As a regional ambassador, I am responsible for six markets across the Middle East and North Africa: Cyprus, Israel, Malta, Lebanon, Egypt and Jordan.
What is the best part of your job as a Chivas Regal ambassador?
Honestly, it is the people I meet through work. I encounter daily such exciting and fascinating people with extraordinary stories. I believe working with Chivas Regal, as a brand, we endeavour to create convivial moments when people consume our whisky, and being part of these moments is always special for me.
How do you drink your whisky?
I can drink my whisky with a few drops of water, perhaps when I’m cooking, in a nice highball, when the Cypriot summer is in full swing, and in a nice cocktail when I am with friends. The most important way to consume whisky is, responsibly.
What is your favourite whisky cocktail?
This is a very tough question. I would say my favourite whisky cocktail is an old-fashioned one: a double measure of Chivas 18, a brown sugar cube, a dash of bitters and a good stir with ice is the key to my heart!
What are your plans for promoting whisky once the restrictions have been lifted?
As soon as I can travel safely, I am looking forward to visiting my markets and heading back into the field and executing physical events with consumers and bartenders.
Can you explain the workings of a whisky dinner?
A dinner paired with whisky is, in theory, simple, but the execution must be close to perfect. In essence, we are looking to pair the characteristics of a whisky with the combined flavours of the accompanying dish. It is a delicate balance of complementing the flavours together, but ensuring that none of the components overpower the others. This is where the chef carefully and delicately crafts the menu, to make both the whisky and food shine together.
In the Chivas Regal whisky range, which is your personal favourite?
For me, whisky is situational. I may have a whisky which suits a specific moment very well, say, if I am with friends in a lively bar. On this occasion, it would be a Chivas XV as the light, and velvety texture of the whisky complements the situation. Whereas, the Chivas 25 is a very rich and indulgent whisky, which I would enjoy at the end of a day, and which adds to the luxurious richness of a perfect evening.
HISTORY OF CHIVAS REGAL WHISKY
The history of whisky will always revert to the beautiful landscape of Scotland, with an abundance of heather and peat, which is reflected in the terroir. The climatic conditions in Scotland, for growing barley, are perfect, although, sometimes, excessive rains and winds can have a negative effect.
Who would have thought that two humble brothers from the Highlands of Scotland could, today, be responsible for one of the largest whisky companies in the world? The Chivas brothers, John and James, started the company in the 18th century with a shop selling wines and spirits on King Street in Aberdeen. Their first blended whisky was called “Royal Glen Dee”. In 1843, they were awarded a Royal Warrant by Queen Victoria.
Fast forward to 1949, Chivas Bros was sold to a Canadian company called Seagrams, which could see the potential in the whisky brand, and loved the royal connection. It was, undoubtedly, the right timing, as during prohibition, Seagrams excelled to become the largest drinks company in the world. In 2001, Chivas Bros was sold to one of the world’s leading drinks brands, Pernod Ricard, and it has expanded and developed ever since. Whilst they are always loyal to tradition, they are not averse to looking at new ways of developing and improving the whole whisky experience.
AWARDED THE TITLE OF ‘SCOTCH WHISKY OF 2020’
Today, it has thirteen distilleries in Scotland and was recently awarded the prestigious title of Scotch Whisky of 2020, at the International Spirits Challenge. This is a highly respected competition, with a team of authoritative judges awarding the points.
The Chivas heritage can be traced back to the Strathisla distillery in Keith Moray on Speyside, which still produces the whisky today. They are most well known for their Chivas Regal 12, Chivas Regal 18, Chivas Regal 25, Chivas Regal Extra, Chivas Regal Ultis and Chivas Regal Mizunara, plus a large selection of limited edition and whisky exclusives.
OTHER RECOMMENDED WHISKIES FROM CHIVAS REGAL:
- CHIVAS REGAL 12 YEAR OLD – This blended Scotch whisky, by Chivas Regal, has won many awards over the years. It is a blend of both different malt and grain Scotch whiskies, which have been matured for twelve years. Chivas Regal 12 is a balanced blend of rich and fruity, with notes of sweet apple, vanilla and hazelnut.
- CHIVAS REGAL 25 YEAR OLD – Chivas Regal 25 is a rare whisky, first launched in 1909. At that time, it was the world’s first whisky, which had been matured for twenty-five years. This is a very smooth whisky with notes of chocolate orange and fondant.
- CHIVAS REGAL EXTRA – Chivas Regal Extra is a blended Scotch whisky which was first introduced in 2015. It is mixed with sherry-cask matured whisky to make a sweet and fruity blend, complete with notes of dark fruits and chocolate.
- CHIVAS REGAL ULTIS – Chivas Regal Ultis is a premium whisky with a warm and long finish. It is dark and velvety with notes of dried fruit. A whisky perfect for connoisseurs.
- CHIVAS REGAL MIZUNARA – Chivas Regal Mizunara is the perfect whisky for those who have a love of Japanese whisky! It is the world’s first Scotch whisky, which has been aged in wooden barrels made from the Japanese Mizunara Tree. Chivas Regal Mizunara is the perfect combination of traditional Scottish whisky influenced by Japan.
WIN A BOTTLE OF CHIVAS REGAL 18
DELIVERED TO YOUR DOOR, JUST IN TIME FOR CHRISTMAS.
Of this fine whisky prize, Paras told us, “The Chivas Regal 18 won the International Wine & Spirit Competition in 2014 for the ‘Best Blended Scotch Award’, and for very good reason. Colin Scott, our former custodian master blender of Chivas Regal, first blended this whisky in 1997. He stated that there were 85 identifiable flavour characteristics in this beautiful whisky, taking your palette on a journey. With Christmas approaching, this dram balances expertly rich sweetness with warm spices and subtle citrus notes, leaving you with a Christmas cake in liquid form”.
The winner will be selected, at random, on Friday 21st December.
- One entry per person accepted. Must be age 18 & over.
- No entry fee attached & no purchase necessary.
- No close relatives from Cyprus in Style or Chivas Regal Cyprus can enter.
- The winner will be selected at random & notified on Facebook.
- Closing date for entries will be at 5 pm on 21st December 2020.
- Good luck!
HOW TO ENTER THE COMPETITION:
- LIKE OUR FACEBOOK PAGE @CyprusinStyle
- FIND THE COMPETITION POST.
- TAG 2 WHISKY-LOVING FRIENDS IN THE COMMENTS.
- SHARE THIS POST.
For further details on the Chivas Regal range see their website www.chivas.com.
Published by Cyprus in Style December 2020 | Inerview by Sarah Coyne | Photography by Amita Cathcart | #InStyleBusinessNetwork | Chivas Regal Cyprus | 5-Star Annabelle Hotel Paphos | Best Whisky in Cyprus
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