Bottling the DNA of the Hard-to-Categorize Chivas Regal

The artful Ultis is Chivas Regal’s first blended malt whisky.

Chivas Regal Ultis whisky

There is a unique style of Scotch whisky that cannot be classified as a single malt, nor can it be called a blend. Rather, it is a somewhat obscure category that used to be known as either vatted malt or pure malt.

These days, it is officially referred to as blended malt, as it is composed of single malts taken from multiple distilleries, rather than just one. And unlike a blended Scotch, it contains no grain alcohol. Thus, it is a compilation of various single malts only. With no grain alcohol to bind these sometimes divergent flavors together, the whiskies used for a blended malt must be extremely compatible to produce a harmonious taste profile for the finished product. It is a challenging endeavor for any master blender.

In fact, for Chivas Regal, the makers of the best-selling premium Scotch blends in the world, it took all five of its past and present master blenders to create Ultis ($200), the first blended malt Scotch whisky in Chivas Regal history. Ultis is composed of five hand-selected single malts—one from each of the five Chivas Brothers master blenders, beginning with Charles Howard (1895-1935), who introduced Chivas Regal in 1909, and ending with Colin Scott (1989 to the present), who created Chivas Regal 18 Year Old and Chivas Regal 25 Year Old (a duplication of Howard’s original 1909 blend).

Chivas Regal Ultis whisky

Chivas Regal Ultis whisky ($200)  Photo: Courtesy Chivas Regal

The rare, copper-pot-distilled whiskies selected for Ultis comprise less than 1 percent of the millions of barrels in Chivas Brothers warehouses. Yet these five single malts represent the very best of Speyside and the very heart of the Chivas Regal blends, as they come from Strathisla, Longmorn, Tormore, Allt A’Bhainne, and Braeval distilleries.

With a smooth and floral signature house style and an elegant golden hue, Ultis is a tapestry of smoked honey and heather interwoven with caramel, apricots, and fudge. As such, it personifies the Chivas Regal DNA—not only of the whisky but also of the men who made it.

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