This is a blend marketed towards connoisseurs, presented very nicely and non-chillfiltered – which means that many of the natural oils from the whisky aren’t stripped out providing a bit better body to the whisky. It is pronounced “Chey-Vek”, which, in gaelic, means “a wee dram”. It, according to the back label, contains a high percentage (40%) of single malt in the blend (blended scotch is composed of both single malts and other grain whiskies) and was originally produced for the Hebridean Islands (a group which includes Islay, Skye, and Jura).
Nose: Apple, with a slight smoky and peaty background note which has a bit of floral heather in it and some lovely light vanilla which is nicely integrated. There’s a bit of a ginger note, too, a decent amount of maltiness, and lots of nuttiness. In a big glass it’s a bit out of sync – there’s a bit of bitterness and the peat doesn’t really fit into the whole whisky very well. The detracting bitterness is a bit annoying, unfortunately – but it is better in a smaller glass like a glencairn. It does seem to take its time to develop, with some creaminess coming through with some time and even some green-pepper like vegetal notes. 24/30 (80%)
Taste: Soft, with a very nice mouthfeel, a decent amount of sweetness, and a slightly earthy, slightly smoky, peaty backbone. There is a reasonable maltiness to it as well, which balances out the peat fairly nicely. Some smoke and spices take off a bit towards the end. The texture of the whisky is great, and the balance is quite nice as well. It’s medium bodied – but constructed in such a way that it is really easy to almost drink it rather than sip it – which is nice. There’s also a very nice, light, heathery note to this which is very pleasant too. The sweetness, if I sip slowly, is at a bit higher level than I would like – and sometimes it feels a bit too light for the sweetness level – but if I sip a bit faster I find it fine. Interesting. 26/30 (87%)
Finish: Light smoke, apple, some nuttiness, raisins, and some lightly sweet malt. It is still nicely balanced, but not overly-complex. As often with finishes, as you drink more it develops a bit and some more spice, jasmine tea, and light vanilla come through. 17.5/20 (87%)
Conclusion: Sometimes, frankly, blends are too much for me – they can be an incredible barrage of flavour because the blenders have so many options/tools to work with. I like this because it is well constructed and plays its role well without trying to do too much. The nose, unfortunately, didn’t work too well for me – but the taste certainly does compensate. It’s very comfortable – probably one of the best casual drams I can think of. Best drunk with friends… 17/20 (85%)