Brand names such as Chivas Regal, The Glenlivet and Aberlour roll off the tongue as smoothly as the whisky itself rolls over it. These, along with many others, form the portfolio of Pernod-Ricard; a French industry leader whose interests in Scotch whisky are pioneered by the subsidiary, Chivas Brothers. Angels’ Share Glass has been working with and supplying its distilleries not only with fabulous giftware but our distilling spirit bowls.
The names Pernod and Ricard are intrinsically linked by way of the humble anise. Pernod was founded in 1805 by Henri-Louis Pernod with the Ricard company arriving over 125 years later, founded by Paul Ricard. Although once in competition with each other, these two creators of anise-based spirits merged in 1975 forming the well-known name of Pernod-Ricard.
Research the evolution of many of the Scotch whisky brands and it’s a little bit like Who Do You Think You Are? It’s a complicated history and one discovery leads to at least forty others; a kind of historical mind map.
In brief though, Pernod - Ricard bought a share of Seagram’s in 2001 (it was Diageo which took the other share) which included Chivas Brothers. Seagram’s was a huge Canadian drinks company which had bought Chivas Brothers way back in 1949. During the 1970s, when the whisky industry was enjoying a boom, the company acquired Aberlour distillery and The Glenlivet Distillers amongst others; the latter, of course, included The Glenlivet brand itself.
Chivas Brothers are now the second largest Scotch whisky company with Chivas Regal as its flag-bearer…
C’est curieux comme certaines bouteilles prennent moins la poussière que d’autres – It’s funny how certain bottles gather less dust than others.
In 1841, James Chivas took over a wine and grocery business based in Aberdeen, just three years after he had joined the company. It had been started by William Edward forty years earlier and, after his death, James continued with the business. At this stage, the business wasn’t Chivas Brothers per se; that took until 1857 when James was joined by his brother John. After the deaths of John, James and the latter’s son, Alexander, the Chivas name was no more. However, the company continued with two former employees at the helm and they chose to continue using the Chivas Brothers company name. It was only at this point that whisky became the main focus for the business.
Chivas Regal had already become a well-known brand in the United States, despite – or maybe even because of – Prohibition! In 1949, Samuel Bronfman, head of Seagram’s, bought Chivas Brothers. The company had had a great deal of success with their Canadian whiskies and wanted a deluxe brand of Scotch whisky for the American market. Chivas Regal had the provenance he wanted and proved to be the perfect candidate.
Chivas Regal proves to be as popular today, with the 12 year old expression coming in at number four in the Spirits Business’ Top Ten Selling Scotch Brands In The World. With wild herbs, heather, honey and orchard fruits on the nose, the whisky delivers more honey and ripe apples together with vanilla, hazelnut and butterscotch on the palate. Overall, a round and creamy whisky with a long finish which is remarkably drinkable.
Qui n’avance pas, recule – Who does not go forward, recedes
When King George IV arrived in Leith in 1822 - the first visit to Scotland by a reigning monarch in nearly 200 years - he enjoyed several drams of The Glenlivet with Sir Walter Scott who was overseeing the royal visit. In fact, what they were drinking was illicitly distilled spirit; The Glenlivet didn’t gain its licence to legally make whisky for another two years!
A year after the Excise Act of 1823, despite opposition from his contemporaries, George Smith took the bold step to be the first licensed distillery to make whisky. Although The Glenlivet was already established as a premium product, albeit illicitly, many others followed suit and, in an effort to cash in on Smith’s success, many of these whiskies also carried the name Glenlivet. In 1880, George’s son, John Gordon, won a court battle to ensure that only they could call their whisky THE Glenlivet; all others needed to use a prefix instead.
Fast forward to 2018 and The Glenlivet is still one of the world’s best selling single malts with more than one million nine-litre cases being sold each year.
With rich, oaky aromas on the nose, The Glenlivet 15 years is one of the distillery’s flagship brands. With hints of stewed apples and fudge on the palate, this is a great dram especially when those winter nights are approaching. Angels’ Share Glass water droppers prove the best selling product for the Visitor Centre.
Les actes sont plus éloquents que les paroles – Actions speak louder than words
Founded in 1879 by James Fleming, a local banker, Aberlour distillery is situated on the Lour Burn. It was here that St Dunstan, Archbishop of Canterbury in A.D 960, carried out baptisms using the water that now supplies the distillery.
As part of the Pernod - Ricard and Chivas Brothers family since 1975, the Clan Fleming motto of ‘let the deed show’ still holds true today for the makers of Aberlour whisky.
The whisky at Aberlour is matured in both ex-Oloroso sherry butts and ex-American Oak bourbon casks. However, the cask strength expression A’Bunadh, meaning the original in Gaelic, is a real sherry bomb of a dram having been matured solely in Oloroso butts. The latest batch - 62 - has hints of cloves, cinnamon, raisins and sultanas on the nose. Delivering on the palate, there’s stewed apples and plums, figs, ginger and cinnamon; this is Christmas in a glass! It is also a top favourite of Angels’ Share Glass Director, Karen.
Visit these Distilleries today as part of the Speyside Whisky Trail. You can also find Our glass products at Strathisla Distillery and Scapa Distillery, both Chivas Distilleries.
Interested in Aberlour, we still have a couple of our limited edition Aberlour A'Bunadh Angels left - click to view now