Humans can only make sense of life, interact and communicate using their senses. We have no other way of receiving information – which forms our perspective and reality. In some respects life can be seen as a continuous series of sensory experiences which create our existence.

In an age which is becoming increasingly digitised, sensory rich activities are slowly being stripped away; rarely do we sit around a fire as has been the norm for humanity since the discovery of fire. We are no longer as connected to our food as we once were, even just a few generations back we still knew to use food as a form of medicine when sick, food healed us, nowadays we rely on drugs and medicine.

Our food comes packaged in plastic, robbing us of the rich sensory experience of walking through a market, touching, smelling and tasting ingredients as we go along. Even relatively modern activities such as dialling the buttons on a phone has been reduced down to the simple touch of a flat screen. Modern living is becoming increasingly sterile and lacking in small everyday sensory experiences. Perhaps this is why are becoming increasingly interested in concepts such as mindfulness, the sensory exploration of our dining experiences and other experiences which allow us to indulge our senses.

For some; the simple appreciation of a fine whiskey can be a wonderfully indulgent and sensory experience. Our work with Chivas Regal over the last year has focused on not only the ‘sensploration’ of the drink but also on the whole environment in which consumers enjoy their whiskey.

Chivas Sensory Appreciation guide

Over the course of several months we researched the sensory attributes which impact flavour perception in whiskey. After a very impactful and memorable trip up to Strathisla in Scotland to meet with Chivas Regal’s Master Blender Colin Scott we began to develop a structure by which to explore the whiskey. Some aspects we classed as ‘direct’ these focused on the whiskey’s attributes, including; colour, aroma, temperature & viscosity and dilution (its various methods e.g. ice, cold water). Then there are the ‘indirect’ aspects including; the shape, weight and texture of the glassware, the textures of surrounding materials (chair, sofa, tablecloth, napkin etc) as well as environmental factors such as sound and lighting.

Chivas Sensory Appreciation guide for those who truly want to heighten their appreciation of Chivas and explore its many unique flavours and textures.

Once the research was complete we designed and executed the Chivas Exploration laboratory. An experimental whiskey tasting event in which guests are guided through a series of tasting experiments set to put their senses to the test.  By encouraging such mindfulness towards the sensory details we hope this will allow Chivas drinkers to find their own personal and unique way of enjoying their whiskey.