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Blended to Perfection: Chivas Regal Mizunara and Batman / TMNT

  • The Whisky: Chivas Regal Mizunara
  • Distillery: Chivas Brothers
  • Blended Whisky
  • Part of the blend was aged in Mizunara Oak Casks
  • The Comic: Batman / Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
  • IDW Publishing and DC Comics
  • Writer: James Tynion IV
  • Artist: Freddie Williams
  • Colours: Jeremy Colwell
  • Letters: Tom Napolitano

Perfectly Paired

While the majority of the whiskies that we look at are single malts, we certainly don’t raise our noses and scoff at a good blend. And we certainly couldn’t think of a more perfect whiskey and comic book pairing for the Chivas Regal Mizunara then Batman / Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. We grew up, like most kids of the 90s, as HUGE Ninja Turtle fans. We both ended up in Karate for years because of the first TMNT movie (only a 6.8/10 on IMDB?!? Pft…we beg to differ!). We also had all of the action figures… which are currently in a box at our parents house. We also grew up as big Batman fans. He was one of the first comic book characters to which we were introduced, and the original Batman movie was a household favourite of ours.

The Whiskey: Chivas Regal Mizunara

The Chivas Regal Mizunara Special Edition was originally released as a travel exclusive only. But after it received rave reviews, the Chivas Brothers decided to make this a wider release Special Edition, and are we ever happy that they did. Part of the whisky used in this blend has been aged in Mizunara casks. These casks are made from the Quercus mongolica (Mongolian Oak, or more commonly known as Mizunara Oak), which grow in eastern Asia and Japan.

The 2016 Whiskey Yearbook states the following about Mizunara casks:

“High in vanillin the wood contributes vanilla, honey, blossom, fresh fruit (pears, apples), spice (nutmeg, cloves), and in the words of the well-known Japanese whiskey expert, Marcin Miller, it adds elegance: ‘like the smell of a temple – incense, sandalwood, Oriental spices’.”

2016 Whiskey Yearbook

The Cask: Mizunara Oak

One of the main things that makes aging whiskey in Mizunara casks so special is the time that it takes for Mizunara Oak trees to grow. While it typically takes 80 years for an American Oak tree to reach maturity, it takes a minimum of 200 years for a Mizunara Oak tree to reach maturity. Mizunara oak trees also do not grow tall and straight like the American Oak (or quercus alba / white oak) that are most commonly used in coopering or barrel making.

Mizunara Oak Tree – Picture Courtesy Kaiyo Distillery
Quesrcus Alba / American Oak are Tall and stright – Picture courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

This coupled with the elegant flavours that are imparted in the whisky are the reasons why these casks are both expensive (upwards of $6000 a barrel 👀 ) and highly sought after. Chivas Regal Mizunara is a blend of Scottish grain and malt whiskies, each aged at least 12 years, with part of the blend being aged in Mizunara casks.

Chivas Regal Mizunara Tasting Notes:

Let’s get our noses into our Whiskey Geeks glencairn glass and take a big sniff of this light amber deliciousness. Off the top you will get notes of toffee, honey, and the Mizunara signature vanilla, along with a hint of peach (full disclosure, without knowing to look for it, I would not have picked up on the peach). The first sip has floral sweetness and notes of honey, before having a spiciness take over before it finishes with a touch of sweet oakiness. Unlike some other whiskies that can’t follow up on a great start, Chivas Regal Mizunara does just that and the taste matches the nose. This really is quite a nice dram and a good example of the complexity that aging in Mizunara casks can add. If you are ever wanting to convert a bourbon drinker over to whisky, Chivas Regal Mizunara is a wonderful place to start!

The Comic: Batman / Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Why did it take so long to put Batman and the Turtles together??? Other than the fact that one is owned by DC Comics and one is owned by IDW obviously. After reading the first issue I was left thinking that they are perfectly suited to go together. Batman has many of the characteristics that are prominent in the Turtles (except Mikey…I’m struggling to find the care free jokester element in Batman…but Robin???). But Leonardo’s leadership and stoicism, Donatello’s love of gadgets and computers, Raphael’s passion and (**cough cough** “sometimes”) brooding and controlled rage, Batman seems to share many of the same traits with the Turtles. Personally, I know we at the Whiskey Geeks crossed these two universes ages ago while playing with the action figures growing up. I’m certain at some point Batman was driving the pizza throwing Turtle van while Michelangelo sat in the Batmobile. 

One of our favourite toys of all time – The Pizza Thrower. Pic courtesy of turtlepedia.fandom.com

How did they end up together???

But how did the Turtles and Splinter (and the Shredder and the Foot clan for that matter) end up in Gotham City in the first place? Well thanks to Krang (you know, the supervillain that kinda looks like a square brain with a face that uses a robotic suit to get around? Wow that sounds really crazy when you write it down like that)  and a trans-dimensional warp, he sends his two biggest foes, the Turtles and Splinter along with Shredder and the Foot Clan, to Gotham City.

The Turtles quickly find a cool hangout in the sewers and order pizza (obviously), while Shredder gets to work on trying to rebuild the machine and get back to New York City and leaving the Turtles behind.  Seems simple enough right? Steal a bunch of technology from a variety of labs (one of course is owned by Bruce Wayne), find a scientist that understands theoretical trans-dimensional travel, say Cowabunga 3 times, and off you go. Shredder takes over the Penguins gang and puts his plot in motion.  

The Turtles spend their time trying to figure out where the Foot Clan are and stop what they are doing. They have also discovered that the mutagen (aka the green ooze) that turned them into what they are is slowly going inert in this new dimension and will eventually cause them to revert to their natural states.  So while there is an element of needing to stop the Shredder and the Foot Clan, there is also a race against the clock element to the story as sooner rather than later the Turtles will become non-sentient little turtles again. Obviously…this is not ideal.

What should you expect? Awesomeness!

What can you expect from this teamup? First off, incredible artwork from Freddie Williams II and epic action sequences. My personal favourites are when the Turtles fight Batman, as well as the witty banter that the Turtles are known for written by James Tynion IV. I will never get tired of Michaelangelo busting Raphael for taking things too seriously and Raph throwing a temper tantrum and storming off (yes, Raph storms out in this story too).  There is also the quick wit of Alfred talking to Bruce about being a middle aged man running around all night and never sleeping.  I also really enjoyed how the Shredder’s plan evolved over the six parts and how it involved all of the usual suspects that Batman locked up in Arkham…jacked up with a bit of help from the green ooze. Let me tell you, Bane x Green Ooze = AWESOME.

Didn’t realize Bane could get any stronger…apparently we were wrong!

You get to see the Batcave in all its glory and see the Turtles freak out and Mickey rides the T-Rex! Not wanting to spoil more, I’ll leave it there for the plot points and just suggest that if you are a fan of either Batman or TMNT, we would recommend that you pick this up at your local comic book shop. The singles sat on my shelf for quite a while even though the younger Whiskey Geek had lent it to me with high praise. After reading it, I don’t know why I waited so long?

I didn’t realize it, but this is all I ever wanted from a comic book!!!

Whiskey and Comic Book Pairing:

This was certainly one of our easier whiskey and comic book pairing decisions. They both pull heavily from Japanese traditions, be it the character’s origins, the martial arts, or the use of Japanese Mizunara oak casks. These two just seemed perfectly well suited for each other. Both are great on their own. I plowed through the first six books in the series and quickly went and picked up the second trade paper back from my local comic book shop up here in Ottawa. We also both loved our first dram of the Chivas Regal Mizunara after The Whiskey Dad obtained a bottle. Thankfully, I (Alex) was given a bottle for my birthday last year, and have been able to enjoy many more drams of this smooth and flavourful whisky. And putting the two together certainly made for a great evening when we both re-read the books while enjoying a dram of the Chivas Regal Mizunara cask, and again when we recorded our video / podcast which is up on Youtube and wherever you listen to podcasts.

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