Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Whisky Review: Chivas Regal 12 Year

Chivas Regal is one of the most well-known blends in the world, owned by Pernod Ricard. This is the second biggest conglomerate in scotch whisky, with fifteen distilleries, including some of the biggest such as Glenlivet and the new Dalmunach. It is claimed that Strathisla is the 'home' of Chivas Regal and presumably this forms the biggest malt component in the blend, though it is likely that grain whisky from Strathclyde forms a much larger share.

This blend is bottled at 40% with coloring and chill filtration.

Chivas Regal 12 Year

Nose: very light - basic grain notes with a bit of malt, caramel, vanilla, a little solvent, herbal notes underneath, a faint hint of peat. After adding a few drops of water it goes even flatter.

Taste: simple malt/grain sweetness throughout, a little sherry roundness in the middle, and a surprisingly lack of oak tannins at the back. After dilution the grain whisky sticks out more and gives a bit of a bitter finish, but some fruit notes emerge (apples, pears), the sherry becomes bigger in the middle, and the oak becomes more noticeable.

Finish: grain, light oak, a bit of sherry residue

Well, it's a blend. As these things go, it manages to hit what I think was its mark: more or less inoffensive. Unlike Johnnie Walker Black Label, its most obvious competitor, there is little in the way of peat. This seems unsurprising since Pernod Ricard does not own any distilleries that regularly produce peated malt. Given the high demand over the last decade, that would not have left them in a position to trade for it in a regular fashion. So we're left with a much lighter whisky, without the dirtier backbone of JWB. With that said, it's not a bad blend by any stretch. It's just that you can get more interesting blends, like Isle of Skye 8 Year or Cutty Sark Prohibition, or basic single malts from Glenmorangie or Tomatin for only a few dollars more, so I don't think this is one I would buy again.

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