One of the consistent themes in the scotch whisky world these days is that if you need to pep up a release, throw more sherry at the problem. This is the conceit of Chivas Regal Extra - it exists at roughly the same price point as the standard 12 Year, but puts more sherry casks into the mix at the expense of an age statement.
This whisky is bottled at 40% with coloring and chill filtration.
Chivas Regal Extra
Nose: initially almost nonexistent - vague malt/grain and caramel, opening up into richer sherry with a nutty/savory edge and orange peel. After adding a few drops of water the sherry recedes slightly to reveal the malt and grain as well as some vanilla.
Taste: thin and watery up front, opens into caramel, malt/grain, and a strong overlay of sherry with a touch of something floral in the middle, with a bittersweet fadeout through greener notes and moderate oak tannins. After dilution it becomes flatter/grainier and the sherry recedes significantly.
Finish: bittersweet caramel and grain, sherry residue
When I first cracked the mini I thought it might be defective because the nose was so weak and the flavors were so watery. It was somewhat better on the second pass, suggesting that it needed some air to open up. But even at that point I found little to recommend it over the standard 12 Year - while the sherry gave it a little more interest, it was nothing spectacular or complex. For the same price I could get a well-aged, sherry matured single malt from Glenfarclas that will have far more richness and depth. Bottled at a more respectable 43% I think it could offer something more compelling, but as is I can't see the point.
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