Chivas Regal is regarded as a luxury blended Scotch whisky similar to Johnnie Walker. Therefore, we have reviewed Chivas Regal 12 to see how it compares:
- Review Formula
- Spirit Overview
- Robe & Appearance
- Nose & Aromas
- Palate & Mouthfeel
- How To Drink Chivas Regal 12
- Recommended Pairings
- Overall Experience & Value For Money
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- Distillery: Strathisla Distillery
- Expression: Chivas Regal 12
- Variety: Blended Scotch Whisky
- Region: Blend [Speyside, Scotland]
- Age: 12-Years
- Casking: Ex-Bourbon
- Cask Strength: 40% ABV
- Parent: Pernod-Ricard
In 1801, brothers James and John Chivas opened their own luxury grocery store in Aberdeen. However, the family’s first blend wasn’t launched until 1854 by their descendants, Stewart and James Jr. Although it was no longer family-owned by the 20th century, the company bought the Milton Distillery in Speyside in 1954, which was renamed to “Strathisla”. Since 2001, the Chivas Regal has been owned by Pernod Ricard.
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Chivas Regal 12’s Robe
- Hue: Polished Amber
- Clarity: Clean
- Viscosity: Moderate
In terms of hue, we’re looking at a polished, aged amber colour. As for its clarity, it’s quite clear overall. Its legs are quite thin and fast. Meanwhile, adding a drop of water only shows moderate whirls, which suggests that it’s chill-filtered.
Chivas Regal 12’s Nose
- Notes: Caramel, Red Apple, Heather, Vanilla
- Nosefeel: Peppery
Its nose is very intense, prickly, and not overly complex. That said, it’s full of character and denotes a rich identity. We’re looking at notes of caramel, crisp red apple, and then there’s a little floral note of heather. There’s also a touch of vanilla that softens its edge.
Chivas Regal 12 Palate & Mouthfeel
- Primary Taste: Umami
- Mouthfeel: Creamy
- Opening: Nutmeg, Hickory, Malt
- Heart: Black Tea, White Pepper, Heather
- Finish: Medium [Vanilla, Acacia Honey, Walnut]
With an umami primary taste, it reveals a creamy and luscious mouthfeel, which envelops the palate. Its opening is spicy with elements of nutmeg and creamy hickory. A touch of malt emphasises the cereal component of the opening.
The heart then delivers black tea, which is thick and tarry as if the bag was left for too long. The heather from the nose returns with a floral blast, which smooths out the spiciness of some white pepper.
It’s not incredibly complex but there’s a distinctive evolution of flavour. As mentioned above, its mouthfeel is creamy without being too heavy. You certainly can detect a higher level of maturity compared to most blends.
Finally, the finish is moderate and doesn’t linger on the palate for too long. However, it leaves the palate with a bang rather than just fading away. Vanilla notes transition to syrupy acacia honey before a smoky hint of walnut adds warmth before it dissipates.
How To Drink Chivas Regal 12
We religiously state in every review that the best way to drink something is the way that you enjoy it. Any rules on the “proper” way to drink Scotch are only guidelines even if we promote them ourselves. However, as a blended Scotch that targets the luxury market, you might be wondering how you would want to drink Chivas Regal 12.
Firstly, it’s perfectly enjoyable to sip neat even for the most refined palates. However, if you find it slightly too rough, a drop of water can render it smoother. It’s also perfectly fine for drinking on the rocks as well.
In the photos accompanying this review, you’ll notice the Chivas tumblers that came as part of a gift pack. Indeed, tumblers are fine but you could also sip it using a Glencairn glass or similar. Check out our guide to the best whisky glassware for more ideas.
Finally, if you’re reluctant to use a single malt for making a cocktail but prefer quality ingredients, Chivas Regal 12 is a great compromise. It’s superior to many blended Scotch whiskies and certainly won’t let you down.
Best Pairings With Chivas Regal 12
Chivas Regal tends to pair quite nicely with seafood. Dishes such as sea bass and scallops contrast nicely with the whisky by adding a brine quality. Similarly, smoked salmon or trout will help bring out its mild smokiness, which is otherwise only detected by its black tea aroma.
Meanwhile, roasted chestnuts or fresh walnuts would be excellent choices as snacks that can accompany a dram by a roaring fireplace.
As cigars are a big part of Bespoke Unit’s DNA, we will certainly offer some pairing suggestions here. The Ashton Heritage has a medium+ body with a balanced flavour that would marry well with a glass of Chivas Regal 12.
Generally, we would suggest Habano-style cigars that have an element of spice. However, some Connecticut blends will allow the whisky to fully express itself.
Overall Experience & Value For Money
Chivas Regal has a distinctive bottle with a label that has a classical design that’s presented in a contemporary way. Its shiny sticker is ornate and stylish. However, I was disappointed to find that it has a plastic screw cap rather than a cork given the price point.
Typically, Chivas Regal is sold in metal tins. However, this particular bottle came in a gift set that features two tumblers. The cardboard box looks grand and features the same rust red colour as the tin. Meanwhile, the tumblers are of excellent quality with a heavy base that features a subtly pressed Chivas Regal logo.
In the USA, you can expect to pay around $46 for Chivas Regal 12, which is quite pricey and edging towards Johnnie Walker Black Label territory here.
Meanwhile, it’s about 30€ in Europe, which is similarly priced to some single malts like Laphroaig 10. As it blends go, this is quite sophisticated and it does fare well compared to its single-malt brethren. Therefore, the pricing may be justified.
Being a more premium blend, it’s fine for formal occasions. While a great choice for casual drinking in the ways described above, it’s a great choice for parties or when hosting a few guests, too.
Admittedly, I had always presumed that Chivas Regal 12 was a single malt given its price point. Therefore, I was surprised and initially disheartened to learn that it was actually a blend. Nevertheless, I can happily say that the experience itself wasn’t a disappointment.
While some people believe that it’s overrated and overpriced, I feel that it’s a great reference for premium blended Scotch whisky.
"A very pleasant blended Scotch for a quiet night in, to enjoy with friends, or even when hosting guests."
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