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Drink Review: Chivas Regal 12 Year Old

‘The blend for grown-ups, for people who have made their rites of passage and are ready to enjoy their success. Sweet, but not cloying. Buxom, but not overblown. Balanced. 9/10.’ Paul Pacult in Whisky Magazine April 2000

Chivas Regal 12 Year Old Review:

Coming in at 40% I wasn’t expecting much burn from this dram, but my mouth does feel warm. There’s a very familiar sweetness there, like sticky red fruit jam with black raisins. Peat thrown in, with a hint of smokey leather. Definitely whisky. The finish is slightly less sweet, coming across with a slightly sour and dry edge on my tongue. Not bad at all, again very whisky.

I wouldn’t go out of my way to buy another bottle, but I have no dislikes about what I’ve had. It’s a good value whisky for drinkers looking to spend less than £30 for their bottle. I’d happily pay that again, but I wouldn’t want to pay much more. I’d go for the Bladnoch 16 year old and spend the extra.

Of all the people I know who drink whiskey, I’ve never met anyone who drinks or enjoys Chivas Regal. I’d never buy it, but I can’t disagree with any of this tasting notes. Which is probably the main reason you read these things. I’ve not been enticed into picking up a bottle for myself, but if I saw it for a price I liked, I could absolutely see it being a ‘good enough’ night cap. It’s definitely got some style.

I’ve said this before that there are a few whiskies that I love, and a lot more I like (or rather, that don’t bother me), and then there are those that I don’t like, and this is in that last category. I don’t care for its taste profile and I don’t like the feel of it in my mouth.

The bitterness of the smokey peat combined with the fact it seems sugary, which I hate, with a touch of sour at the back of the tongue to finish.

Not a favorite of mine, but then neither is Coke and I drink that too.

Of all the whiskies I’ve had, this has the longest tasting note, takes the most words to describe it, and is the least interesting. Yes, we’re at that point in the blog where you get the full length tasting note where most people will give up and move on the the next review. If you have the patience you’ll find yourself a hidden little gem worth paying the extra for.

If you are looking for a good, consistent, mellow, all around good and consistent dram you should really add this to your bar, or better still, the fridge.

The history of Chivas Regal 12 Year Old:

Chivas Regal 12 Year Old was originally developed for the Japanese market. It was introduced to the Japanese in 1972, and was the first blended whisky to be available at every bar in Japan. In the UK, the 12-year-old single malt was launched in July 1996 and was originally launched as a bi-colour bottle with a green label and a white/red label.

It went on to win a Special Recommendation at the 1997 International Spirits Challenge and in the same year was voted the Best Blended Malt Whisky and the Best Blended Whisky by the Malt Whisky Yearbook. This award was repeated in 1998 with the Malt Whisky Yearbook once again awarding Chivas Regal 12 Year Old the title of Best Blended Whisky.

Also in 1998, the whisky received the gold medal at the Spirits International Prestige Awards. At the 1999 International Wine and Spirits Challenge it won a Gold Best in Class award, and at the 2002 International Wine and Spirit Competition it again won a Gold Best in Class as well as a Gold medal.

In 2002, the 12-year-old malt whisky claimed the top spot in Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible and in the following year it was awarded the trophy for Best Blended Whisky under the age of 12 Years at the same publication’s inaugural Scotch Whisky Masters. In 2008, experts at the World Whiskies Awards gave Chivas Regal 12 the title of World’s Best Blended Malt Whisky and in 2010 the whisky won a gold medal at the International Wine & Spirit Competition.

Written by Mark Adams

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