Is Chivas Regal Good? A Detailed Look at 7 of Their Whiskies


Chivas Regal is one of the bestselling blended Scotch whisky brands in the world so it stands to reason that their whiskies must be good. However, I wanted to test this for myself and this is what I found.

Chivas Regal whiskies are good. They’re sweet and smooth, easy to drink and difficult not to like. However, being blends, some of them don’t have as many flavors as your average single malt. I would recommend the Chivas Regal 12 as being the best value for money, and the Chivas Regal 25 and the Chivas Regal Ultis as being the most flavorful.

There are about ten Chivas Regal whiskies and I examined seven, leaving out those that have a focus on soccer, and those which are super expensive. I know I’ve recommended some expensive whiskies, but there’s a difference between the expensiveness of Chivas Regal 25 and Chivas Regal Ultis – both being under $365 – and Chivas Regal The Icon which is close to $3000!

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3 bottles of Chivas Regal - the 12, 25 & Ultis

How I Determined Whether Chivas Regal Whiskies Are Good

I didn’t want to present just my own personal opinion about these whiskies but rather a more general consensus, so I gathered a team of experts (translation: anyone who would help me with this project and who knows a thing or two about whisky) and amalgamated all our tasting notes. I left out those aromas and flavors that were found by only one person and focused on those experienced by more than one member of the group. Descriptors that appear earlier in the coming lists were detected by more people.

Everyone scored each whisky out of 100 and I calculated the average.

The notes after each table are my summary of the general consensus unless otherwise indicated.

While there was some disagreement, the combined results present a pretty clear picture of these whiskies.

Here’s what we found:

Chivas Regal 12 Year Old

  • 40%ABV
  • Price: $34.99 approx. for 750ml & $67.14 approx. for 1.75L

Chivas Regal 12 is a blend of 40 plus malt and grain whiskies – mostly grain whiskies and mostly from the Speyside region of Scotland – that have been matured for at least 12 years.

ColorAmber, gold
NoseApple, vanilla, toffee, honey, cereal, sugar, fruit, caramel, smoke
TasteSweet, smooth, honey, apples, caramel, fruit, grain, floral, vanilla, bubblegum, cinnamon
FinishShort: Bitter, apple, grain, spice, fruit, orange, pepper
Average Score – 72

Chivas Regal 12 is sweet and smooth, making it an easy whisky to drink and difficult not to like. Of course, being a blended whisky, it has less flavors than your average single malt which is why some whisky drinkers will find it too plain or boring in comparison, but it does have enough flavors to make it a better blend than others.

Having less flavors than your average single malt can be an advantage as it allows the whisky to appeal to a wider audience and makes it much more approachable to those who are less familiar with whisky. Which is one of the reasons why this whisky is so popular.

The fact that it’s decent quality for the price is another.  You can buy a bottle of Chivas Regal 12 here.

2 bottles of Chivas Regal - Mizunara and the 13

Chivas Mizunara

  • 40% ABV
  • Price: $49.99 approx. for 750ml

Chivas Mizunara is Chivas Regal 12, parts of which are finished in Mizunara casks.

Mizunara is a rare and expensive type of oak from the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido that’s sometimes used in Japanese distilling to mature malts. It all makes sense once you know that Chivas Mizunara was originally released exclusively for the Japanese market but because of its popularity and success it’s now more widely available.

Mizunara is a more humid and porous wood which means casks made from it will have a greater influence on the flavor of the whisky. Chivas doesn’t say how much of the whisky is finished in Mizunara casks or for how long but taking into consideration the fact that Mizunara is rare and therefore expensive, but the price of a bottle is only around $50, I would estimate the answers are ‘not much’ and ‘not too long’ respectively. The question is, however, is it enough to make Chivas Mizunara better than the 12?

ColorAmber, gold
NoseVanilla, sweet, honey, caramel, orange, apples, herbs, tobacco, fruit, pears, toffee, mango, almond, cinnamon, grass, cereal
TasteVanilla, oak, pears, spices, honey, sweet, banana, ginger, caramel, apples, oranges, pepper, almonds, cinnamon, grain, clove, wood
FinishShort – medium: Oak, spice, apples, pepper, honey, toffee, vanilla. Starts sweet but ends bitter
Average Score – 78

This whisky completely split the group.

While everyone agreed that there was some influence from the Mizunara casks giving the whisky some exotic herbal notes and a bit of spice and medicinal flavor, some thought it was minimal and felt you had to really pay attention, especially on the nose, if you were to pick them up.

Others however, thought the Mizunara was an improvement over the 12 and felt the two parts worked well together – the sweet caramel and vanilla flavors of the 12 were enhanced by the soft floral flavors coming from the Mizunara casks.

This difference of opinion makes it difficult say that the Mizunara is worth the extra price. Fortunately, it’s not that much more expensive than the 12, making it relatively easy for you to decide for yourself.

You can buy a bottle of Chivas Mizunara here.

Chivas Extra 13 Sherry Cask

  • 40%ABV
  • Price: $39.71 approx. for 700ml

Chivas Extra 13 is classic Chivas whisky that’s been aged for 13 years, parts of it in former Oloroso sherry casks so as to magnify the sweet and rich notes of the whisky.

Yes, I noticed the ‘parts of it’ pattern too.

ColorDeep amber, gold
NoseFruit, caramel, chocolate, sherry, pears, apples, raisins, toffee, vanilla, oak
TasteVanilla, caramel, sherry, fruit, wood, grain, toffee, oak, spice, smoke,
FinishShort – Medium: Pepper, oak, caramel, sweet
Average Score – 76

Like the 12, the Chivas Extra 13 is a smooth and easy to drink blend but relatively bland in comparison to your average single malt of the same price.

There is a sherry character and sweetness to this whisky that comes from the cask and if you like sherry, then you’ll probably enjoy this Chivas expression given it’s not that much more expensive than the 12.

You can buy a bottle here.

2 bottles of Chivas Regal - XV and the 18

Chivas Regal XV

  • 40% ABV
  • Price: $44.24 approx. for 700ml

This Chivas blend is aged for 15 years, parts of which are finished in casks that previously held cognac. Hence the XV as opposed to 15 as a nod to the cognac system which tends to use letters such as XO and VS rather than age statements.

ColorLight amber
NoseHoney, vanilla, cinnamon, oak, caramel, marmalade, apples, pear, butterscotch, cognac, sultanas, cloves, raisins
TasteCaramel, butterscotch, toffee, vanilla, pears, oak, fruit, cinnamon, apples, ginger, honey
FinishMedium – long: Spicy, vanilla, fruity, sweet, bitter
Average Score – 72

This is another easy whisky that’s smooth, well balanced but nothing too special. It’s definitely more complex and fruity than the 12 but it’s still a little delicate and thin on the palate.

Once again there was disagreement as to the effect of the cognac cask on the whisky, with some feeling it enhanced the fruity side of the whiskies in the Chivas blend and others feeling that while its influence was noticeable it was limited.

You can buy a bottle Chivas Regal XV here.

Chivas Regal 18 Year Old

  • 40% ABV
  • Price: $82.99 approx. for 750ml & $149.97 approx. for 1.75L

Chivas claims this whisky has 85 flavor notes in every drop! Let’s see.

ColorAmber, dark walnut
NoseCaramel, sherry, malt, toffee, vanilla, honey, dried fruits, oak, peat
TasteVanilla, honey, smoke, caramel, malt, oak, orange, sherry, chocolate
FinishShort to medium: Smoke, grain, oak
Average Score – 68

Like the Chivas Mizunara, this whisky completely split the group, just much much wider. Hence an average score that is … well lower than average.

For some the Chivas Regal 18 was a good progression on the 12, having many of the same elements with a much needed maturity. They felt that although it was once again a bit on the thin side, it was pretty complex for a blended whisky, that it was nicely balanced and easy to drink and that it had pleasant, sweet flavors.

For others it was as flavorless and boring but at twice the price. Ouch!

Either way no one managed to pick out all 85 flavors over many drops let alone in one.

You can buy a bottle of the 18 here but this does NOT mean that I was one of those who liked it.

Chivas Regal 25 Years

  • 40% ABV
  • Price: $362.99 approx. for 750ml

25 years old and expensive. Need I say more.

ColorAmber, liquid gold, deep orange
NoseFruit, caramel, vanilla, almonds, marzipan, chocolate, honey, orange, raisins, nuts, peaches, cherry
TasteVanilla, spicy, oak, oranges, chocolate, ginger, pepper smoky, marmalade, fruit
FinishMedium – long: chocolate, herbal, smoke, oak,
Average Score – 84

The most talked about character of this whisky was its smoothness. It may not be the smoothest whisky in the world but it’s very very smooth. It’s only 40% ABV but it is full of flavors and they’re delicious. It has a good weight on the palate with a soft, rich, and creamy mouthfeel.

And it’s smooth.

The second most talked about character of this whisky was its price. Some felt it’s worth every penny, but others felt the expense made it a hard whisky to recommend. If price is not a factor for you, then this is definitely a whisky you’ll want to try. You can buy a bottle here.

Chivas Regal Ultis

  • 66.85% ABV
  • Price: $189.99 approx. for 750ml

Chivas Regal Ultis is a departure from the traditional Chivas blend because it only contains malt whiskies. It’s blended from five of the main single malts Chivas uses to create their whiskies: Allt A’Bhainne, Braeval, Longmorn, Strathisla and Tormore.

ColorDeep orange amber, copper
NoseVanilla, cinnamon, spices, oak, honey, sherry, caramel, burnt orange peel, coconut, malt, peaches, fruit
TasteHoney, fruit, malt, dried fruits, vanilla, sherry, cloves, cinnamon, citrus, toffee, ginger, spice, oak, pepper, caramel, chocolate, oranges
FinishMedium – long: Dry, bitter, warm, toffee, pepper, honey, floral, spice, malt
Average Score – 85

Chivas Regal Ultis is a complex, well-balanced whisky with a medium – full body and lots of depth. It’s sweet and smooth with a great flavor profile. This is not surprising considering it’s a 100% malt blend and has a significantly higher ABV than the other Chivas whiskies.

The only question is whether for the price, it’s value for money. Once again, if price is not a factor for you, then this is definitely another Chivas whisky you’ll want to try.

You can buy a bottle of Chivas Regal Ultis here.

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Josh Mitchell

I'm Josh Mitchell. I love whiskey and am working on increasing my whiskey tasting abilities and my collection.

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