Chivas Regal is one of the bestselling blended Scotch whisky brands in the world. More importantly it was one of the first whiskies I ever tried. I wanted to do a proper review of the seven main Chivas Regal whiskies to see what they were like in general and how they compared with each other. Here’s what I found.
1. Chivas Regal 12 Year Old
- Price: $34.99 approx. for 750ml
This whisky 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.
Color: Amber, gold
Nose: Apple, vanilla, toffee, honey, cereal, fruit, caramel
Taste: Honey, apples, caramel, fruit, grain, floral, vanilla
Finish: Short: Bitter, apple, grain, spice, fruit
Score – 72 / 100
Chivas Regal 12 is a sweet and smooth whisky that’s very easy to drink and difficult not to like. This makes it perfect for a wider audience and with whiskies like this it’s no wonder that Chivas Regal is one of the bestselling blended Scotch whisky brands in the world.
Of course, being a blended whisky, it has less flavors than your average single malt so you may find it too plain or boring in comparison. On the other hand, it does have enough flavors to make it better than other blends.
It’s also a decent quality whisky for a relatively low price.
2. 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. Mizunara is a more humid and porous wood which means that 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 account the fact that Mizunara is as mentioned, rare and expensive, but the price of a bottle is only around $50, I would estimate the answers are ‘not much’ and ‘not too long’ respectively.
Color: Amber, gold
Nose: Vanilla, honey, caramel, orange, apples, pears, toffee, cinnamon, herbs, cereal
Taste: Vanilla, oak, pears, honey, caramel, apples, oranges, pepper, cereal, clove
Finish: Short – medium: Oak, apples, pepper, honey, toffee, vanilla. Starts sweet but ends bitter
Score – 70 / 100
There was some influence from the Mizunara casks and the sweet caramel and vanilla flavors of the 12 were somewhat enhanced by mild exotic herbal notes and a bit of spice coming from the Mizunara casks, but it’s minimal and you really have to pay attention, especially on the nose, if you want to pick them up.
It may therefore be a slight improvement on the 12, but the minimal amount means that for me, this is only a whisky to try occasionally – to see if I get a better result.
3. Chivas Extra 13 Sherry Cask
- Price: $41.99 approx. for 750ml
This is classic Chivas Regal that’s been aged for at least 13 years, parts of it in ex-Oloroso sherry casks so as to magnify the sweet and rich notes of the whisky.
Color: Deep amber, gold
Nose: Caramel, chocolate, sherry, pears, apples, toffee, vanilla, oak
Taste: Vanilla, caramel, sherry, fruit, oak, grain, toffee
Finish: Short – Medium: Spices, oak, caramel
Score – 74 / 100
Like the 12, the Chivas Extra 13 is sweet, smooth and easy to drink. The extra year doesn’t give this whisky that many more flavors, so it still has less flavors than your average single malt but this time, there’s definitely a sherry character and sweetness to this whisky that comes from the cask.
If you like sherry and you like Chivas, then it’s worth trying out this expression since it’s not that much more expensive than the 12.
4. Chivas Regal XV
- 40% ABV
- Price: $44.24 approx. for 700ml
This Chivas blend is aged for at least 15 years, parts of which are finished in casks that previously held cognac. Hence the XV as opposed to 15, which is a nod to the cognac system that tends to use letters such as XO (Extra Old) and VS (Very Special) rather than age statements.
Color: Light amber
Nose: Honey, vanilla, cinnamon, oak, raisins, caramel, apples, pear, cognac
Taste: Caramel, toffee, vanilla, pears, oak, cinnamon, apples, honey, raisins
Finish: Medium – long: Spicy, vanilla, fruity, sweet, bitter
Score – 76 / 100
This is another Chivas whisky that’s sweet, smooth and easy to drink and while it’s definitely more complex and fruity than the 12, we’re still not into single malt territory yet.
As for the effect of the cognac cask on the whisky, it was noticeable but limited, somewhat enhancing the fruity flavors in the Chivas blend.
5. Chivas Regal 18 Year Old
- 40% ABV
- Price: $82.99 approx. for 750ml
This whisky is aged for at least 18 years and has, Chivas claims, 85 flavor notes in every drop! Spoiler alert – it doesn’t. I couldn’t pick out all 85 flavors over many drops let alone in one.
Nose: Caramel, sherry, malt, toffee, vanilla, honey, dried fruits, oak, peat
Taste: Vanilla, honey, smoke, caramel, malt, oak, orange, sherry, chocolate
Finish: Short to medium: Smoke, grain, oak
Score – 80 / 100
Chivas Regal 18 is a good progression on the 12. It has many of the same elements (sweet, smooth and easy to drink) but the six extra years give it a much-needed maturity, which makes it pretty complex for a blended whisky.
The only problem is that it’s not a good enough progression to justify it being twice the price, for which you could buy something that would make the Chivas Regal 18 flavorless by comparison.
6. Chivas Regal 25 Years
- 40% ABV
- Price: $362.99 approx. for 750ml
This whisky is aged for at least 25 years and costs over $350. Need I say more.
Color: Deep gold
Nose: Caramel, vanilla, almonds, marzipan, chocolate, honey, orange, raisins
Taste: Vanilla, oak, oranges, chocolate, ginger, smoky, marmalade, caramel
Finish: Medium – long: Chocolate, smoke, oak
Score – 85 / 100
The Chivas Regal 25 Year Old is good. Very good. It’s only 40%ABV but it’s 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. It’s not the smoothest whisky in the world but it’s very, very smooth.
It’s also expensive. It’s not the most expensive whisky in the world but it’s very, very expensive.
7. 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.
Color: Deep copper
Nose: Vanilla, cinnamon, oak, honey, sherry, caramel, orange, malt, peaches
Taste: Honey, malt, vanilla, sherry, cinnamon, caramel, toffee, oranges, oak
Finish: Medium – long: Toffee, honey, spice, malt
Score – 85 / 100
Chivas Regal Ultis is a sweet and smooth whisky with a great flavor profile. It’s complex and well-balanced with a medium to full body and lots of depth. This is not surprising considering it’s a 100% malt blend, that also has a significantly higher ABV than other Chivas whiskies.
I’m not convinced its value for money, but it’s also not as expensive as the 25.