Chivas and Chivas Regal have a bright and long history in the Whisky business.
They have their home in the Strathisla Distillery in Moray, Speyside and were one of the first distilleries to operate in the Highlands having been founded in 1786.
Today they are owned by drinks giant Pernod Ricard but the brand was original started by the Chivas Brothers, who were an independent drinks company until they were bought by Pernod Ricard in the 1990s.
Their core range includes six different expressions, each of which is made from the finest ingredients.
Their best-selling blend is a 12 Year Old Chivas Regal that won Gold in both the International Wine and Spirits Competition and the Scotch Whisky Masters in 2015.
It opens with a nose of sweet orchard fruits and honey. These flavours mix well together and complement each other perfectly.
There is a crisp tang to the fruits, with ripe red apples and pears coming through. These add a nice contrast to the mellow and slightly saccharine honey that is also obvious.
There is an undertone of fresh cut grass and herbs that adds depth and refinement beside the sweeter flavours.
The orchard fruits are bolstered by a wooded note as well, with a few tannins and oak notes coming through.
On the palate the flavours mix well, with the honey and wood melting together to become a smooth, slightly aromatic vanilla.
This also lends a fantastic mouth feel, which is smooth and sleek.
The sweetness continues and the apples and pears make themselves more known. They provide an acidic background to the more neutral nuttiness that also develops alongside the wood notes.
All in all this is a wonderfully sweet blend, with a nice subtle all spice note in the background.
The finish lingers just long enough and has a nice warming sugary note to it.
Next up is the Chivas Regal 18 Year Old. This is blend that brings together multiple layers of flavour to create a perfect Whisky harmony.
The nose opens with thick, chewy toffee coated in rich dark chocolate, with candied orange peel on top.
The citrus notes add a nice bite to the chocolate, which just melts the longer you to appreciate it.
Dried fruits such as raisins and apricots also come in and add to the chewy toffee flavour. This is a full bodied and well rounded dram, with lots of aromas that meld together rather than compete.
This continues onto the palate where it is all brought together with a nice oak barrel note.
A bitter dark chocolate comes to the foreground, with the dried fruits given it depth. Again, it melts in the mouth and is a nice complement to the sweeter flavours.
The oak ties everything together, developing the chocolate and fruits and adding a warming hint of spice.
There is also a slightly smoky quality that wafts across the other flavours to make a nice background.
This ties in with the spice to make for a warming and interesting finish.
The Chivas Regal 25 Year Old has more of a fruitier base than the Chivas Regal 18 Year Old, with lots of peach and apricot flavours.
These are first present on the nose where they are joined by malt and summer berries.
The malt provides a nice sounding board for the tangy fruits to bounce off and make themselves known.
There is also a sweet marzipan and nut flavour, with pecans and hazelnuts also joining. These go hand in hand with the bite of the summer berries.
The palate has a distinctly buttery quality, with a slight liquorice twist to it. These flavours are nice against the sweeter fruit flavours, which are also joined by citrus notes.
A lovely orange and lemon zest that stands out against the subtler, sweeter notes.
The orange goes well with a slightly spicy note that coats everything and ties it all together. This blend is excellent at mixing its various flavours and allowing them to melt into each other seamlessly.
The finish does not last long but has a smooth ending, with lots of creaminess and a last orange and lemon tang.
After the 25 Year Old we have the Chivas Regal Extra. This is a dram with a rich Sherry character to it, having been matured in the finest Oloroso casks from Spain.
Due to its Sherry heritage the nose is filled with fruits and spices, and a wonderfully bitter dark chocolate tone.
The fruits are dry and give a full-bodied quality to the dram. They are dusted with cinnamon and nutmeg to give them a warming quality.
There is also a creamy caramel note that stands out against the dark chocolate and adds a sugary sweetness to this expression.
This finds its feet on the palate, where it joins with oak wooded notes to create a slightly vanilla tone, with lots of cinnamon in it as well. The caramel and cinnamon complement each other endlessly.
The wood also grows into a sweet nut flavour, with hazelnuts and almonds coming through, adding a slightly oily texture.
Orchard fruits such as pears and plums give depth to the dram, filling it with sweetness and a crispness that stands out against the smooth, creamy caramel.
On the finish these melt away and are replaced with a dark chocolate flavour that is smooth and easy going.
This takes us into our next blend in the range, the Chivas Brother’s Blend.
This was created in memory of John and James Chivas, who started the brand and are responsible for some of the blends that are still created today.
This blend is full of character and sweetness. It bursts with pears, apricots, apples and peaches, giving it a soft fruity background.
At the front of all of this is a rich honey a sweet citrus flavour, with the tang of the oranges soften by the smooth honey.
Things get sweeter still with soft bon bons and marshmallow notes also making an appearance.
These become toasted white sugar on the palate, which is wonderfully complemented by the fruits.
It becomes white syrup that glosses over the crispy tang of the apples and pears.
The mouth feel is soft and smooth, going down very easily. The caramel adds creaminess here as well.
The fruits really take the lead on the palate, adding a nice cushioning to the somewhat sharper caramel flavours.
They are also evident in the finish, which is long and luxurious. The caramel rounds everything up well and puts the perfect finish on a dram the Chivas Brothers would be proud of.
This brings us to our final dram in the Chivas range: The Icon.
Aptly named, this expression is known as the pinnacle of the range and is made up of 20 rare Scotches.
It is filled with orchard flavours such as fruits and honey, all brought together by a wooded tone that becomes a deep dark chocolate.
The fruits are soft and elegant, with lots of pears and apples coming through. These are coated in honey that just drips off them and gives a real depth and character to the dram.
There is also a nice citrus edge to the nose that adds a wonderful sharpness against the soft orchard notes.
This continues into the palate where it is joined by rich wooded notes and sweet nuts such as pecans and hazelnuts.
These act as a balancing board for the sweeter fruit flavours, continuing to add depth to the dram.
They are rich and subtle, with enough wooded tones to make the sweeter fruits stand out that bit more.
The sweetness of the oak comes through here too, with a touch of vanilla joining the honey orchard fruits.
These are tied up perfectly in the finish which long and lasting. It lingers enough to allow you to fully enjoy each little atom of flavour, rounding up with one final shot of honeyed sweetness.
Whats your favourite Chivas Regal blended Scotch whisky? For me it has to be between the Chivas Regal 18 Year Old and the Chivas Regal 25 Year Old.
Also published on Medium.