Chivas Regal 18 year is the politician and statesman of the blended malt whisky world. Like a politician, it is smooth with a rather polished package. Also like a politician, the crazy thing about this premium blend is that everyone either loves it or hates it.
There are many reasons to love the Chivas Regal 18. It was personally crafted by Colin Scott, Master Blender of Whisky Magazine, and recommended by the magazine as well. It is balanced and smooth, with a pleasant sweetness. There are a lot of flavors, but they have been blended by the master to create a balanced whole. Although it is a great beginner’s whisky, it is somewhat wasted on a newbie simply because they cannot appreciate this simple pleasure.
Here are a few elements of Chivas Regal 18 year that might turn you off completely: it is extremely smooth, to the point that many connoisseurs even find it a little boring and unchallenging. Its sweetness also can be a mixed blessing; while some enjoy a sweeter whisky, others want a more dry experience. It’s a matter of taste with no right or wrong answer. There is also very little peat, which typically dominates a Scotch whisky.
This whisky will not challenge or mystify the connoisseur. It has an easily identifiable mix of flavors and, unlike the politicians that we compared it to, no real surprises. However, this is not to say that it is too predictable. Sometimes you want a predictably enjoyable drink.
To break it down:
Nose: 19/25. There is a bit of peat in the nose of Chivas Regal 18, but the main influences are malt and citrus flavors. After a moment or two, chocolate and vanilla elements begin to evolve along with a little spice. There is something pleasantly ‘hot’ in there as well, like pepper.
Palate: 21/25. The first impression is sweetness, but it is a mix of several sweet flavors and thus pleasant. Dried oranges blend with rich honey tastes. There is a little malt and sherry, and even some chocolate in the mix. This scotch has a medium body with no notable elements except for a noticeable lack of bite or burn. Its smoothness is legendary for a reason!
Finish: 17/25. This is one of those love-it-or-hate-it aspects of this drink. Because blended scotches typically use grain whiskies in the blend, and this one is no exception, there is a little grain in the finish that is not necessarily agreeable. We found it well-balanced by other flavors, but it was nonetheless present. However, the main tastes you will notice are wood, honey, and malt, with just a hint of spice.
Character: 18/25. If we had to describe this whisky in one word, it would be ‘smooth’. However, we don’t want you to confuse that with ‘boring’. The Chivas Regal 18 year is complex and masterfully blended for a pleasing mix of flavors. It is a ‘safe’ drink that will be enjoyed by both aficionados and occasional scotch drinkers—most of them, that is.
Overall Rating: 75/100