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Chivas Regal 12 Year Old

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@OdysseusUnboundReview by @OdysseusUnbound

18th Jan 2020


Chivas Regal 12 Year Old
  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

  • This sample was graciously provided by @Nozinan
  • The whisky was opened Dec 9/2017, and the sample poured May 29/2019
  • Sipped neat from a Glencairn glass

Tasting notes

  • Nose: It's a bit shy, and comes across as fairly light. There are equal parts red fruit, honey, and graham crackers. After a rest in the glass, a touch of spices come through, but they're muted. There's something slightly floral developing; almost a light peat-smoke from a Highland or Speyside whisky or maybe barrel char from a North American whisky. There's also a slight creamy aroma in the background. A blend perhaps? After a longer rest there's vanilla and caramel appearing
  • Palate: light to almost medium bodied, fruity (strawberries? light cherries?), soft caramels, a touch of spice, a bit of cocoa powder, some black pepper coming through.
  • Finish: vanilla at first, a bit of oak, a slight nuttiness, some cloves, honey, and a touch of orange zest bitterness near the end of the finish.

Thought process

This is sweet whisky, and it definitely feels light. I'd guess this is 40%-43% abv. With time in the glass, the red fruit aromas become more faint (which is disappointing- they were lovely) and the vanilla and caramel become a bit more prominent. I was convinced this was a single malt whisky at first, but I'm less certain with time. The bitterness on the finish has me thinking Forty Creek as many of their whiskies finish this way. It can be refreshing when it's well integrated, but when it's not, the bitterness is too prominent and becomes a distraction. This whisky feels a bit disjointed: the nose and first part of the taste profile feel like a different style of whisky than the end of the flavour development and finish. As time goes on, this whisky gets less distinct and more "generic", if that makes sense. There are some nice things going on for sure, but it's a bit out of balance or Koyaanisqatsi, if you're a Godfrey Reggio/Philip Glass fan.

I always enjoy blind samplings because they keep me honest. No preconceived notions, just honest assessing and final scoring. I'm also grateful that this blind sample was an ordinary whisky. It's fun to see how we perceive "work-a-day" whiskies when we don't have the marketing blah blah to guide us. I didn't have a mouthgasm, but I didn't spit it out in disgust while cursing the heavens either.

  • Would I buy order this in a bar or pub? Sure. Especially if I was out with co-workers for a casual drink and I knew I wasn't going to nose intensely, this whisky is fine and dandy. Heck, I might even sip it on the rocks.
  • Would I accept a glass if offered? I would, and I have. My wife's cousin lives down the street from us. Her husband is a dedicated blend drinker (JW Black is his usual go-to) and he has this on hand at least once or twice a year.
  • Would I buy a bottle of this? Unlikely. It's $55 and for that price I can get Arran 10 Year old which I like better.

Thanks, as always, to @Nozinan for his generosity.

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Nozinan commented

Great review! I really enjoy the thought processes that go into your blind tastings.

I should add that this particular sample was apparently bottled "before the war". In my review of it I explain the circumstances and how, with help, I was able to determine that the war was probably the first Gulf war.

4 years ago 0

Victor commented

@OdysseusUnbound well executed review. This reads very close to my experiences of Chivas 12. I have 2 bottles of it now, both received as gifts. One of them is from 35 years ago, one from the last 10 years. It was a little nicer and a little higher in ABV in the more distant past.

4 years ago 1Who liked this?

casualtorture commented

I got a kick out of your tasting note tags at the bottom. "Smooooooooth."

4 years ago 1Who liked this?