By Kenrick Thurston-Wilcox
Introduced in 1997, Chivas Regal 18 Year Old is a blend of malt and grain whiskies from all around Scotland. Chivas owns the oldest continuously operated distillery in Scotland, Strathisla, which is at the heart of the Chivas Regal blends.
The 12 Year Old blend, being woody and fruity, was a little weak in the nose and palate department, yet finished strong. Popular thinking says the extra six years should make for a much better whisky, but how does the 18 Year Old actually compare?
The color is a nice light amber, that leans towards a straw color, indicative of the 6 extra years spent in the barrels. On the nose, which is meaty and robust, milk chocolate is present, supported next by vanilla undertones. It’s decadent and a pleasure to smell. The nose is unfortunately let down by the palate. Following in the 12 Year’s footsteps, the 18 Year Old too is watery and thin, which is probably to do with the 40% ABV bottling. It’s also a little sharp on first taste, with woody notes rearing their head up, same as the 12 Year, yet less overpowering with more complexity. Vanilla is present, closely followed by sherry notes hiding in the back. The finish is nice and long, though bland with sherry wood being the primary note. A couple drops of water did change the experience. The nose felt a little washed out, though did introduce some caramel. On the palate the liquid felt more robust and meaty, though not as complex and the finish slightly sharp and astringent.
Compared to the 12 Year Old, the 18 is better rounded, and more likely to please the average whisky drinker, which is to be expected. The nose is extremely pleasant and invites you in with it’s aroma. The palate unfortunately does not hold up to the promise set forth by the nose. The finish is nice and long but is just missing something to make it stand out.
Chivas Regal 18 Year Old can be found online for $79.99 for a 750ml bottle.