Not pictured are the 18-year-old and 25-year-old expressions of the Glenlivet.
Let’s try something new here. Instead of devoting an entire article to each expression of Glenlivet, I’m combining reviews of their Classic Range into one post. The Classic Range is comprised of the following age-stated expressions: 12 year old (yo), 15 yo, 18 yo, 21 yo and 25 yo.
Founded in 1824, The Glenlivet has pretty much distilled continuously since. The 12-year-old expression is the biggest selling single malt here in the U.S., and second biggest selling in the world right behind The Glenfiddich 12-year-old. It’s the first bottle of single malt I’ve ever owned, given to me by a neighbor as a welcome gift. Definitely an easy whisky to get into. After tasting this expression, I had to pick up bottles of older Glenlivet to see what age (and different barrels) do to the flavors and aromas. Let’s get into the whiskies.
The latest offering from Chivas Regal is Chivas Regal Extra. What’s extra about it? It’s got a higher percentage of whiskies aged in sherry casks. I happen to like sherried whiskies… then again I happen to like all whiskies. Something else of note: this new blend from Chivas Regal has no age statement (NAS), and is positioned (price-wise) between the 12-year-old and 18-year-old expressions. So, how is it?
The sherry influence comes across in the nose. There is lots more fruit here than the standard 12-year-old Chivas Regal. Underneath is creamy vanilla, crisp fruit and cinnamon spice. The body is a little thin. I suspect the low proof (40% abv) is the culprit. Despite the mouthfeel, it does seem rich. Beyond the sherried fresh fruit (apple, pear), some cinnamon spice comes across in a refreshing way, providing a welcome little kick. I also detect some vanilla, toffee, and the slightest hint of peat. The finish here is not quite medium in length, and carries over that candied cinnamon note.
I’ve got to hand it to Chivas Regal. They’ve put together a really nice NAS blend here. I think their 12-year-old expression is a bit on the bland side, but that’s not a concern here. The extra sherry casks breathe some life into the signature Chivas Regal flavor profile. Priced at about $45 a bottle, this whisky comes recommended!
Chivas Regal is one of the best selling blended whiskies in the world. Just like its largest competitor, Johnnie Walker, Chivas Regal was founded by a grocer. It can be traced back to the mid-1800s. In the early 20th century, Chivas Regal finally found its way to the U.S., where it enjoyed tremendous success. Sinatra even called it one of his favorite Scotch whiskies. It’s available just about everywhere.
On the nose, there’s toffee, orange peel, apple, and raisin. I get a little fruitiness that borders on sherry. That note is easily picked out on the palate. There’s a creaminess, malt, honey, vanilla and a touch of peat. The flavors are a tad muted overall. It could be due to the low abv, which here clocks in at 40%. The finish is medium in length, with a sweet maltiness becoming dry.
Chivas Regal 12-year-old is a quality entry-level drink that many people around the world enjoy. It’s non-offensive and a little muted for me. If you want to try a decent “beginner” scotch, give this one a go. It’s also a great deal for an aged whisky at about $25-$30 for a bottle.