What you think about Scotch greatly depends on where and when you grew up. If you grew up in Scotland, it’s probably the first thing that comes to mind when you are prompted with the word liquor.
In the United States, however, it might be one of the last liquors that comes to mind. No street teams are going to college bars pushing Scotch on young co-eds.
Scotch companies aren’t lining up to put their logo on the hood of a Nascar race car. Scotch has a certain sophistication and mystery to it.
Scotch is the favorite drink of fictional characters, Ron Swanson from “Parks and Recreation” and Ron Burgundy from “Anchorman.”
They are the personification of Scotch in that they are mustachioed, sophisticated, and most likely drinking Scotch in a wood-paneled room.
Even though the Ron’s are an accurate depiction of the typical Scotch drinker, it’s time to move beyond these pre-conceived notions. Chivas Regal is the mature yet cool and approachable Scotch that is expanding the boundaries of taste.
A Brief History of Chivas Regal
Like many great creations in this world, Chivas Regal started out with a very modest beginning. Two brothers, James, and John Chivas, left their small rustic village in Scotland and go to the big city.
The big city they ended up in was called Aberdeen. Once in Aberdeen, they worked at and eventually started running a grocery store.
This grocery was likely different from your neighborhood grocer, as it had a cellar under it where the Chivas brothers started aging and blending whisky.
Maybe this would be a good time to ask grocery stores if you can see their cellar?
The Chivas brothers became well known for their fine blended whisky and their business started booming.
With the exception of prohibition, the company has continued to produce some of the finest blended Scotch whisky and make it available all throughout the globe. Chivas Regal is a blended Scotch whisky.
Scotch whisky is a specific subset of whisky that is made in Scotland. Its production is similar to other whiskies, but there are some specific traits that make it Scotch whisky.
Water, yeast, and malted barley are heated up to create a mash – peat is often incorporated into the malting process to give Scotch its smoky qualities.
From there, the liquid, also known as wort, is fermented, distilled, and then put in oak barrels for at least three years.
For some Scotch, the journey ends there, but for Chivas Regal, that’s when more fun begins in the form of blending.
Blending is a process where different barrels of Scotch whisky are combined to give a more well-rounded or more specific profile. Blending can sometimes have a bad reputation when higher quality whisky is blended with a lower quality whisky.
That is definitely not the case for the premium brands, like Chivas Regal. They blend with only the finest product from the Strathisla distillery, which is the oldest continuously operating distillery in the Scottish Highlands.
Chivas Regal has changed ownership a few times but has been part of the French company Pernod Ricard since 2001.
Chivas Regal has an extensive collection of special variations of blended scotch whisky. Most variations are named by the time spent aging, the type of casks, or a combination of the two.
They go from a range of very affordable to extremely rare and expensive. In general, they are all 80 proof (40% alcohol by volume).
- Chivas 12 is the classic version of Chivas Regal. This signature blended scotch whisky has been aged for 12 years. The 12 year is complex in flavor but budget-friendly.
- Chivas Mizunara is a very special blend in that it is the world’s first blended scotch whisky that was finished in Mizunara oak casks.
- Chivas Extra 13 was aged for 13 years in Oloroso sherry casks.
- Chivas XV is a 15-year-old whisky that was aged in cognac casks.
- Chivas 18 is, you guessed it, an 18-year-old blended scotch whisky. This bottle is touted for its “85 unique flavor notes in every drop.”
- Chivas Ultis is known as one of the more rare variations of Chivas Regal. This is a blend of 5 single malt whiskies.
- Chivas 25 is not only rare but considered legendary due to its history. Chivas 25 was originally introduced in New York in 1909 only to be put down by prohibition. Now it’s back in all its glory, aged 25 years.
- Chivas the Icon is the undisputed heavyweight champion of the Chivas Regal collection. Chivas The Icon is the definition of iconic, premium, and luxury blended Scotch whisky.
Chivas Regal Alternatives and Comparisons
Chivas Regal is produced in the oldest continuously working distillery in Scotland, which makes it very special. That being said, there are some alternatives out there when looking for a nice Scotch whisky.
Dewar’s, established in 1846, is a fine Scotch whisky that produces both single malt and blended whiskies. Similar to Chivas Regal, Dewar’s has an extended line of variations ranging from the affordable to the very rare.
Dewar’s White Label is their most economically priced and top-selling variety. Dewar’s is currently owned by Bacardi. Another big name in Scotch whisky is Johnnie Walker.
Johnnie Walker is the most widely distributed blended Scotch whisky in the world. Johnnie Walker had similar beginnings to the Chivas brothers in that it all started in a grocery store in Scotland.
Again, similar to Chivas Regal, Johnnie Walker has a long line of variants. The two most notable would be the Red Label and Black Label.
Red Label is a top seller as it is at the low end of price for quality blended whisky and has found a lot of success in mixed drinks. Black Label is a 12-year and is more in line with the Chivas Regal 12-year.
The Johnnie Walker line is currently owned by Diageo.
Monkey Shoulder Scotch whisky, named after a common injury in whisky production, is a family-owned company around since 1887. Their Batch 27 ranks up with Chivas Regal 12 and is marketed as an excellent cocktail mixer.
How to Drink Chivas Regal
For the purists out there, Chivas Regal is best enjoyed neat, with a drop of water on the rocks, with club soda, or with ginger ale. For those looking for more adventure, the smooth flavor of Chivas Regal is also a great base for cocktails.
A rocks glass will do you right when drinking Chivas Regal 99% of the time, but if you want to have a luxurious tasting experience, you may want to turn to the Glencairn glass.
This is a glass that was designed to send the aroma right to your nose as you’re imbibing.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Is Chivas Regal a scotch or whisky?
Chivas Regal is a blended Scotch whisky. Whisky is the overarching name of distilled liquor made from fermented grains and aged in wooden barrels. Scotch whisky is a specific type of whisky.
There are actually very strict rules for being able to label something as Scotch whisky. Scotch whisky must be made in Scotland and must be made from malted barley.
Scotch whisky typically has a smoky flavor due to the incorporation of peat into the early malting process. Confused yet? Another fun fact is that whisky is spelled differently depending on where it was produced.
Whisky in Scotland, Canada, and Japan. Whiskey in the United States and Ireland.
2. What do you mix with Chivas Regal?
Chivas Regal is a great addition to any cocktail. Here are some suggestions:
Rob Roy – classic cocktail
- 2 ounces Chivas Regal
- ¾ ounce sweet vermouth
- 3 dashes Angostura bitters
- Garnish with a brandied cherry
Mamie Taylor Cocktail – in the vein of a Moscow Mule
- 2 ounces Chivas Regal
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
- 4-6 ounces ginger ale (or ginger beer)
- Garnish with a lime wedge
Whisky in Church – smoky and complex
- 2 ounces Chivas Regal
- ¾ ounce Oloroso sherry
- 1 bar spoon grade B maple syrup
- 6 dashes smoked cherry bitters
- Garnish with a lemon twist
3. Is Chivas Regal single malt or blended?
Chivas Regal is a blended Scotch whisky. Single malt means that the product would need to have been distilled at a single distillery. There are actually very strict rules for being able to label something as single malt.
Blending is the process of combining multiple single malt whiskies. Blending is considered an art form, as it requires adept skill to pull the best traits from each single malt to form the perfect blend.
4. How do you pronounce Chivas Regal?
Shi – vuhs Ree – gl