Review: Chivas Regal 12

Chivas Regal 12

There are 3 reasons why people drink Chivas Regal 12:

  1. They didn’t have Johnnie Walker Black at the bottle store.
  2. They had Johnnie Walker Black, but Chivas was cheaper.
  3. Drinking Chivas rather than Johnnie feels less like you’re enabling a gigantic marketing machine.

Both aged for a dozen years, both in a similar (affordable) price bracket and both aiming for a very unique, signature style, it’s easy to see why Chivas 12 and Johnnie Black sell like hotcakes in South Africa. But is Chivas really just doomed to be “the other one” in the face of Diageo’s monstrous best-seller? Let’s see how it stacks up:

  • Nose:

Ahhh, Scotch. Fruity and malty. Bourbon barrels right up the nostrils – floral, vanilla, caramel. A great whiff of white chocolate, and loads of Speyside style fruit going on there, bananas, apples, a little lemon and raisins. Not much smoke or peat – this isn’t trying to be JWB.

  • Taste:

Easy drinking. Caramel and vanilla, sherbet, pepper and something light and vegetal – cucumber (?). Some sweet citrus gives it a faintly sour bite, rounded of with the slightest hint of peat, barely enough to register. Overall… great stuff!

  • Water:

Like its arch-nemesis this stuff is afraid of water, and on contact releases a deadly mixture of bland, floral flavours in defence. Pass on the water or the ice!

Review: Chivas Regal 12

Review: Chivas Regal 12


Chivas Regal 12 is pretty great, and deserves better than my sarcasm. A rich, inviting aged blend, and tastier than most entry or mid-level single malts at a fraction of the price. Not as brooding as JWB, so share a glass with some buddies, or drink it on the stoep after a long day in Africa. Nice!

Chivas Regal 12
Quality: Good
Price: Inexpensive
See my rating guide here

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