Chivas Regal 18yo Gold Signature

Time to get back to my reviews of 18 year old whisky and this time it is of a blended scotch whisky that has an age statement. Here are my views on the Chivas Regal 18yo (aka Gold Signature). Chivas Regal’s home is Strathisla Distillery at Keith, Moray in Speyside, Scotland. Strathisla is the oldest working Highland distillery which was founded in 1786.

Chivas Regal_18yo_The Smoky DramWhiskey: Chivas Regal 18yo Gold Signature, 43% ABV (Cost around R900)

Region: Speyside, Scotland

Style: Blended Scotch Whisky

Age: 18 years

Chivas Regal is a blended Scotch whisky that is produced by Chivas Brothers. Chivas Brothers can trace their roots back to the opening of a grocery store at 13 King St, Aberdeen in 1801. This grocery store sold luxury foodstuffs such as coffee, exotic spices, French brandies and Caribbean rums to a wealthy clientele. In 1842, Chivas Brothers was retained to supply provisions to the royal family at Balmoral Castle upon Queen Victoria’s first visit to Scotland.

The Chivas 18 year old is a blend that includes over 20 single malts from around Scotland, all who have been whiskies that were matured for at least 18 years, including the Strathisla Single Malt. Apparently there are 85 flavour notes in the Chivas Regal 18 year old.

Colour: Bright dark burnished gold to amber with many very thick legs.

Nose: Banana, dried fruits (xmas cake) and slight dark chocolate. Wonderfully rich with a butteryness to it that is accentuated with some toffee, caramel and honeyed sweetness, This is followed by a slight sweet smokiness and touch of ginger spiciness. Quite a balanced and pleasing nose.

Palate: A lovely smooth and full mouth feel greets you. There is spiciness and a sweet smokiness to it, with some richness and dried fruits. Mellow and warm drinking, with dark chocolate and a tongue tingling spiciness (sweet ginger) rounding out the palate. I do find some more individual flavour and depth to it.

Finish: Medium to long. Warm, dried fruits and spicy flavours that stay around.

Overall: I find the Chivas Regal 18yo a well-balanced and very easy drinking whisky, an almost too easy drinking whisky.

My Score: 82

The Black Grouse

From one blend type to another, this time a review of a blended scotch whisky – The Black Grouse. A blended whisky is a mixture of both malt and grain whisky. Also a blend usually comprises whisky from various distilleries so that the blender can produce a flavour consistent with the brand.

Black Grouse_The Smoky DramWhisky: The Black Grouse, 43% ABV (Cost around R180)

Region: Scotland

Style: Blended Scotch Whisky

Age: NAS

The Black Grouse (Tetrao tetrix) is a rare relative of Scotland’s national game bird, the Red Grouse. When The Black Grouse was launched, The Famous Grouse made a commitment to preserve this rare game bird by donating 50 pence from each bottle sold to the conservation efforts of The Black Grouse habitat. To date they have raised £300,000 to date and is on target to raise a further £150,000 by 2014 to support black grouse conservation in the UK where the bird is endangered. For more interesting Famous Grouse facts, see  10 things you did not know about The Famous Grouse.

The Black Grouse Blended Scotch Whisky is a marriage of The Famous Grouse (which includes Highland Park and The Macallan whiskies) with Islay malt whiskies. The smoky influence of the peated malts is balanced by the trademark smoothness of The Famous Grouse to create underlying hints of cocoa and spice. A long, smoky, aromatic finish.

Colour: Deep rich gold to burnished with long, very thick and slow legs.

Nose: Lovely gentle and not over powering peaty smoke at first, swiftly followed by seaweed and wet wood. There is also a sherried dried fruits and caramel sweetness, with cocoa and spice rounding the nose out. Fragrant and leads one onto the palate.

Palate: Medium and balanced. More of that light peaty smokiness as well as a lovely savouriness with a smooth and warm mouth feel. Sweetness is revealed by more of the sherried dried fruits and caramel. Nice wood spice tingle that starts on the tip of ones tongue, which then mellows out on the whole tongue. Lovely savouriness towards the end of the palate.

Finish: Long sweet peaty smoke and spicy finish that is balanced with a beautiful warm heart. Smooth finish with more of that cocoa and savouriness at the very end.

Overall: I like the way the peaty smoke integrates with the sweeter nuances of the whisky, the flavours really harmonise together pleasantly. I find the balance and overall structure of the whisky to be very well done. This is most probably one of the best whisky’s that one can use to introduce someone to smoky whiskies.

My Score: 83