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Chivas Regal 12 vs Chivas Regal 18: Which Wins?

Discover the differences between Chivas Regal 12 vs Chivas Regal 18 in this in-depth comparison and decide which whisky is better for You!

Chivas Regal 12

chivas-regal-12
NoseApple, vanilla, lemon curd
PalateApple, malt, oak, caramel, pepper
FinishShort, pepper
Alcohol content80 proof (40% ABV)
How to drinkHighball
Similar toBlack Label, Buchanan’s 12

The Chivas 12 is one of those whiskies that seem to have been around forever. A favorite among America’s boomer generation and quite popular in Latin America where it’s seen as a sign of status.

The nose is full of apple juice aroma which is a common theme among Chivas Regal whiskies, along notes of vanilla and lemon curd.

On the palate Chivas Regal is quite light with not much body, it has oak notes with a touch of caramel and hints of green apple, cinnamon and black pepper.

Finish is short and light with peppery notes and a bit of heat to it, but not harsh.

Nothing special or remarkable about the Chivas 12 but nothing terrible.

I would not drink it neat as I feel it somewhat peppery and bitter but it makes a decent dram to mix with soda making an enjoyable highball.

The taste is not bright, but everything that is needed from a Scotch whisky is present and its price makes it appealing.

Not the easiest whisky but in a highball or in mixed drink becomes quite competent and one of the best Scotch whiskies to make cocktails.

There are a few facts worth knowing about the Chivas 12:

  • This whisky is a blend of grain and malt whiskies crafted in an undisclosed number of distilleries across Scotland. 
  • Each one of the whiskies in the blend was aged for at least 12 years before bottling.

Chivas Regal 18

chivas-18
NoseApple, vanilla, pear
PalateRipe fruit, oak, vanilla, plum
FinishLong, vanilla, apple, oak
Alcohol content80 proof (40% ABV)
How to drinkAdd water
Similar toGreen Label, Glenfiddich 18

Chivas 18 is not a Single Salt but a blend of 20 Single Malt whiskies, each aged for at least 18 years and crafted in distilleries owned by Pernod Ricard across Scotland.

Chivas assures that the core spirit in the blend is Single Malt Scotch coming from the Strathisla distillery, which was established in 1786 and is the oldest working distillery in the Scottish Highlands.

Nose is mild with the aforementioned apple juice aroma, along vanilla and pear.

Flavor hits with ripe fruity, vanilla, plum and subtle oak. There is a bit of warmth mid-palate but is not harsh or burny.

The finish lingers with vanilla, apple and a touch of oak spice with a bit of a bite coming late to the party.

Overall, the Chivas 18 is well balanced, not too complex, but a nice easy drinker where nothing really stands out, although a bit warmer than expected.

Drinks OK neat, but becomes better when adding a drop of water. I would not use it as a mixer when you can use the 12 YO saving good money.

There are a few facts worth knowing about the Chivas Regal 18:

  • The Wine Enthusiast called the Chivas 18 “one of the finest blended scotches in the world”.
  • The whisky expert Paul Pacult called it: “blended scotch doesn’t get any better than this.”

Chivas 12 vs 18: Price comparison

Prices are approximate and stated in USD:

WhiskyPrice
Chivas Regal 12$27
Chivas Regal 18$58

Chivas 12 vs Chivas 18: Which is Better?

The 18 YO is a smoother whisky

WhiskeyChivas 12Chivas 18
Nose
Body
Palate
Finish
Value
  • The 18 YO is vastly superior, it still has some warming and peppery notes but drinks entirely better than the 12 YO.
  • Add a dash of water to it or a large ice ball and it becomes completely drinkable.
  • If you are exclusively looking for a mixer to make highball then the Chivas 12 is a better choice as it’s more affordable and the peppery characters makes more punchy highballs.

Chivas Regal

Chivas Brothers started-out as an upscale grocery store in the Scottish town of Aberdeen. In addition to selling luxurious foods, coffee and spices, the store offered French brandies and Caribbean rums.

Widely considered the finest purveyors in all of Scotland (Whole Foods of the 19th century) at the time Chivas Brothers was granted a royal warrant to provide goods to Queen Victoria.

James and John Chivas, who joined the family business in the mid-19th century, noticed a growing demand among their affluent customers for a smoother whisky as this was kinda rough at the time.

Unsatisfied with the whiskies available on the market, James and John began experimenting with their own blends, quickly building a reputation as pioneers in the art of whisky blending.

The siblings released their first blend, Royal Glen Dee, in the 1850s, followed shortly thereafter by Royal Strathythan, each providing a springboard for future Chivas Regal releases.

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