It happens to all of us. Don’t feel alone. About 6 months into a whisky hobby (an obsession, if you will), you feel like you have a decent handle on what’s in your glass. You understand process and fermentation. You start using words like “dram” and “juice” and other stupid descriptors. You also start saying that “blends aren’t as good as single malts.” Maybe you are right, but only to yourself. Everything in the whisky world is subjective, and it will take you a few years to fully understand that. The best way to prove that you are still a dumb ass when it comes to whisky is to take on a home blending project.
I tried this about 2 years ago, I began to formulate and blend my own mixture of Scotch whiskies to make a “Jim Blend.” And most importantly, I thought it was going to be the easiest thing in the world. This was pure ignorance. After 12 malts, the resulting blend married for a couple of years in my cabinet. I sampled from time to time. And every time, it was pretty awful. And I think I am pretty awesome at this whisky thing. Turns out I am not.
One such blend I am no longer standing in judgement over is Chivas Regal 18 Years Old. Comprised of 20 malts, Strathisla and Longmorn among them, the 18 clocks in at 40% ABV and is among the more affordable 18 year old whiskies, blend or not.
Nose- Sherry fruit, banana bread, pear. Vanilla oak, all notes medium strength. Herbal soap. Perfume, rose water. strawberry cream.
Taste- White wine. Watery. Pear and apricot. Nutty.
Finish- Barrel char. Some good weight. Tobacco. Chocolate. Some oak.
Comment- Well, for what it is, and for what it costs, not all that bad at all. What I would call a pleasant, non-contemplative pour. Goes down well, quite drinkable, but not going to knock your socks off. Very few blends readily available will top the value for money.
SWC Rating – 83/100