Chivas Regal is known for its stable of reliable scotch whiskies, including the ubiquitous Chivas 12 as well as other age-statement expressions, like Chivas 18 and Chivas 25. But the brand has been putting together an interesting collection in recent years. Chivas Regal Mizunara finishes a portion of the blend in Japanese Mizunara oak casks, and Chivas Extra 13 is a series of releases that features an extra cask — like Olorosso sherry or tequila — and an extra year of aging.
Now here’s Chivas XV, a blended scotch that was created by Chivas Regal’s Director of Blending Sandy Hyslop and his team. After a few years overseas, it’s now available in the U.S. market. Chivas XV is aged for a minimum of 15 years in French oak before a portion of the liquid is finished in Grande Champagne Cognac casks. It’s a permanent edition to the Chivas range, and 750 mL bottles are available for a reasonable $49.99.
Chivas XV is light on the nose, which is fairly common among blended scotches (Whisky World has a good primer blended scotch). But dig in and you’ll find cooked apples, oranges, honey, almonds, and a slight medicinal note. On the palate, Chivas XV brings in pears, raisins, caramel, creme brulee, and mild oak, and from start to finish there’s a well-balanced mingling of lively fruit with dessert-like qualities. This isn’t the most complex whisky, but it’s enjoyable and friendly, and there’s enough going on to please veteran scotch drinkers and Chivas fans.
Given the whisky’s easygoing nature and affordable price point, Chivas suggests a few cocktail options for drinkers who want to go beyond straight pours: Try it in a Gold Rush (in this case featuring scotch instead of the usual bourbon), or anything involving Champagne.