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Chivas Regal 18 and Johnnie Walker Blue Label

Posted by Reese on 2009-12-19 @ 10:08am

If you take a look through my liquor cabinet, you’re sure to notice that I like love whiskey, a lot.  If I’m sitting down to something other than a cocktail, it’s most likely a glass of single malt scotch.  I think Ron Burgundy summed it up nicely in Anchorman “I love scotch. Scotchy, scotch, scotch. Here it goes down, down into my belly…”  Well said good man, well said.

So, I was understandably excited when I got an email telling me that the Booze Fairy was bringing me samples of Chivas Regal 18 and Johnnie Walker Blue Label.  I’ve tried quite a few scotches, both blended and single malt, but I’d never had either of these.  I was giddy, to say the least.

The idea behind the combo shipment is not to contrast the two as much as it is to show that Chivas 18 is a great product on par with Blue Label.  You see, the problem with Blue Label is that it’s quite expensive ($230 for a 750ml at my local store).  Chivas 18 is much more affordable ($85 for a 750ml at the same store).

Being a man who likes to share, I invited some friends over to share the bounty and enjoy a whisky sampling with me.  There were 7 of us total ranging from whisk(e)y newbies to experienced enjoyers of the golden elixir.  I poured us each a dram and we got down to the task at hand.

Let’s start with the Blue Label.  It’s become somewhat of a legend in the whisky community.  It’s name spoken in hushed tones with a distinctly excited tone.  Understandably so.  The aroma is primarily of fresh caramel sweetness with a noticeable smokiness. It’s flavor starts with a medium level of smokiness followed by a very light sweetness.  Overall, this whisky is extremely smooth and truly delicious.  One of my friends summed up the experience intrestingly “You know what it tastes like to me?  Money.”  Well put.

Okay, now for the Chivas 18.  While quite less well known, I’d certainly like to think that this will change because this dram was equally delicious, but in other ways.  The aroma in the Chivas 18 includes a lot more fruity notes and nearly no smokiness.  From the smell you’re led to believe this whisky is going to be very smooth.  Your nose does not deceive you.  This dram has nearly no smoke with only subtle hints rolling in at the very end of the palate.  Rather, you get more fruity notes and still get a very nice caramel sweetness.  Overall another fantastic whisky.

Now it’s time to wrap this up.  First, let me say that I am deeply saddened that both of the small sample bottles were drained during the tasting because both of these whiskies are fantastic.  I would love to have both in my collection for slow sipping.  Second, I’d like to direct your attention to the title of this post.  Note that there is no versus up there.  That’s because it’s exceeding difficult to compare these two whiskies as their style and flavor are so different.  The one thing I will say is that I would definitely consider both of these to be on par as super premium drams.

The question that naturally follows is, would I spend the money for a bottle of Blue Label or would I reach for the Chivas instead?  Well, that’s tricky.  If I had $200 knocking around, I would love to have a bottle of Blue Label to call my own.  But, more realistically, I’d likely reach for the Chivas 18 much more often.  In addition, I would proudly present a bottle of the Chivas 18 to a friend as a gift and not feel that I was shorting them in the slightest.  Excellent tipples both.  Thank you, Booze Fairy.  You made 7 people very happy this week. :)

May your holidays be filled with drams as delicious as those we’ve sampled here!


† The product reviewed here was provided to me as a free sample. If you’re wondering what that means check out my sample policy.