|Country of origin||Scotland|
|Alcohol by volume||40%|
|Variants||12 year old, 18 year old, 25 year old|
Chivas Regal (//) is a blended Scotch whisky produced by Chivas Brothers, which is part of Pernod Ricard. It was founded in 1786, with its home being in the Strathisla distillery at Keith, Moray in Speyside, Scotland, and is the oldest continuously operating Highland distillery.
Chivas Regal has been the market-leading Scotch whisky aged 12 years and older in Europe and Asia Pacific. Its sales grew by 61% between 2002 and 2008. In global terms, Chivas Regal recorded volume sales of 4.9 million nine-litre cases in 2012 and 2013, but sales decreased to 4.4 million cases in 2015. This blended whisky has been the world's fourth best seller since 2016.
- Chivas Regal 10: Blended from whiskies matured for at least 10 years.
- Chivas Regal 12: Blended from whiskies matured for at least 12 years.
- Chivas Regal Extra: a blend with a higher proportion of sherry casks.
- Chivas Regal 18: Blended from whiskies matured for at least 18 years.
- Chivas Regal 25: Created using whiskies aged at least 25 years; available only in limited quantities.
- The Chivas Brothers' Blend: A 12-year-old blend intended to reflect the original Chivas house style, with a predominance of Speyside malts, in particular Strathisla and Longmorn.
- Chivas Regal Ultis: A blended malt whisky containing no grain whisky.
- Chivas Regal Mizunara: Originally released for the Japanese market in 2014. Part of the blend is matured in Mizunara oak casks. Made its debut in the USA in Jan 2019.
- Chivas Regal The Icon: Blended from whiskies matured for at least 25 years. Launched in 2015 initially as a Dubai Travel Retail exclusive. This blend is sold in a hand-blown Dartington Crystal decanter crafted from green glass.
- Chivas Regal XV: Unveiled in 2018, Chivas Regal XV is a 15 year old blended Scotch whisky which has been finished in casks that previously held Grande Champagne Cognac.
Pre-1823: prior to legalisation of whisky distillation
Brothers James and John Chivas, born in 1810 and 1814 respectively, were two of fourteen children born to Robert and Christian Chivas, living on a remote Strathythan farm in the Ellon Parish of Aberdeenshire. In 1836, aged 26 and 22 years, James and John decided to leave their impecunious rustic lifestyle in search of better options in Aberdeen, 20 miles (30 kilometres) away.
James joined one William Edwards, who in 1828 had bought a well known well-stocked high-quality grocery, luxury goods, wines and liquor emporium from the family members of one John Forrest. Forrest had opened his store in 1801, but died in 1828. James became a partner in 1838. John began working at a wholesale footwear and apparel firm, DL Shirres and Co. This firm would be awarded distribution rights of Chivas Bros from 1860-1886, from around John Chivas' entry until James Chivas' death and again later.
Edwards died in 1841, and one Charles Stewart took over. In 1843, Stewart and Chivas was granted a Royal Warrant to supply goods to Queen Victoria. In 1850, Stewart and Chivas was appointed Royal Grocer to the queen's mother, the Duchess of Kent, and many other Royal Warrants followed over the years. The huge advantage of getting a Royal Warrant was that upper class gentry followed royalty without a second thought, to be seen as both conformal and of cognizable status. This automatically resulted in a considerably increased footfall of the wealthy.
1823–1893: legalisation of whisky distillation and origins of whisky production
In Scotland, the money trail followed uisge beatha, Gaelic for whisky. Distilling whisky had been legalised in 1823, leading to a proliferation in the number of brands in the market. Some were rotgut, some produced at 70-72% alcohol by volume (ABV), but the majority were at 60-65% ABV, imbibed after cutting with water. There were a few good brands too, news of which spread by word of mouth. Arthur Bell defined a "fine whisky" as one that was sold at ~65% ABV. These were savoured after adding soda.
Vatting of whiskies within Bond Warehouses was legalised in 1853 by The Forbes-Mackenzie Act, and, with blending, the number of brands made available for sale increased overnight. During this period, Stewart and James Chivas decided to respond to their affluent customers' demands for better whisky, by blending select malts to create a proprietary blend. The firm's first blended Malt Scotch whisky, the Royal Glen Dee, was launched in 1854. Stewart left in 1857, making way for John and the company could now be named Chivas Brothers. In 1863, they launched a proprietary Blended Scotch whisky, a smoothly crafted blend of 10 year old malt and grain Whiskies, Royal Strathythan.
The May 8, 1890, edition of Scotland Magazine described Chivas Brothers as "undoubtedly the finest purveying business in the north of Scotland".
1893–present: post-Chivas family
The last actively occupied Chivas family member, Alexander, son of James, died in 1893. Control of the company thenceforth was exercised by the Board of Trustees; Alexander Smith, the reliable aide and right-hand man of Alexander Chivas; and their Master Blender, Charles Stewart Howard. In 1895, Smith and Howard offered to buy out the Board of Trustees and the distaff side of the family, removing any residual trace of Chivas family members. This proposal was accepted with the one proviso that the company name would remain Chivas Brothers forever.
Chivas had agents assess market conditions in the US in the 1890s. The marketing team reported a booming economy which was looking for luxury. In 1900, Howard decided to create a new blend in memoriam of the founding brothers, James and John. Using the best malt and grain whiskies available in the market and inhouse, Howard blended a malt-dominated recipe fitting the bill. Introducing the term 'Regal', Howard created a 25 year old whisky in 1909 called Chivas Regal, the oldest Blended Scotch Whisky of its era, and launched it in the US, establishing it as the world's first and oldest luxury whisky.
It was all one way street then for Chivas Regal, from 1909 till mid 1915, during which period World War I started and became a sluggish, long-drawn affair (1914-18). Existing stocks were exhausted rather quickly as demand outstripped supply. Shipping lanes to USA closed down, and Chivas Bros switched to building reserves at home.
Whisky Brokers Morrison & Lundie bought the company in 1936, and decided that it was far too onerous to maintain aged barrels of whisky. They wound up the 20 YO Loch Nevis and reduced the production of the Chivas 25 drastically, resulting in its withdrawal as their standard-bearer and ultimate demise. They switched focus to a 12 YO heavily marketed 'premium' brand, a decision that would be seen as wise a lustrum later, when World War II (1939-1945) broke out in Europe. 1939 saw the debut and continued success of Chivas Regal 12 YO Blended Scotch in the US at what was to become a global standard proof value of 75 degrees, i.e., 42.8% ABV. (The Americans mark it as 86 proof as they double the ABV to arrive at proof value.) Henceforth, quality, age (generally 12 years), cost (high), popularity (sales) and demography (high-end) would define a 'Premium' Scotch Whisky.
Chivas Regal was purchased by Seagrams in 1949, which enabled a much wider distribution and marketing system. Seagrams was owned by a Canadian Jew, Samuel Bronfman. When the Middle East opened up as a market post oil domination/OPEC, Seagrams' products, including Chivas Regal, were banned in the entire Arab controlled area in the early 1960s. Chivas would limp back nearly four decades later, when under Pernod Ricard, but rise rapidly thereafter to its leading position in the Asia Pacific area.
In 1950, the firm bought Milton (Miltown) distillery, renaming it Strathisla, which is the brand's home in Keith to this day. Its product, Strathisla single malt, is a key malt component of the blend.
In 1997, the Chivas Regal range was expanded with the launch of much older whiskies like the Chivas Regal 18 year old, and in 2007 the new Chivas Regal 25. Other expressions followed, like the Mizunara in 2014, The Icon in 2015 and the XV in 2018.
Pernod Ricard acquired Chivas Regal in 2001.
Strathisla Distillery in Speyside is home to Chivas Regal and its visitor centre. Founded in 1786 as Milton/Miltown distillery, it is the oldest working distillery in the Highlands of Scotland. The Strathisla single malt is the core malt whisky in all Chivas Regal blends, buttressed by malts from Longmorn, The Glenlivet, Allt-a-Bhainne, Miltonduff and Braes of Glenlivet (now Braeval) among other distilleries, and grain from Strathclyde distilleries in the Lowlands.
Chivas Regal whiskies have performed well at international spirit ratings competitions. In 2013, the San Francisco World Spirits Competition jury awarded its Double Gold Medals to the Chivas Regal 18yr, 21yr and 25yr whiskies.
San Francisco World Spirits Competition annual ratings
|Chivas Regal 18yr Gold Signature Blended Scotch Whisky||Gold||Double||Silver||Double-Gold||Bronze||-||Gold||Gold||Double-Gold|
|Chivas Regal 21yr Royal Salute Blended Scotch Whisky||Silver||Double-Gold||Silver||Silver||Silver||-||Gold||Gold||Double-Gold|
|Chivas Regal 25yr Original Blended Scotch Whisky||-||-||-||Double-Gold||-||-||Double-Gold||Double-Gold||Double-Gold|
In popular culture and sponsorships
In the 1973 film The Exorcist, the character Father Dyer brings this whisky for Father Karass to drink after the death of his mother. They share it and he remarks "Chivas Regal! Where'd you get the money for it—out of the poor box?"
1975 film The Prisoner of second ave, Jack Lemmon orders bottle of Chivas Regal in liquor store after having his apartment robbed.
In Risky Business (1983) Joel Goodson (played by Tom Cruise) pours a glass of Chivas Regal and Coca Cola after returning home from dropping his parents off at the airport.
In Working Girl, from 1988, savvy New York City receptionist Tess McGill played by Melanie Griffith orders a "Chivas" during an engagement party for her friend Cynthia (Joan Cusack), immediately prior to a proposal from her boyfriend Mick Dugan played by Alec Baldwin.
In the 1993 film Mrs. Doubtfire, Daniel and Jonathan drink shots of Chivas during their business dinner at Bridges.
In the Mad Men season 6 episode, "The Better Half", Ted Chaough compares Fleishchmann's margarine to Chivas Regal (because it's a relatively expensive brand of margarine), while Don Draper compares it to Budweiser (because he compares margarine to butter).
In the American Dad! season 6 episode, "Spring Break-Up", Roger (as "Scotch Bingington") invites Spring Breakers to party at the Smith household. As the self-proclaimed "King of Spring Break," he has a staff that dispenses Chivas Regal.
Chivas Regal signed a three-year sponsorship deal with the British Premier League football team Manchester United in August 2018. As a follow up in October 2019, it created a special Manchester United-themed 13-year-old blended Scotch whisky in honour of former team manager Sir Alex Ferguson. Partly matured in ex-rye casks, this expression was created exclusively for the US where Man U reportedly has over eight million fans.
The launch of Chivas 13 Manchester United edition follows that of a similar release in Australia in August 2019, viz., Chivas Extra 13 American Rye, a 13-year-old Australia-exclusive blend finished in ex-rye whisky casks.
The Chivas Regal Ultis 1999 Victory Edition: a 20 year old Blended Malt bottled in 2019, using single malts of 1999 vintage from the Strathisla, Longmorn and Braeval distilleries, in tribute to Manchester United winning The Treble (the Premier League, FA Cup and the European Cup in the same season) in 1999.
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- Micallef, Joseph V. "Chivas Regal Debuts The First Mizunara Finished Blended Scotch Whisky". Forbes.
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- Yount, Stacey (19 October 2011). "Akshay Kumar, Asha Bhosle and Jay Sean and many others honored at the Asian Awards".
- "Chivas Regal signs to Manchester United | Scotch Whisky". scotchwhisky.com.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Chivas Regal.|
- Chivas Regal
- Strathisla Distillery, home of Chivas Regal
- Whisky Distilleries
- Strathisla Distillery
- Pernod Ricard Parent Company Homepage
- Proof66.com Chivas Regal 18-Year Summary Page
- Proof66.com Chivas Regal 21-Year Summary Page