Whisky showdown time, and a couple of blended 12 year olds go head to head. JohnnieWalker Black is up against Chivas Regal 12. These are both popular brands and bitter enemies in the battle for consumer dollars. Shelf space is tight in the competitve blended whisky market, so which is worthy of your hard earned money, not to mention liver function? Let’s find out.
Both are bottled at 40% abv and have medium thick, somewhat slow running legs.
The Chivas Regal 12 is a lighter gold in the glass by maybe one or two shades compared to the richer gold colour of the Johnnie Walker Black.
On the nose, where the Chivas is an explosion of citrus and hints of oak, the Johnnie Walker is subdued. The Johnnie Walker is also about citrus, but the unmistaken mellowness of caramel enriches the sense. Candied apple rounds it out at the back end. What contrast! Yet, both are fine examples of what their respective blenders are trying to accomplish.
On the palate, the Johnnie Walker is just as smooth as the Chivas, if not a touch more velvety. Smoke comes across with the dried fruit and apple flavours of the Johnny Walker. The Chivas is not as complex in this sense, being slightly more watery and less complex, with no discernable smoke and flavours that fight for attention rather than invite appreciation.
The finishes on both are quick to medium, the Johnnie Walker Black being more dry and smoky while the Chivas leaves behind a sweet memory for a while longer than its competitor.
Overall, I’ll recommend the Johnnie Walker Black over the Chivas Regal 12. I’m inclined to think that this Chivas compares better to the Johnny Walker Red, but have not yet reviewed the latter for these pages. The Chivas is still a decent dram, but will appeal more for those who aren’t too interested in a complex whisky or who are looking forward to drinking more than a couple of glasses…