Chivas Regal Mizunara Review

“Scotland Meets Japan”

Country: Scotland
Brand: Chivas Regal Mizunara (Special Edition)
Type: Blended Scotch Whisky
Age: 12 Years
ABV: 40%
Chill-Filtration: Yes
Whisky Review # 577
Buying Advice: 😕 At 30 US Dollars you might give it a try.

Colour: Amber (Artificially Coloured)

Nose: The Mizunara tones are quite clear, even slightly dominant. The Grain Alcohol is there as well and the two of them are the main drivers on the Nose. It's all a bit Thin and the ABV of 40% is most certainly inadequate. In addition to the Wood and Alcohol, I find Sweet Barley, Buttered Toast, Toffee, Straw, Grass, Pizza Dough, light Vanilla, Nuts, Dried Apricot, Nectarine, Pear, Banana, Fresh Herbs, Citrus Peel, light Honey and traces of Black Tea and Tobacco.

Taste: The delivery is quite Thin and the Wood is pretty dominant again. The Fruity tones are merely noticeable in the background. I find Toasted Cereals, Grain Alcohol, light Vanilla, Banana, Pear Drops, Salted Nuts, Dried Apricot, Orange Peel, light Honey, Straw, Pepper, Ginger, Cinnamon, Clove, Herbal Tea and Licorice.  

Finish: Middle-Long, slightly Tannic and mainly Sweet. There's a light Bitterness towards the end that reminds me of Black Tea and Salted Licorice. I also find Toasted Cereals, Grain Alcohol, Sugar, Caramel, Toffee, Oak, Nut Shells, light Peanut Butter, Banana, light Vanilla, Pepper, Clove, Ginger and Aniseed. It's the weakest part of this Blend.   

With added Water the Alcohol subsides and the Nose becomes quite Floral. The Mizunara Wood remains present. Palate and Finish become too Thin however.

Rating: 73   

Nose: 20 - Taste: 18 – Finish: 17 - Overall: 18

General Remarks: The Chivas Regal Mizunara was launched in October 2014. A trip to Japan inspired Chivas Master Distiller Colin Scott to create a Blend using 12 Year Old Scottish Grain - and Malt Whiskies partly finished in Casks made from Mizunara (Japanese Oak) wood. Quite unique I would say. It was intended for the Japanese market but in the meantime some bottles are available outside Japan as well. The main malts used in this Blend are Strathisla and Longmorn. The price of the Mizunara may vary considerably depending on where you live. I have noticed prices between 30 and 70 US Dollars (November 2016).

Drinking Experience Neat : Okay/Average

Conclusion: It's basically a standard 12 Years with Mizunara finish. This wood gives an additional Aroma/Flavour to the Blend but it also tends to dominate the other Flavours and Aromas, especially the Fruity ones, leaving the Blend rather off-balance. And that's a pity. I liked the experiment but I don't see this being continued in the long run. I think that a solid, powerful Single Malt could benefit from a Mizunara Finish but this Wood is too dominant for your average Grain Alcohol. The idea was interesting but in my opinion it didn't quite work out well enough.
Jan van den Ende                                                              November 28, 2016


Anonymous said...

Dear Jan,

I was really looking forward to this review because of the Mizunara finish.

There was this extremely rare and expensive Bowmore from Mizunara casks lately, which is absolutely unaffordable for me but was rather celebrated in some whisky blogs.

Hence, I was interested in your opinion about Mizunara finish in this case and you write that "The Mizunara tones are quite clear...", but I would like to ask you to ellobate a bit more on these Mizunara tones as I did not really understand what these tone exactly are respectively where you actually able to pin them down? So what do you think comes especially from the Mizunara oak in this Chivas blend?

All the best and thank you very much

Jan van den Ende said...

Hi Bjorn, sorry for the extreme delay. Google changed some things and I'm not warned anymore when a comment is made. Will look every day now! With respect to your question the following. When tasting and (especially) nosing whisky that (partly) matured in Mizunara wood you immediately notice the difference when compared to whisky finished in American or European Oak. It's not so easy to exactly pinpoint the tones but think in terms of polished sandal wood, wood polish and (coco) nuts. They are not so clear in the Chivas Regal of course as they are over shadowed by the Grain Whisky. But I would imagine that a Bowmore matured in Mizunara wood would be something really special , like sitting on the beach on Islay in a comfortable freshly polished leather chair. Cheers, Jan.

Anonymous said...

Dear Jan,

Thanks a lot for the extra explanations. That gives me an idea.

Merry Christmas and all the best.
Cheers Björn

Jan van den Ende said...

You're welcome Bjorn. I would like to wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas as well. Make the best of it!